Help Your Clients Escape the Promotional Advertising Trap

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are your clients in danger of falling into a promotional advertising trap? They may be particularly focused on limited-​time offerings now as they hope to ignite sales during the gradual reopening of our economy. New research from Kantar indicates that just over half of marketers struggle with this topic.

The Power of Promotions

Of course, your clients understand that when they run a promotion, they’ll boost sales. Consumers appreciate the opportunity to save money on purchases. And they’ll wait for a good sale. In fact, some analysts believe that retailers can get trapped into using continuous promotions to drive sales. They do so at the expense of profits and brand value, says Satya Menon at Kantar.

Media Formats and Promotions

Kantar’s research shows that media formats have different impacts on short versus long-​term messaging. Public relations outreach is one of the few formats that has equal short- and long-​term impact on audiences. When brands use influencers, they can also count on a nearly equal short and long-​term impact.

However, the short-​term impact of promotional messaging is significant when brands use online video, search, and out-​of-​home messaging. Many marketers, especially those who face public-​company pressure to demonstrate a rising revenue trend on a quarterly basis, will turn to these advertising formats.  And while a short-​term sales boost usually takes place, marketers are training consumers to expect these promotions. Over time, it will become more difficult to prove value of the company’s offerings through branding campaigns alone.

Incidentally, both print and TV serve marketers well in terms of branding. These days, branding is about much more than the value and quality of a company’s offerings. Consumers want to do business with organizations that adhere to specific social expectations such as caring for the environment or donating some of the profits to a nonprofit organization.

Promotional Advertising Trap

Any promotional pricing campaign should also take purchase frequency into account. A big discount on an infrequently purchased item like a vehicle may not weigh as heavily on a buyer’s mind as the weekly coupon they’ve come to expect from their favorite brand of paper towels. The bottom line is that ROI on marketing should measure the cost of both branding and promotional efforts. The sweet spot for every business is likely to be a little different.

You can start this kind of conversation with your clients by talking about how their core audience responds to various types of advertising. You’ll find all the information you need in the AudienceSCAN profiles from AdMall by SalesFuel.