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Hi all,

This week our discussion takes us into promotions. This is the field I have worked in for 35 years.

Typically, promotion is associated with advertising. We tend to think of Super Bowl ads or newspaper ads or billboards as a promotion and advertising. And they are. They are typically referred to as traditional marketing, traditional advertising or traditional promotions.

Many times in the retail market we see buy one get one ( BOGO ) sales or discount sales. This is a very tried and true method for impacting the buyer at the point of sale. Coupons delivered with a pizza or as a flyer hanging on a doorknob can also influence future business and customers, because while I may not use that Subway coupon, I might give it to my neighbor.

One of the most overlooked forms of promotions, but the most popular form of promotions, is promotional products. These are all those fun giveaway items that companies use from recruiting to trade shows. The most popular items that companies use for promotions are wearables, such as shirts, jackets and caps. The second most popular item are writing instruments, and then the market goes into paper products such as sticky notes, calendars and journals. There are over 900,000 unique items in the promotional products market that can carry an advertiser’s name or message on them, and it’s the only form of promotion that people will actually thank you for. Promotional products are also given away freely with no thought of obligation on the part of the person who receives them. I suspect right now if you looked around your desk you could probably find a promotional product in the form of a pen, mug, or notepad that had a company’s name or message on it.

The new frontier right now in promotions is digital promotions. We see advertising in social media platforms, there are banner and pop-up ads, and even advertising embedded into video games for consumers. Technologically, there is no end in sight as to where the promotion process can go in conjunction with technology. It just keeps getting better and better.

For your discussion post you’ll need to pick a product brand that you consider yourself loyal to (remember my prohibition on brands you cannot write about, and once a brand is used in the discussion no one else can write about it). The second question in the discussion asked you to describe how the promotion of this product keeps or has kept you loyal to the brand. In other words what does the brand do on an ongoing basis to get you to keep coming back and buy from them? The third question in the discussion flips around and asks you what the brand could do or did do that would cause you to stop buying from them, and why. As we are focusing on promotions, let’s keep your answer to the third question in the promotion realm and focus on what they might have put out there in front of consumers. It would be very easy to talk about an issue such as the BP oil spill, but that is not related to promotions. So, let’s keep your discussion focused this week on promotions that turned you away from a brand.

For your discussion, you cannot write about Walmart, Nike, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Apple or any Apple products, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Under Armor, Whole Foods, any energy drink or any car company.


Dr. Alan




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