my misspent youth was dedicated to undertaking a degree in Marketing. How shiny
and new it all felt back then in the 1980s, with brand spend all hovering above
and below some imaginary line.
below the line. Cash, holidays and cars. Neck labels, fix-a-forms and scratch
panels. Free flights, treasure hunts and soft toy Labradors. Activity so
impactful in its imagination and creativity that sometimes it didn’t even need
a press release to make the national news.
forward 18 years into the new millennium and the chance to assess where the
trends of integration, omnichannel and the like have taken the old trouper that
is Promotional Marketing. And no better place to do that than at the 2018 IPM
awards, particularly as MRM was a sponsor this year.
first, some context. To paraphrase Lord Black of Brentwood in his excellent
introductory speech at the Awards, “I have never known such a time of change
economy showing marginal growth with Brexit concerns and growing inflationary
pressures, dictatorial government legislation and public health concerns.
decade of dominant price promotion activity there is evidence of the usurping
impact that EDLP pricing is having in the shape of the sales strategies of
German retailers Aldi and Lidl.
look at the fact that retailers such as Asda, Ikea, Next et al chose to step
away from the bun fight that is Black Friday. It is low prices not short term
price offers that is winning the promotional day.
added value promotions still have a role to play in building the
all-too-important brand equity?
Promotional Marketing as a marketing multiplier
this year’s entrants consistently demonstrated is that their campaigns defined
promotion as less about a proven collection of techniques to drive sales and
more about the role Promotional Marketing can play when it has the chance to
contribute to the marketing multiplier effect that boosts a campaign’s impact
and how its customers really begin to engage with it.
I mean by that last statement? That campaigns truly reach another level when a
great idea is founded in a brand truth and delivered to a consumer as a total
the immense piece of work that is Lucozade Energy and TBK Group’s ‘Unstoppable
Bottle’ – a multi award winner at the 2018 IPM Awards (see the picture above).
Product packaging uniquely adapted to the activity. Check. Product sampling.
Check. Relevance of activity to brand proposition. Check. Amplification of
activity with advertising and social media. Check. Tangible motivating reward.
Check. Add the fact that the activation was the first of its kind and it was
delivered flawlessly achieving outstanding results, and you have a deserved
winner. And, in striking a sensory, emotional, relevant and behavioural chord
with the audience, it truly delivered a brand experience.
promotional success need not be as reliant on retail presence as it once was.
Packaging still remains a primary medium to communicate through, even if the
power of the retailer’s own brand limits the opportunities to stand out in
store. Getting listings and facings is a hard and often expensive challenge for
any underperforming brand. Today’s marketer has a number of channels to drive
communication of a promotion. Digital activity can undoubtedly help to build
your story and promote the activity to a targeted audience. Hell, it even
serves as an ideal place to store your terms and conditions. But it can also
very quickly undermine your best efforts if your activity doesn’t pass the
scrutiny of your consumers.
that this was a problem for another award winner. Nestlé KitKat and ZEAL
Creative’s personalised KitKat packs proved how the public’s appetite for
personalisation can be integrated into an established brand’s packaging.
hope I am not alone in concluding from this year’s crop of winners that, within
the armoury of marketers, Promotional Marketing remains a trusted and effective
weapon. And whilst the idea at the heart of any marketing campaign should be
embedded in the brand proposition, creativity can only truly thrive with the
support and expertise of practitioners who understand the importance of
planning, insight and how best to manipulate the Promotional tools; not to
merely drive sales but also deliver brand experiences that challenge and engage
the audiences they seek to reach.
we like to think we are defined by our services but measured by our
results. That is a statement that should be a maxim for our whole
Marc Rigby is
Managing Director of Multi Resource Marketing Ltd (MRM), a marketing services
agency celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. MRM is a
sponsor of the IPM Awards 2018.
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