One of the dark arts of marketing, we’ve all been swayed by the gift with purchase.
The DVD with the copy of the Sunday Times that turns out to be audio CD. The Marie Claire flip-flops that break about 11 metres onto the beach.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, we’re all as gullible, or the promotions wouldn’t work.
Gifts with Purchase (GWP) can be one of the quickest ways to rescue a disasterous quarter for sales, and help your CEO save some face with investors or his boss.
Never mind that you’ve had to take the brand advertising money for the whole year and place it into the hands a Shanghai plastics factory owner! Marketers rarely want to do any kind of sales promotion, but you are where you are: how do you make the best of it?
In an ideal world, you don’t want just to bribe customers, you want to build a relationship with them and build some brand equity at the same time.
The problem is, that’s rather difficult to do. So the two challenges for a succesful GWP are:
1. Selling lots of your product
2. Not damaging your brand in the process
The starting point for your strategy should be determining what gift you are going to offer. The gift should have the illusion of high percieved value. The more the customer values what you are offering, the more likely they are to buy your product to get it.
So the key questions are:
- Who is your audience?
- What do they value?
- What from that list can you create more cheaply than people estimate it to be worth?
- You should know the answer to the first two questions, you may need help for the third.
A list of agencies appears at the bottom of this article.
If you’re stuck for ideas on how to create percieved value on your meagre budget, this is how most people do it:
- Finding manufacturing opportunities overseas allows surprisingly cheap manufacture of textile or plastic based products
- Being "first" to do a specific gift e.g. DVDs
- By working with other brands whose presence lifts value e.g. a white T-shirt that cost you 40 pence has a percieved value of only £1, whilst a printed Julien McDonald T-shirt has a value £20, but will still only cost you 40 pence. If you can persuade Julien McDonald.
- Through exploiting your brands own value. A technique successfully used by brands like Clinique with "bonus-time" and Elle magazine with their branded clothing.
Mistakes to avoid
- Under-selling. You’ve paid for the gift, now shout about it. You need to attract attention to it in every way you can, within the parameters of your brand. If you can afford to buy some promotional space, if you have a good gift this can be good value for money.
- Over-promising. Yes you want to sell, but don’t make your gift out to be something it isn’t. Consumers will remember and avoid your brand in the future. At the extreme end, it’s also illegal.
- Relying on suppliers and running a tight time-scale. Many a brand-managers P45 has been written after a cargo of chinese-made gifts gets held up at customs and misses out on the £250k of promo space in Tesco. Build in time for problems with transport and delivery.
- Finally, don’t over use this page. The more gift promotions you produce, the more desperate your brand looks. In the end it undermines your entire value proposition.
Agencies for gifts:
DVD and CD Manufacturers:
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