Rethink sales and promotions in January

The post-holiday season is an obvious choice to implement sales and promotions. People who are still recovering from December expenses may need a little encouragement to spend more money. Yet, the new year, which is so full of promise, also beckons consumers to buy the latest good or service that could help them make 2014 a fresh start. Businesses also often have a new budget, meaning a potential willingness to put their money toward new things. The marketing opportunities are there, and sales and promotions can easily be tailored to take advantage of them. 

Before businesses start slashing prices and allocating money to advertisements, however, they should also take the new year as a time to review some marketing basics. As Inc. Magazine recently noted, people often conflate marketing and advertising to be the same  thing. In truth, marketing is the much larger category, of which advertising is one small part. The magazine described it as the commonly known four Ps – product, price, promotion and place. Before companies embark on marketing in the first month of the year, they should give consideration to these aspects of marketing, and realize how they can best implement sales and promotions to achieve effective marketing. 

Product and place
The two Ps businesses should first consider are the product and its context in the market. What is a product or service's value to the consumer and how is it different from everything else available to consumers? The kind of product a company offers determines in part its potential context in the market. It should also dictate how a company markets its goods. A solid understanding of product can lead to better placement, more accurate pricing and, finally, the way in which it will be promoted. If the product is correctly advertised to the appropriate demographic, then businesses will have a better chance of having successful sales and promotions. 

Sales, promotions and trends
Sales can be a good tool for attracting customers and giving a jolt to slow business. The mere sight of 10 percent or 20 percent off knocked off of a normally full-priced good is enough to turn heads. However, sales are also a  tricky business. While they can catch the attention of the wayward consumer, they aren't always successful if the product isn't geared toward the right buyers or phrased in the right manner. 

If, for example, companies want to advertise sales to tech-savvy youth, then flyers are probably not going to cut it. Companies should be aware of the marketing trends of 2014. Of course, social media continues to reverberate through trend lists throughout the business world. Businesses should take note of which trends within social media are going to create a lot of buzz. 

Business​ 2 Community cited a total of 14 social media marketing trends for the upcoming year. Among the most low-hanging fruit for organizations looking to promote are content marketing, the virility of image-based content and the potential power of Twitter's direct messaging feature. Sales and promotions, which are usually based on the premise of their own fleeting nature, find a perfect counterpart in the fast-paced world of the instantly uploaded image and the short and sweet tweet. 

Successful implementation
Businesses looking to take advantage of new trends should also phrase their promotions to key into buyers' mindset for the start of the year. Describing sales as an opportunity for customers to get the products they need to start the year off right may appeal to those people who have a resolution list through which they're trying to work. The deal may be sweetened with promotional giveaways to further entice potential buyers. 

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