‘Bogof’ reduces marketers to floods of tears

I read with bemusement your article on sales promotion (MW last week). Every marketer knows there are good campaigns and bad campaigns – neither are the preserve of promotional marketers – but to read about a marketing consultant who thinks that giving brands away is a good idea makes me laugh (or is it cry?). It totally misses the point.

We are all, I hope, in the business of adding value to both brands and categories (not-for-profit marketers aside). We want consumers to become more loyal, not more promiscuous. We need to use marketing budgets to build equity, not erode it. But consumer research shows that buy-one-get-one-free (Bogof) neatly positions the retailer as the benefactor – not the brand.

We all know it’s harder to engage consumers these days – that’s why good practitioners create relevant, distinctive promotions based on genuine insights.

I’m not saying that there is no place for Bogof – there will always be a need to protect and expand market share – but we want profitable brands and loyal consumers. Bogof is just one tool, and I for one wouldn’t want to tell clients that it is the cure for all their woes. One only has to look at last year’s ISP winners to find a host of promotions that helped drive penetration and share while adding, not eroding, value. You’ll even find a promotion that added value to sexual activity. Does that make you laugh or cry?

Jeremy Cochran,

Managing director

Catalyst Marketing

London SW6

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