How M&S took award-winning promotional learnings forward

Marks & Spencer picked up two awards at the Marketing Week Engage Awards; one for its Dine in for £10 promotion, and another for teaming up with Oxfam to launch the One Day Wardrobe Clear-out. Both have gone on to inform how the business thinks about other promotions.

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The M&S Dine In for £10 promotion took the trophy in the Promotional Marketing category. M&S has since extended the promotion to run twice monthly and adapted it for special occasions and seasonal celebrations, to help customers get a good deal when they celebrate.

It now runs a Mother’s Day promotion that offers a family roast for £15 and a Valentine’s Day promotion that includes champagne and a box of chocolates.

M&S has also begun using the Dine In promotion as a vehicle to showcase product innovations in its food business, and often includes new meals or variants in the offer and uses feedback from customers and sales data to track consumers’ preferences.

Denise Posner, M&S head of external marketing, says the promotion helped M&S demonstrate that it is in tune with customers’ needs by providing offers that fit the trend towards staying in and trading up.

Posner adds: “This has inspired the business to think differently about some of our other promotions and extend the concept into other formats – such as our “roast for £5” promotion and a “take away for £10”.

The One Day Wardrobe Clear-out, which won the 2011 Engage Award in the Retail category, was designed to re-engage customers with the existing partnership with Oxfam, by making it easier to donate clothing to Oxfam in M&S stores on one specific day.

It has become an annual campaign that now uses digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to encourage consumers to get involved and an online tool called “You give, Oxfam gets” to help shoppers work out exactly how much their donations contributed to the charity.

Posner says that the campaign is a “quadruple win” for M&S, Oxfam customers and the environment which all benefit by some stage of the campaign. Customers get money off purchases in M&S, Oxfam has received £8m additional funding, M&S welcomes more customers into stores and 10 million clothing items have been prevented from going to landfill.

The activity is also part of M&S’s Plan A sustainability agenda and Posner adds that it’s a great example of how the strategy works in practice to get customers to participate in achieving the green goals, and will help create future events and activities under Plan A.

Posner adds that winning the Engage Award for both promotions was the “cherry on top” for both successful campaigns.

She says: “You always set out to run a successful campaign that will engage and excite your customers. Industry recognition of this achievement is the cherry on top. The success of this campaign is particularly rewarding- as we know that a great cause is benefiting from its achievements.”

If your business benefited from a great retail or promotional marketing strategy in 2011 then make sure you enter the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2012. The deadline has been extended and you can find details here.

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