Sales promotion has new kudos

Ian Hughes asks the fundamental question: “What use sales promotion?” (Letters, MW February 10) but misses what sales promotion nowadays means in practice.

We have seen some radical changes to promotions over the past year. First, and rather ironically, every day low prices mean we are moving away from a discount mentality and brands now have to find ways to add value through promotions rather than just price reductions.

We must also remember that promotions are not just about purchases; they also have an important role in developing brand equity.

Second, Ian is right. Retailers are demanding that we expand the category, rather than just encourage people to switch brands. Lots of work is already being undertaken in this area, especially in terms of new product development, merchandising and making the shopping experience more interactive and enjoyable.

Finally, given growing retailer dominance, promotion in its broadest sense is increasingly important when used as a weapon in the brand armoury to modify consumer behaviour.

Integration might be old news but, thanks to agencies such as ours that are marrying the old promotional skills with new expertise in relationship building and data management, promotions are proving essential to consumer brand communications.

At risk of sounding evangelical, the role of promotions (as distinct from price promotions) has become centre stage. Marketing directors ignore them at their peril.

Paul Seligman

Managing director

Communicator

London E2

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