This Episode: Promotions – The Big Picture

This episode of Real Retail TV was taken directly from the Marketing Module of the Retail Mastery System. In it, we’re going to take a 30,000-foot view of your promotions. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a much deeper, better understanding of why promotions are so important, how they work, and how the different dynamics all fit together.

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Let’s take a 30,000-foot view of promotions. And when we talk about 30,000-feet views, what we’re talking about– you know how when you’re in an airplane, you look out of the window of the airplane from 30,000 feet and you can see the entire landscape? You can sort of see everything. You get the big picture. Well, that’s what this video is. This video is the 30,000-foot view of promotions.

So when you start thinking about promotions, first of all, start with thinking about the purpose. You want to start with the end in mind. A mistake that a lot of people make is they just have a promotion. They have an idea or see somebody do something and they just start. And although you know I am a big proponent of just starting, when you know what you are trying to do, you can make your promotions a lot more effective.

So let’s talk about a couple of purposes, things you might want to do with your promotions, an end in mind. First of all, one of the reasons to have promotions or a promotion is to activate your existing customers, to excite your existing customers, to get your existing customers in your store. And again, we’re coming back to that old concept– when you get them into your store more often, you’re going to get more transactions from them and you’re going to build the lifetime value. So another sort of ancillary strategy here, purpose is to build relationships.

You can have promotions whose only purpose is to make people feel good about you. And by the way, I love these types of promotions. Pure gives. I’m going to have a party. Come on in. Have a good time on me. I love you. I want you to feel good about our relationship.

Another purpose is to get new customers. You can build promotions specifically to get new customers into your store. So that is another purpose of a promotion. Another promotion purpose could be to acquire email addresses or addresses. What are you trying to do? Have a promotion specifically to build your customer database.

You can have a promotion whose purpose is to strengthen your core strategies. Remember we talked about your primary marketing message? Well, you can have promotions that’s primary purpose is to reinforce and make stronger and to communicate your PMM, your Primary Marketing Message. Promotions are great opportunities for publicity.

We have a client who went for a Guinness Book of World Records– he didn’t, but one of his staff members did– for eating the most crickets. Well, there is no value in eating crickets other than generating publicity. And it did generate publicity.

The most common purpose for a lot of independent retailers to have a promotion is to generate cash and reduce inventory. A clearance sale, a sidewalk sale are examples of this. But the reason that we kept this last, these two reasons, purposes for promotions came last, is because I want you to think about the fact that there are other reasons– there are other purposes to do promotions.

Absolutely, generating cash, reducing inventory are two wonderful purposes. And I would encourage you to have those type of sales, those type of events. But they are not the only type of promotions. They are not the only purpose for having a promotion or a special event.

So the purpose of your promotion is very important. And when you start with the end in mind, you’re going to be a lot more effective and efficient. But there’s also the timing of your promotions. When are you going to have your promotions? And when you start to think strategically about the timing, about the when, again, your promotions become more strategic and effective.

So you want to have some promotions in the high season, in the busy seasons, when people want to shop and they need what you sell. But, of course, we want to have promotions in the offseason when cash is tight and you need to generate money. Both of these are legitimate times to have promotions. You just need to be thoughtful about when you’re doing what.

You can also have promotions on weekdays. Weekdays promotions are a great way to build your sales in the middle of the week. Weekend promotions are a great way to get more people in at a time when they are free and they can come in. You can have promotions during the day, and you can have promotions at night. The point is, is that we’re trying to mix things up. We want to have different promotions, different purposes for our promotions, and we want to do them at different times.

Something else to consider when you start thinking about your promotion is how often you have a particular promotion. There are some promotions that you do weekly. There are some promotions that you will do monthly. There are some promotions that you do quarterly. And there are some promotions that you do annually. Remember, all of these are factors. That’s all we’re looking at right here is we’re understanding that there’s purpose, that there’s size, that there’s timing, that there’s when things happen.

And, of course, you know, I just mentioned it, there’s the size of your promotion. You can have lots of little promotions. They don’t take very much work. You can have medium-size promotions. Maybe that would be a promotion for a particular type of your customer, a subset of your customer database.

You can have big promotions. Personally, I love big promotions. And what I love the most is what we call blowout promotions, you know, that I’m-all-in promotion where you just really, really pull out all the stops and do something truly spectacular.

So do you see? All of these factors come into play when you start to build out your calendar. But when you start to build out your calendar, I’d like you to think of this visual. And the visual is stringing the necklace. So do you see this picture of the necklace in front of you? Do you see how it’s proportional?

Do you see how it’s thoughtful, there are a couple of big pieces in the middle? Those would be your big promotions and your blowout promotions. But there’s also lots of little ones and medium-size stones in the necklace. And that’s how I’d like you to think about building your calendar. You want to have the right amount of the right promotions at the right time with the right purpose.

So creating your calendar is a really, really important part of being a savvy marketer. So when you go through the videos in the marketing kit, I would encourage you to have a calendar in front of you. Personally, I like a big calendar where you can write lots and lots of ideas. But the point is until you create a calendar that you can look at and see and visualize, it becomes difficult to really understand how that necklace– to sort of mix my metaphors here– how that necklace really, really works.

So I’m encouraging you to really, really work on a calendar. Get it on paper. Look at it. Make sure that there is the right amount of big, medium, blowout, little, that they’re timed correctly, they have the right purpose. Look at it. Be thoughtful. Be strategic. Be efficient. Be effective.

I want you to recognize that when you build a calendar, it’s merely the beginning. So let’s say you build a calendar for the rest of this year. All of those promotions that are on that calendar, if they work, if they’re valuable, if you believe in them enough to do them again, you put them on next year’s calendar. So then next year, you’ll have a full year calendar. What you’re going to say is, yes, I love that promotion. Let’s do it again next year. Boom. You put it on next year’s calendar.

Or, ah, I don’t know if I should do that again. And so you take it off or you don’t put it on next year’s calendar. But the point with a plan and a calendar is if you do it right this year, next year’s only has to be a modification and customization of what you did this year. So every year’s plan builds on the year before. And as you become a more savvy marketer, you start adding in and taking out and adding in and taking out and just building it till pretty soon you have that promotional calendar that will excite your customers, will bring them in, will get you new customers and, of course, will help you build your business.

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