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Promotion as a marketing tool: Does it really reward consumers?

Princewill Ekwujuru
Every year, especially to the year end and at the beginning of a new year the media is awash with promotional campaigns, and consumers are sucked into the frenzies of reward offers by producers of goods and services in the country.

While some companies offer mouth-watering cash rewards or gift items to lucky consumers for their loyal patronage, others creatively skew the pricing of their goods and services to attract more patronage or retain loyal customers. Yet others offer below-the-line shows and activations coupled with raffle draws designed to both create fun and reward customers who had stayed with their brands through the year.

If properly implemented, a promotional activation can be blended with a reward program to create and retain loyal customers base for a brand. The benefits of such a blend are multifarious for the rewarding company and diverse for the consumers.

For the consumers, there is first the joy in participation. On another level, there is the pride for them in emerging victorious, especially in a promotion that involves a raffle draw. The consumer of products also enjoys the feel-good effect of being appreciated by a company with which it has always had an impersonal relationship over time.

In the case of the rewarding organization, promotions and reward programmes help them to determine the profiles of its customers. It can be used to gather information about customers’ buying habits, typical expenditures and other preferences. This information is also useful for other purposes. The producer of the product can through it discover opportunities to increase sales to a particular section of the customer base. Also, it may be useful for the development of a separate marketing campaign to target new customers who share similar demographic or psychographic profiles with the already discovered ones or others that are not in the category at all.

In Nigeria, many consumer promotions have been anchored on raffle draws. Many of these draws have succeeded in rewarding loyal customers of the brand while others have drawn criticism from the public based on noticed impropriety and unnecessary gap that the rewarding companies allow in the conduct of draws. A lot of raffle draws are shrouded in enough mystery to attract curiosity about its defined mechanics.

In the past, a particular soft drinks producing company was caught by the authorities in the act of fraudulent practices which occurred in the process of one of the popular crown-cork jamborees. Winners of prizes, especially the star prices were denied the ownership of the won prizes and some of them cried foul. The controversies that ensued attracted the attention of the authorities and that was it for the bottling company.

The model promotional raffle draws in the country are ones done in the open at public venues and in the presence of all concerned, with the mechanics of the draws well spelt out to participants. Apart from the fact that this increases the confidence and hope of the participating consumers, it also helps regulatory agencies and the monitoring public put a stamp of professional good conduct on the records of such company.

A raffle based promotional campaign sets out to achieve fairness, transparency, gamesmanship, excitement. Fairness in a raffle based promotional campaign involves correct and proper dissemination of information about the promo in a way that all willing consumers may have it. The conduct of the draws should be done without any ulterior motives on the part of the organizers or those related to them in any way. All cards should be put on the table for all and a gaming spirit should be encouraged in all participants.

The excitement that such events create in the public, especially when the activations involve a lot of public participation can go a long way to promote brand equity and positive public perception, depending on the nature of the brand and the message it set out to pas to the public.

The model raffle draw-based promotional campaigns are expected to be carefully planned, spanning a specific period and well publicized. And the results for both the participants and the organizers should be easily measurable. It should be a win-win situation in which the sales of the organizers are increased while the satisfaction of the participant is guaranteed.

Towards the close of 2009, corporate organisations in Nigeria entered a stiff competition, trying to gain a large portion of the mind of the average Nigerian consumer through all kinds of promotion. From telecommunication to household products, a lot of creativity was invested in diverse promotional activities which were also targeted at the festive season of Christmas and New Year.

One of these marketing stunts, which on an annual basis, has continued to reverberate all over Nigeria is the national consumer promotion (NCP), tagged the Harp Spirit of Friendship Promotion of Harp Larger, one of the brands in the livery of Guinness Nigeria Plc.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.