If there was ever a time that you should have your promotional thinking caps on, it is now. I read the daily papers, watch TV, and check the internet sites everyday. I can see that promotions are on the up-tick.
No matter what your brand or product is you need to look at your promotional plans for the next year and beef them up. As I have mentioned several times over the past few months, you need to get creative. We all still have to do business. If you do the right promotion you will be able to show results in a very short time. Showing results is important in this “ready to cut” atmosphere we live in.
I am not talking about just doing a promotion to do a promotion. Look at the company goals. Look at your marketing goals. Come up with a promotion that makes sense. I read today that Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen are bracing for a downturn this 4th quarter. You see, most of their restaurants are close to or at large shopping malls. They believe that shopping will be down this holiday season in turn hurting their customer counts.
Cheesecake Factory gave out coupons to their customers this past October offering either a free piece of cheesecake or $10 off the meal if the customer used it in November or December. This is a good promotion. It offers a bounce back with a decent discount that a customer could use.
CPK is trying to get into the holiday spirit by pushing its gift cards. For every $100 worth of gift cards you buy, they will give you a $20 gift card. The problem with this promotion is creating the buzz. They need to get customers thinking “let’s give CPK gift cards this holiday season”. They really need to create a fun and exciting campaign around this to make it work. Here is the other issue. What is this promotion doing to drive customers to eat in the restaurants during the holiday season? They said they expect a drop off during the holidays, what are they doing about that? Remember, most retailers don’t count gift cards until they are used.
Papa John’s Pizza wins my best promotion of the day. Facebook fans can get free pizza the night before Thanksgiving which is one of the top pizza delivery nights. If a Facebook user joins Papa John’s Fan Group and orders a pizza with their online ordering service, they get a second pizza free. This sounds very complicated but it isn’t. It takes 2 seconds to join any group on Facebook. The users of these social websites are not afraid to order off the net. Papa John’s registered 140,000 new members to their group in two days. Now that’s what I call “spreading the word”.