Promotional marketing has undergone a seismic shift over the last five years or so. Promotion has siphoned advertising dollars away from traditional media at astounding rates. And social media has injected enormous excitement, possibility and change into promotion and greatly enhanced the ability to converse with customers and learn more about them. To that end, Promo has checked in with a few heavy hitters to get their take on the state of promotional marketing today.
MICHAEL HARRIS: president and chief executive officer, Marketing Drive
The opportunity for greatness exists … as never before. Our clients need both branding and action (from one budget), and data to prove veracity, and we are fortunate enough to be equipped with the largest box of behavior-changing tools ever. I’d say that the industry is at the plate, and the opportunity to hit a grand slam is right before.
However, the Promotional Marketing industry has an unfortunate habit of neglecting core principles and becoming obsessed with the latest channel, tactics or gimmick – dare I say Facebook or iPhone app?
We must stay true to our core principles, demonstrate a deeper understanding and appreciation for brand equities, a tighter embrace of consumer and shopper research (especially when it contradicts our ideas), provide meaningful and actionable insights and incorporate all these into more compelling, unexpected creative ideas. If we do, then the industry can prosper, not only in October, but throughout the year.
Marketing Drive ranked No. 18 on the 2010 Promo 100 with an estimated $78.5 million in 2009 U.S. net revenue.
LONNIE COOPER: chief executive officer, CSE
I think promotional marketing is very, very strong even as budgets face scrutiny and technology shifts on a daily basis. I think it maintains its strength and value because brands are effectively using it as a business-driving tool, complete with sophisticated analytics to show a measurable impact to the company’s bottom line. The emergence of technology and social media as primary platforms to host and communicate promotions has given marketers insight into their target consumers’ interests and conversations and encouraged an instant gratification element – instant reward or immediate prizing.
This technology shift has also lead marketers to leverage promotional marketing as a tool to actively engage, reward and influence the purchasing decisions of an existing and loyal customer base. Promotional marketing is increasingly a tool to encourage conversation rather than a traditional tear-pad at point-of-sale sweepstakes offer.
It’s an exciting time to be on the forefront of this shift!
CSE ranked No. 44 on the 2010 Promo 100 with $18 million in 2009 U.S. net revenue. View CSE’s Promo 100 profile
RICHARD THOMAS: chief executive officer and founder TRIS3CT
1. PROMOTION REMAINS A DIRTY WORD. Let’s be honest. Marketers love promotions they just don’t love that word. We’re seeing people use every possible word as a substitute. So much so it appears that from behavioral marketing, to actionable ideas, to brand engagements and on & on, “promotions” have never been more popular.
2. STRATEGY EARNS YOU A SEAT AT THE TABLE. Today’s promotional marketers carry a wealth of strategic insights to the leadership table and know how to deliver long-term brand equity alongside revenue. For years “promotions” was dismissed as below-the-line and associated with discounting and buying share. No longer.
3. THE FUTURE IS OURS FOR THE MAKING. Digital, mobile and social media have provided the canvas for today’s consumer conversation and promotional conversion. Now we’re seeing clients look to our industry to help drive retail connections, promotional accountability and ROI into these vibrant channels—all areas where promotional marketing agencies are poised to lead.
Tris3ct ranked No. 68 on the 2010 Promo 100 with $6.2 million in U.S. net revenue. View Tris3Ct’s Promo 100 profile
DAREN TROUSDELL: executive vice president marketing and sales, Isobar North America
As someone who has spent 90% of their career in a digital agency, my view on promotional marketing was usually one of missed opportunity on some approaches. However, there is a revolution happening in the promo marketing space that allows brands to get more out of these programs.
Of late, I’ve been impressed with the depth of mobile integration certain programs are embracing. I’ve seen programs that mix promo marketing fundamentals (POS, experiential, sponsorship) with advanced mobile features (location, payments, couponing and social media). Looking at the results of these innovative programs, I was excited to see the positive difference in program success. Smart brands can now take advantage of new technology and enhanced metrics that will place consumers in a location with specific promotional messaging and experiences. Unfortunately, too many programs are still missing the mark today but that makes it even more exciting to watch as it evolves.
Isobar ranked No. 23 on the 2010 Promo 100 with an estimated $30 million in U.S. net revenue. View Isobar’s profile