Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Web Promotions: Worth the Price?

  |  October 10, 2000   |  Comments

Promotions can be a wonderful tool. They can encourage the trial usage of new products, increase short-term sales figures, and drive much-needed traffic to web sites. Sounds great, huh? Sure. But all these benefits can come at a price. Are you willing to pay it?

Promotions can be a wonderful tool for advertisers. Not only can they encourage the trial usage of new products and increase short-term sales figures, but they can also drive much-needed traffic to web sites. Contests and sweepstakes are designed to create temporary excitement about a product; entry is often tied to a key action or conversion providing strategic value to the advertiser, allowing the advertiser to establish milestones for promoting its product.

Promotions generally encourage current users to use a product more frequently or to use multiple products; in essence, they reward loyal users for their loyalty. This is why promotions are traditionally used by established brands where the consumer is already familiar with the advertiser's product and is more inclined to convert while participating in the promotion.

So if promotions are such an effective online marketing tool, how can they be hurting web advertising?

For starters, while a promotion is running, the focal point of the brand's advertising switches from the product to the contest. This is fine once in a while, as promotional advertising should be part of a marketing mix with brand/product advertising. However, quite often this is not the case in the online realm. Instead, we see promotion after promotion, which takes up considerable resources for the advertiser and its agency. This can sometimes be to the detriment of advertising the core product, the only proven way of building long-term growth of the advertiser's business.

Second, online marketing is still in its infancy - no brand can claim that it has really developed its product marketing to its full potential on the web. Ironically, with all of the unique opportunities to record direct results with online advertising dollars and the limitless possibilities of interactive one-to-one marketing the web offers, clients still spend millions on TV spots and print campaigns that can attribute only indirect correlative results to their success.

Third, it still costs a ton of cash to reach those eyeballs, and cost-per-click deals are a common way of buying them. Promotions designed for immediate response work very effectively with the cost-per-click model. Good for the media buyer, good for the online media outlet, and apparently good for advertisers. The only question is that while the same users are clicking away, registering for promotions and sweepstakes, the brand is getting lost behind the promotion. This is fine in the short term, but over time, how good can this strategy be?

Currently, broadband is opening a new and exciting era for the web. Dominant web technologies like Java, Flash, DHTML, streaming media, and database integration are really reaching a sophisticated level. Online media outlets have matured and are partnering with leading ad server companies to allow rich media to be a component of virtually any online ad campaign. The online advertising business is booming, and experts predict that it will continue to grow. Not to mention that products like TiVo are beginning to jeopardize TV advertising.

I would never claim promotions are a bad thing for advertisers, particularly web advertisers. In fact, promotions are a fundamental component in an online marketer's advertising mix. However, promotions must be used responsibly and in conjunction with brand-building product advertising. While it may not create a usage spike as effectively as promotions do, brand advertising sells the product and gets consumers to purchase based on the merit of the product and its emotional appeal.

And, after all, what customers are more interesting to a marketing manager: those who buy a product because they just want it or those who buy because of an incentive?

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson is a freelance Art Director in New York City. He has worked on top brands for several interactive ad agencies and with some of the top Internet marketing minds. He has worked with Sony, Lockheed-Martin, Best Buy, Ameritrade, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, IBM, Valvoline, Monster.com, and a host of blue-chip Canadian brands. With five years of industry experience, and a few awards, Adam's career has grown with the Web.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...
    • Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA) Manager
      Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA) Manager (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for an Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA...
    • Marketing Technology Analyst
      Marketing Technology Analyst (Alfred Music) - Van NuysMarketing Technology Analyst DEFINITION Under the general/direct supervision of the head of...