Incentives, vehicles, timing and delivery

To understand a promotional program, you need to understand how it is done by each of the items. You could consider a plan for multiple-choice test, demographics and past data. The  effectiveness of your items relies on your target market choice, demand, location and many more. You will choose one possibility for each item and produce a promotional program from those choices. Or else your investment will be in vain.


There is the value offered in the promotion. An incentive might be an offer or a premium. Incentives fall into four categories. They are always of adding value.

  1. Special promos (25% off, buy one, get one free – 75% off this Holiday)
  2. Customized Print samples (for example, wristbands and can coolies).
  3. Gift Items (mugs, wedding coasters,) These should be related to your brand, of course, for example, giving away a key chain shaped like a fish, if you’re in a fishery store. Gifts range from modest advertising specialty to popular rewards.
  4. Contests or Grand Opening Experiences. This might be a party, like company’s grand opening, or a contest. The experience might reflect immediate timing (a celebration at which the drawn takes place and the reward is distributed) or delayed timing (the prize in the drawing is itself an experience, to be collected later, like a night for two on the town.)

How will you decide what incentive to use? That’s part creativity and part math. You must choose not just what you’ll offer, but also how much it will cost you. Develop several scenarios, based on what you’d like to do and what you think your competitors are up to. Run cost and payback calculations on each.

Promotional Vehicles

The promotion you choose, what the ad industry calls the promotional vehicle, is the method you used to package the incentive. Types of promotion vehicles include.

  1. Sale pricing
  2. Coupons
  3. Samples
  4. Refunds
  5. Premiums
  6. Games, Contests, sweepstakes
  7. Events

Does this list seem to overlap with the list of type of incentives? There is some overlap, but these examples will show you how one concept flows into the other. A manager might want to promote a certain brand of an item in a particular time. He might use samples or free test for service type companies as an incentive. But he might use a coupon as the promotional vehicle, requiring a person to make a purchase to receive the reward. The coupon might read, “Subscribe on us and you will get 10% minimum discounts” Alternatively, a sample for the promotional vehicle by giving away samples or 3 days FREE services.

The grand opening trade promotion shows an incentive for blending product samples, a gift and an experience. The attendees of the grand opening received both samples of a particular product and some logo imprinted merchandise. The promotional vehicle in this case was the grand opening event.

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