Thoughts on Promotions
|by Kirby D. Payne, CHA
People who don't know me but work with me will usually tell you that I am pretty creative when it comes to marketing and promotions. Frankly, I have them fooled!
Virtually everything I do in marketing is either someone else's idea or an adaptation of someone else's idea. I'll grant you that after I have used and adapted an idea for ten or twenty years the originator might not recognize it. My problem then is not creating new ideas, because I rarely do, but rather keeping track of other peoples ideas and then measuring the success of the ones we try.
Keeping track of ideas is fairly simple. One simply has to organize them in a way that will allow them to be found in a timely manner later. On the surface that would seem simple enough, just set up some file folders with headings for each different type of event, holiday, etc. Where that system might fail is in cases where a promotion might apply to more that one holiday with a little bit of adaptation. The same holds true on theme events for coffee breaks or tour bus welcoming parties. When you get right down to it everything needs to be cross referenced in some manner. Here are some ideas to solve the problem and keep your ideas available for use and make implementing ideas easier.
Create a three ring binder that is the detailed resource file, where can you get various types of decorations, special equipment, entertainers and so forth. Who is willing to provide free materials in exchange for a little promotional exposure? Also note each time you use the individual or company, what they did and how well they did it. Even make a note when they turn you down and why. This resource file will grow over time as you do more promotions.
As for the various ideas themselves, it all depends on how your mind stores and retrieves information. Consider putting the information in file folders using headings that are clear to you. These might include holidays, cultural affiliations for theme parties (Mexican, for example), seasons, activities, etc. More importantly get in the habit of making cross reference notes on file folder covers. When you clip out an article or hear about a promotion that interests you make a few notes about it and file it in the most logical place. At the same time make notes on every other file folder cover that the idea might relate to. All you need to note is a line describing or titling the promotion and what file it is in. This cross referencing will help later. One of the most important things you can file are the details of promotions you do along with an after-action report.
This leads me to another important area. Why do so many good promotions fail? When I ask our marketing departments that question I get a lot of different answers. I don't doubt that most of them are accurate to one degree or another. What I rarely hear is that the promotion may have been done badly by them!
Here are some causes for failure that people don't volunteer too often:
Another activity which will help you avoid problems is going to promotions put on not only by your competitors but also businesses in other industries. You will get lots of ideas, see new ways to do things and get new sources for your own promotions. If you see their promotion failing remember that the best kind of bad experience is a second hand one!
For additional information, contact:
Kirby D. Payne at the firm
American Hospitality Management Company
1500 South Highway 100, #375, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Phone: 763-591-7640 Fax: 763-591-1593
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