Trends: Customer Expectations, Communication and Delivery

Customer Expectations

Marketers who employ sales promotion as a key component in their promotional strategy should be aware of how the climate for these types of promotions is changing. For instance, the onslaught of sales promotion activity over the last several decades has eroded the value of the short-term requirement to act on sales promotions. Many customers are conditioned to expect a promotion at the time of purchase otherwise they may withhold or even alter their purchase if a promotion is not present. For instance, food shoppers are inundated on a weekly basis with such a wide variety of sales promotions that their loyalty to certain products has been replaced by their loyalty to current value items (i.e., products with a sales promotion). For marketers the challenge is to balance the advantages short-term promotions offer versus the potential to erode loyalty to the product.

Communication and Delivery

For many years consumers typically became aware of sales promotions in passive ways. That is, most customers obtained promotions not through an active search but by being a recipient of a marketer’s promotion activity (e.g., received coupons in the mail). Now the internet and mobile technologies are changing how customers obtain certain promotions. In addition to websites and apps offering access to coupons, there are community forum sites and social media outlets where customers can get details about how to obtain sales promotion. Monitoring these sites may offer marketers insight into customers’ attitudes about certain promotions and may even suggest ideas for future sales promotions.

Traditionally, sales promotions have been delivered to customers via mail, in-person, or within print media. However, digital technologies present marketers with a number of new delivery options. For example, the combination of mobile devices and GPS technology permits marketers to target promotions to a customer’s physical location. This allows retailers and other businesses to issue sales promotions, such as sending electronic coupons to a customer’s mobile device when they are near the location where the coupon can be used.