With festival time approaching, the season of big bang consumer promotions is about to dawn in all earnest. But smart marketers are realising the futility of wasting marketing monies on me-too promotional activities. Though the promotional spend this year promises to break all previous records, expect sharper targeting, both in terms of products being peddled and specific consumer groups.
"Marketers are looking at ways to create differentiation (in their festive promotions) apart from simply outshouting their competition," says Srikant Sastri, MD of Solutions Integrated, a marketing services company. Marketers such as Gillette, Dabur and HP have realised that promotions have stopped influencing consumers' brand choice, Mr Sastri said.
Free, assured gifts or scratch-card promotions are mere hygiene factors now, a necessary marketing condition to push festival-led sales. Consumers' expect every brand to offer a promotional candy, and lazy, discount-led marketers have themselves to blame.
"Consumers don't choose a brand because of a gift, rather after buying the product they ask for gift, and it has to be given," says Mirc Electronics marketing head Vivek Sharma. With Rs 2,000 crore of television advertising, riding this festive season, marketers are looking at getting the bang from their ad buck.
Many marketers this year will stay clear from vanilla promotions and contests mania. "We will keep our two important launches during the season. It is an auspicious time for buying and gifting and we want to give the consumer better value through a breakthrough product," says Motorola marketing head Lloyd Mathais.
Not to say that Motorola will not indulge in any promotions, but that it will be primarily directed towards the new launches, not a secular offer across its product line.
In fact, new launch-based promotions look like the promotional trend around Diwali-Onam this year. "The gifting ritual around festival time is taking on new hues. Earlier gifting was emotional - hence sweets & dry fruits.
Now it's turning into an opportunity to make a statement about the giver," says Titan Industries business head Ajoy Chawla. Titan has lined up a slew of launches that it will be supporting through promotions across its three sub-brands -Raga, Edge and Nebula.
"This year our (promotional) focus will be on shopping malls. We will, however, continue to launch new seasonal merchandise that will be festive occasion apparel," says Madura Garments president Hemchandra Javeri.