Novices in the promotion business have a new text for advice and
The ISBA ‘Best Practice Sales Promotion’ guide should be welcomed as a
useful reference tool. It is encouraging that ISBA now recognises sales
promotion as a core element of the marketing mix and is responding to
the development of integrated marketing.
The guide is a working document rather than a technical manual and
focuses on client/agency relationships, including how to choose an
agency, contracts, remuneration and evaluation. It also contains useful
sections on relevant laws and codes as well as a list of useful sales
promotion associations with contact details. It is not a step-by-step
handbook filled with what sales promotion is and how and when it should
be used. But it is welcomingly devoid of those irritating ‘aren’t we
wonderful’ case studies that mean little to anyone except the ego of the
The guide will be useful for brand managers and marketing managers who
are responsible for agency selection/relations and relatively new to
the discipline. As with any of these publications, there are some useful
refreshers and reading it prodded me into thought about how I could
improve a couple of areas in our day-to-day agency management.
I’m sure the guide will be welcomed by agencies, and if it didn’t have
ISBA’s name on the front I would have thought it had been written by
one. It’s a little biased in their favour and the ‘best practice’
recommendation that you pay a pitch fee is, I think, indicative of that.
I don’t agree with pitch fees at all - everyone has a cost of acquiring
business that can run into many thousands of pounds. Agencies are no
different. Companies who ask agencies to pitch unnecessarily are
unprofessional, but agencies also owe themselves a duty to choose which
accounts they pitch for to save their time and money.
Paul Johnson is the European marketing director of Budget Rent a Car
Sales promotion is often considered the poor relation to the more
traditional forms of marketing, yet it seems to have been consistently
winning minor amounts on the lottery and elevated itself to a more
middle class, if slightly nouveau riche, standing. Whichever way it is
perceived, there is no denying its growing importance in the marketing
mix - 25 per cent of advertising spend and 50 per cent of client spend
relates to sales promotion activity.
It is a minefield for clients when seeking sales promotion advice. The
choice is their retained advertising agency or a specialist sales
promotion outfit - usually their agency is discounted on the grounds of
lack of experience. Help is at hand in the ISBA ‘Best Practice Sales
Promotion’ report, or from the SPCA ‘Portfolio’, which offers a service
incorporating reports on six agencies that most closely fulfil a
client’s expressed needs.
ISBA stresses the importance of integrating the communications activity.
A good integrated agency offers a diversity of experience, advice and a
cohesive team that will achieve the client’s overall objective, be it
via direct marketing, advertising, sales promotion or PR. The expertise
of different specialists creates a synergy that enhances the
effectiveness of the marketing activity.
The whole premise of successful sales promotion rests on the
relationships between a value offer and the brand, and establishing the
best means of communicating the message to a target audience.
Today’s client doesn’t have the luxury of time or money to spend on a
multiplicity of agencies working to satisfy a number of marketing
requirements. What is needed is the benefit of disparate disciplines
that work in unison - in other words an integrated agency.
Chris Parry is the chairman of Impact FCA