INTEGRATED: ISBA guide to sales promotion will help clients negotiate the minefield

Novices in the promotion business have a new text for advice and guidance

Novices in the promotion business have a new text for advice and


Paul Johnson

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

Chris Parry

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


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