WOLFBITES - Issue 44

Are your promotions and giveaways nothing more than "trinkets and trash"

Paper rip revealing the words free stuff, symbolic of giveaways, the focus of this marketing blog by top Toronto copywriter Wolfgang Franke, who also does small business advertising, including social media marketing and web advertising as well as Facebook advertising.

I am regularly asked by clients to evaluate giveaways, known more formally as sales promotions. More often than not, I give them a thumbs down because they are what I call "trinkets and trash" – virtually worthless items that are immediately thrown away, or at best, tossed into a drawer – and then forgotten.

There are a few exceptions. But you have to get the actual value/perceived value balance right. What does that mean?  Perceived value is the value assigned by the buyer, actual value is what it really costs. The trick is to offer something that has a high perceived value and a low actual cost.

For example, I did a successful direct mail piece aimed at investors with more than $500,000 to invest. You would imagine that these folks would not be impressed or interested in the value added we included: a $10 gift card. But we heard the opposite. Many of the prospects who responded and agreed to meetings (Success!) mentioned the gift cards as one of the factors that influenced their decision to meet.  So we got the perceived value/actual value proposition right.  


Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.




Mini WolfBites 7

Why are we now seeing ads for "spreadable" butter. Because somebody looked at a problem that has frustrated consumers for years – butter does not spread easily – and came up with a solution.

Most of us saw this new thing called the Internet. Just one person saw how the internet could transform the auction – an age-old marketing technique – into the e-auction.

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