Making Marketing Offers Food for Thought: Making Marketing Offers
By aaron allen on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 10:50 am: Edit

Surely you’ve heard them before too – those radio commercials that start off with some incredible offer that gets your interest. Then the final one-third of the commercial is dedicated to the restrictions, disclaimers and legal jargon that take all of the air right out of the balloon. Trust is eroded, apprehension fueled and relationships damaged.

Why do companies play this game? Because, in their headlong pursuit of short-term volume goals, they have focused on creating transactions -- building traffic count, creating trials, “butts in seats” -- and not on building competitor-proof relationships and garnering trust. Why? Because that’s what companies typically measure, and that’s how their managers are held accountable. So companies make promises, hoping that the more powerful and grandiose the promises are, the stronger the consumer response will be. But the more powerful and grandiose the promise, the tougher it will be for companies to keep it. A typical offer today has more strings attached to it than a gathering of the Muppets, Fraggle Rock and cast of Pinocchio.

Instead of overpromising or making offers impregnated with restrictions, make offers that are totally free of strings and disclaimers. For instance, your restaurant may try “Come in on your birthday and your meal is absolutely free!”

When you make an offer free of strings, the benefits to you transcend the immediate sales induced by the offer. Customers and potential customers stand up and say “wow!” They take notice, and even if they don’t come in for the offer, they’re far more likely to think of you as a restaurant deserving of their trust and attention. You are also far more likely to benefit from the explosive word of mouth that is generated by a compelling offer free of restrictions.

Aaron Allen

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