1. Sales promotion consists of those promotional activities other than advertising, personal selling, and publicity. As such, any promotional activities that do not fall under the other three activities of the promotion mix are considered sales promotion. The trade often uses the term indiscriminately. Businesspersons may use the term “promotion” when they actually mean “sales promotion.” For purpose here, promotion is a broad term that encompasses sales promotion as well as the other three promotional activities.
2. The techniques of sales promotion are varied and numerous. The common ones used are coupons, sweepstakes, games, contests, price-offs, demonstrations, premiums, samples, and money refund offers. A combination of these can be used and sometimes is used in the same campaign.
3. Sales promotion is temporary in nature. Not being self-sustaining, its function is to supplement advertising, personal selling, and publicity. To launch Budweiser beer in Great Britain, Anheuser-Busch employed the “American” theme. Its TV commercials on the 4th of July and Thanksgiving Day were spots filmed in California with American actors. To supplement its advertising effort, the company used a variety of sales-promotion techniques. It made posters, bunting, flags, pennants, T-shirts, and sweatshirts available to pubs and discos for promotional parties. Bud ashtrays, bar towels, coasters, football pennants, and similar items were offered for sale. Moreover, American disc jockeys were brought in to program American music nights.
4. Sales promotion is not restricted to the stimulation of demand at the consumer level. It may be used to gain middlemen's support as well. In Order to get Thai middlemen to carry Foremost's dairy products, the company used leasing and conditional sales contracts to provide small retail outlets' and restaurants with freezers for $1 if contract terms were met. Foremost also had to convince these resellers not to store other products in the freezers and not to unplug freezer units at night to save electricity.
5. The use of sales promotion is not limited to consumer products. It can be used with industrial selling too. Misawa Homes promoted its House 55 by sending samples to U.S. Homes and Germany's Okal. Pfizer, like other drug firms, attracts drug wholesalers by sponsoring trips and other events. Gifts are given to doctors, and doctors' wives are taken on shopping tours.
6. The popularity of sales promotion has grown steadily both in the United States and overseas. A survey of executives conducted by Stimulus, Canada's leading advertising journal, revealed a shift from media advertising to sales promotion. Compared with five years ago, three of five firms had moved to spend more of their advertising budget on such nonmedia alternatives as trade shows, point-of-purchase displays, and publicity. According to a POPAI （Point-of- Purchase Advertising Institute） -Du Pont study of shopping behavior in the United States, almost 70 percent of all non-food purchases in supermarkets are generated by in-store decisions. If the same decision-making pattern is prevalent outside the United States, sales promotion should prove to be just as indispensable.
7. Sales promotion is effective when a product is first introduced to a market. It also works well with existing products that are highly competitive and standardized, especially when they are of low unit-value and have high turnover. Under such conditions, sales promotion is needed to gain that “extra” competitive advantage. A Japanese firm created a great deal of excitement in Thailand by including game cards in its detergent boxes, and consumers could not resist buying more and more in search of the winning cards, Likewise, most gas stations in Thailand at one time gave free washcloths with a gas fill-up. Middlemen were also allowed to participate in the sales-promotion program. Stores were informed of the display, and their salespeople or sales clerks were made aware of the program and benefits.
8. The effectiveness of sales promotion can be tempered by psychological barriers, and this fact is applicable to middlemen as well as consumers. Some foreign retailers are reluctant to accept manufacturers' coupons because they fear that they will not be reimbursed. Consumers, on the other hand, may view rebates, mail-in coupons, and money-back guarantees with suspicion, thinking that something must be wrong with the product.
9. Much like many other marketing aspects, sales-promotion methods may have to be modified. The techniques employed, to be effective, should be consistent with local preference. Philips offered a set of dominoes as a premium for electricity purchase in Brazil, where the game is national pastime and electrical products are treated as commodities. A player holds the colored side up to prevent an opponent from seeing the dotted numbers side. Since the company's name was on the back of every domino, electricians were often reminded of the brand.