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Trade Promotion

These “Worst” Practices are Causing You to Lose Money on Promotions

We’ve all seen countless “best practice” lists that are designed to excite and motivate brands to reach new levels of success with their product promotions. While these lists are no doubt helpful, the fact is that up to 75% of brands are still left in the red at the end of their promotional campaigns. For many teams, that’s because no number of best practices will truly make a difference if you still have some of your worst practices in place. 

In this article, we go over some of the worst practices that are stealthily holding your team back from reaching your promotion execution goals. Once your team is able to get these under control, the best practices you’ve been implementing with little to no success will finally be able to take you to the next level. 


1. Waiting Too Long to Check In

In the days and weeks leading up to a promotion, it can sometimes feel like every waking moment is spent focusing on launch day. Once the promotion begins, however, that level of interest and dedication by the team is redirected to look towards the next big project. While keeping the ball rolling is important, teams do themselves a disservice by not investing more into the initial phase following a promotion’s launch.

The truth is, the first few days and weeks after you launch a promotion are arguably the most crucial to overall success, so taking a hands-off approach doesn’t make much sense. Still, many brands wait weeks before returning to stores and auditing promotion compliance, costing them valuable time to make corrections should anything be awry. Even those brands that follow up on promotions right away often don’t have the tools they need to generate and analyze compliance reports before it is too late. The result? Nearly 55% of promotions fail to have an impact on sales as brands wait up to 12 weeks to find out about noncompliance issues that should’ve been addressed in week one. 




2. Overlooking Available Data

Another way brands could be losing money on their promotions is by not taking advantage of the data available to them. On top of the data your team directly collects from store visits, you are likely paying for store-level sales data from your retailers or industry-wide data from syndicated sources. If so, you should be looking at those sales trends every day while a promotion is running. 

If you aren’t closely monitoring both internally and externally sourced data, it is likely that promotion compliance issues will fall through the cracks. For example, many brands monitor their point-of-sale data to check sales against expected promotional lifts. But if you only monitor your POS data monthly, it may be too late by the time you send your reps to dig in on underperforming stores. 

For all you know, a store employee may have accidentally stocked your promo display with your competitor’s item in the first two weeks, eating up your potential sales lift. However, since you didn’t review the data until one month in, store employees may have fixed the display by the time your reps are dispatched, leaving them with no idea as to why the promotion performed so poorly. That is why frequent monitoring of all of the data available to you is critical to a successful promotion. 


3. Not Reading the Fine Print

A final way brands unnecessarily lose money on their promotions is by glazing over the details of their promotion contracts. While we all are guilty of saying we’ve read the terms and conditions after barely glancing at them, when it comes to trade promotion contracts it is in your best interest to make sure your reps read all of the fine print.

In your trade promotion contract, there are details about everything the promotion entails: the duration of the promotion, the pricing of the products, the location of the display -- it’s all in there. But just as we all are prone to simply passing over these details, so might be the retail partner you’re working with. That is why it is vital for your team to have full knowledge of everything the contract contains, because a retailer may violate some of those terms without even knowing it. 

For example, a retailer may not realize that for the duration of your promotion, you are supposed to have exclusivity. When you dispatch reps to the store, they have a list of items to check up on -- if they are abreast of the details of your contract, exclusivity should be one of those items. With this in mind, the rep is able to do more than simply make sure your product is displayed correctly on the shelf; they can address the violation with the retailer and potentially receive a future credit or an extension on the promotion as a restitution. 


To sum everything up, your best practices won't produce top results if you are limiting yourself by committing these worst practices. By staying on top of in-store conditions, fully analyzing data, and ensuring your entire team is aware of the conditions of your promotions, you’ll finally be able to reap the rewards of the best practices you’ve put into place. 

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Melissa Sonntag

Melissa is a recent graduate of Northeastern University and a content marketing specialist at Repsly, Inc. She is committed to applying her skills in order to bring value to Repsly readers and customers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, making music, and anything dog-related.

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