Bog off!

P&G: bogof promotion on Wick

P&G: bogof promotion on Wick

A few years ago, the German authorities were forced by European legislation to allow loyalty programs and cut-throat price promotions (which were previously banned; they were considered “Kaufzwang”, a strange expression meaning “purchase obligation” – huh? your product’s on promotion, so that’s forcing me to buy it?!? Bizarre logic).

Well, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) leapt at the opportunity. They know that promotions are a major way to stimulate customers (and potentially blast a few competitors out of the water – the very reason the Germans had their protectionist policies installed in the first place, to protect small companies).

This offer (known in the UK as a “buy one get one free” or bogof for short), is a typical P&G promotion. Having worked on a dying brand I know how crucial they are to buying custom. But only in the short term.

Tea time - 3 for 2

Tea time – 3 for 2

Careful you don’t do them too often (as we did, despite my protestations). Customers aren’t idiots. They remember, buy in volume – and won’t buy you when you’re back at your normal price!

In fact, personally I suggest you keep well clear of such promotions – unless

  • you’re launching something new – but make sure it’s clear this is only an introductory offer
  • there is no alternative (like you need to spoil a competitor’s launch, you don’t have enough money to spend above-the-line)
  • the pattern of promotions is irregular – as customers work out when regular promotions are coming, and wait.

And watch out for sales managers pushing for end-of-year promotions. They’re sometimes just out of desperation – they want to hit their targets and secure their annual bonus!

Alex Woodruff

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