Typically, business‐to‐business (B2B) promotions are price cuts that drain profits and erode brand equity for the sake of short‐term volume gains. This paper shows how to elevate B2B promotions to a central place in implementing strategy – creating extra value for customers, building brand equity, improving profits, and permanently increasing sales.
The article examines nine successful non‐price promotions and shows the patterns and principles that made them work.
The article posits a new conceptual model that organizes the findings from the nine cases: “the customer learning curve.” Strategy‐driven promotions move customers down this mental process from having a need – but perhaps not even knowing it – all the way through to being advocates for the firm and its products.
The model provides a framework for analyzing existing, and designing future, decision‐oriented market research.
Strategy‐driven promotions focus on overcoming barriers to purchase. The best are specific (don't ask the promotion to do the whole job); creative (go beyond the conventional, “drop the price” thinking); customer‐centered (borrow interest from something the customer really cares about); measurable (if you can't measure it, you can't learn from it); and brand enhancing (don't fall into the trap of eroding brand equity).)
The customer learning curve is an original conceptual model and practical problem‐solving tool. The nine cases provide original examples.
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