LETTERS

LETTERS to the editor should be accompanied by a home and business telephone number so that they may be verified. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for brevity if necessary.Promo houses 'change behavior'In reading the March 7 Opinion piece...

LETTERS to the editor should be accompanied by a home and business telephone number so that they may be verified. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for brevity if necessary.

Promo houses ‘change behavior’

In reading the March 7 Opinion piece by Elliott Ettenberg (‘The way of the future: behavior’) of Prism Communications, I couldn’t help but agree with many of his comments.

Clients are demanding more from their agencies and many of the ‘old’ advertising agencies (his term) are still too concerned with consumer awareness.

However, when Mr. Ettenberg states that advertising agencies have tried many ‘bullshit’ (his description) approaches before, including having ‘bought promotion houses’ but ‘none of those things had anything to do with consumer behavior…so none of it worked,’ then I say he’s talking ‘horseshit’ (my description.)

As the president of Marketing & Promotion Group (m&pg), and as an international executive vice-president for the Council of Sales Promotion Agencies (cspa), I can tell you that any professional promotion agency will state that its primary purpose and function is to change behavior: we do it every day and on every project we work on.

The following cspa definition of promotion may serve to illustrate this point:

‘The act of influencing [customer/consumer] perception and behavior to build market share and sales while reinforcing brand image.’

Try a product

We change behavior whenever we get a competitive user to try a product instead of their normal purchase of just one item, or when we get a consumer to stay loyal to a product over time instead of selecting from a variety of different products.

In fact, from the very beginning of promotion marketing, the role of promotion has been to generate the type of specific and measurable business-building results which advertising agencies were unable to do.

And that can only be done by changing behavior, whether through promotions designed to generate trial, re-purchase, multiple purchase, increased frequency of purchase, continuity/loyalty, or by stimulating new and extended usage.

Yes, a brand needs consumer awareness, but, after that, it needs consumer action or it won’t survive as a brand for very long. And, it’s this form of behavior – getting the consumer to buy – that we in promotion specialize in.

So, Mr. Ettenberg, while I share many of your opinions and agree that many advertising agencies can’t think beyond traditional advertising and awareness-building, please don’t tar us in promotional marketing with that same accusatory brush.

We ‘invented’ how to change consumer behavior in a marketing sense. You may be doing it differently from other advertising agencies, but nowhere near doing it as often, nor doing it as well as most promotion agencies.

Hy Haberman

President

Marketing & Promotion Group

Toronto