The festive season is quite synonymous with discounts and promotions from various businesses and startups often want to capitalise on this to get their customers excited. Being a small business owner you could also be thinking of ways to give your customers some promotions of some sort to retain their loyalty and all. But have you ever wondered as to the factors that could render your promotion efforts futile? There is a sense in which most entrepreneurs gave up giving promotions because they thought of it as a waste of time and resources. No. In this article, I attempt to have a quick look at some of the reasons why some promotional strategies fail to a point of affecting the overall performance of a business growth strategy.

Failing To Understand Your Target Audience

More often than not small businesses in their early years fail to fully understand their target audience and this usually hurts their business. Worse still, some startup founders fail to recognise this and go on to take their businesses to the next steps in market penetration usually through poorly thought out promotions and campaigns. You can imagine the damage this could bring to an otherwise good business. So, before you promote your products/services there is a growing sense that you need to fully understand the preferences of your target audience. Such things you should know about your market revolve around their general preferences and dislikes. It would be more beneficial if you can have an idea of their buying patterns and general consumption behaviours. This will go a long way in informing you on how you will craft your promotional campaign which will surely bring in the desired traction to your business.

Poor Creativity Levels in Executing Promotions

Generally speaking, there is nothing new under the sun but in business, the far-reaching creativity of startup founders always brings in some novelty in products/services delivery. Most promotional campaigns fail largely because the concept implored has just been a mere copy and paste type of an approach. I mean, one can notice a big supermarket giving out a BOGO (Buy One Get One free) and conclude that he/she can do the same in his/her line of business. Well, it is good to copy the good things one can find but it is highly encouraged that you spice up whatever you copy with your own sense of creativity. At least this will add some uniqueness into your promotional campaigns. Failure to do so might render your efforts futile especially in the Zimbabwean market where consumers might too quick to feel your BOGO campaign as an attempt to clear your stock before it goes bad.

Poor Timing

Timing is everything; remember, a stitch in time saves nine. The same applies in business particularly when you seek to roll out promotional campaigns which have the potential to grow your business. Quite often startup founders promote products way ahead of time and some too much behind. To this effect, I am reminded of a certain company which undertook a marketing campaign for their ice tea product in winter. I felt such a promotion campaign could have waited until summer and I doubt if the market appreciated the product at the time it was marketed. In this regard, it can well be said that there is an increased chance of failing in your promotion if the timing of your campaign is just but not right or suitable for the market.

Poor Pre-Campaign Research

Every decision in business should be preceded by a comprehensive research exercise. Research by its very nature helps to bring in new ideas on to the table and these can be the major determinants of the quality of choices made by decision-makers. In promotions also, research is critical in so far as you need new ideas that will attract your target market otherwise you risk repeating the same thing over and over yet expecting to get improved results. Now, in your research, you can engage with your regular customers through surveys or product/service reviews platforms. In some cases, you can seek out to observe just how your customers interact with your product/service and similar offerings. From these exercises you will have an idea of what to do in your promotional campaigns as most of your decisions will be customer-oriented and informed by in-depth research.

The Lack Of Clear And Concise Communication

For a promotional campaign to get to the intended audience the message has to be communicated. Some marketing campaigns largely fail when the business owners attempt to communicate their offering. Assuming that you will use the various social media platforms, most if not all of your message might be in the text. Amongst many considerations, you would want to appreciate that the meaning of a sentence can be altered based on where the comma (,) is placed. In some cases, the spellings in your message, if wrong, can tell of a different story about the seriousness of your company or business. Worse still, the language you might think of as comfortable with your audience might fail to effectively communicate your offering. A lot can be said about communicating what you need to say about your promotion but the most important thing to take note of is the fact always review your promotional messages before sending them out. Now, there is a tendency for startup founders to want to do everything by themselves. While this is understandable, the risk to them is in often missing out on the minute details which often tend to overshadow the good they would have done.

Having said the above, in simple terms it is encouraged that you clearly and soberly think things through before you seek out to offer promotions and/or marketing campaigns. Failure to do likewise might water down your efforts simply because you overlooked something you thought as less important.