Complicating marketing: increasing sales

If you work anywhere near marketing, chances are you’ve been faced with the above objectives, over and over, whether it was coming from your boss or your client. And more often than not, it didn’t go beyond those two words: “increase sales”. So let’s take a look at what that means.

Economics provides a clear textbook response to that: if you want to increase sales, decrease the price. Neat, simple, and unacceptable to your average marketer.

So, here comes textbook strategy #2: advertise your product, and you will get more consumers, and that’ll increase sales.

However, we know that it’s not always an option, or not necessarily the best one, so let’s complicate this and look at some real word strategies.

12 basic diagonal ways to increase sales:

  1. increase the dose of product per consumption (loyalty): people rarely pay attention to the amount of product they really use, and tend to go with a suggested or simple dosing; eg., pretty much any laundry detergent
  2. increase the dose of product per pack(loyalty): while this tactic effectively reduces the number of sales, it increases current revenues at the expense of potential future purchases that might benefit a competitor, so it’s worth being included; eg., family-size packs
  3. increase your product share per user(loyalty): there are cases where consumers use a number of products of the same category, and increasing your share within that range can lead to dramatic increases in sales; eg. sodas
  4. increase the number of usage occasions (mostly loyalty): this is a common strategy for complementary or ingredient products; eg. anybody Got Milk?
  5. increase the frequency of usage occasions (loyalty): an apple a day keeps the doctor away; eg., Calgon “goes in every wash”
  6. get your current users to upgrade to a new product(loyalty): tech companies have learned how to make their perfectly-functioning products feel obsolete, so that the most passionate users will sacrifice them in favour of the latest release; eg., do I even need to say that?
  7. increase the number of users within your current households (acqusition&loyalty): your current users may be your best advocates, and they might not need to leave the house or get online to do it; eg. Wii Fit
  8. get former consumers to come back to your product (acquisition and loyalty): it may be about reminding them of your existence, or getting them to give you a second chance, but it always boils down to trying to reignite the love; eg. 122 years of Hovis
  9. get consumers to change the place where they buy a product(acquisition and loyalty): if you’re competitively stronger in one channel than in another, get consumers to visit/buy more often in that channel; eg. Polident in supermarkets v pharmacies
  10. get consumers to use your product in conjunction with something they’re already using (acquisition): what is your product complimentary to?; eg. how many jars of Nutella are used at crepes stands all over the world?
  11. get consumers to quit a product from a different category and replace it with yours (acquisition): redefine what your competitive lanscape is; eg. chocolate for Valentine’s Day
  12. create an entirely new market that requires your product(acquisition): create something valuable and give it away for free, but make sure it can’t be enjoyed without your product; eg. Sudoku and pencils

Can you come up with more?


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