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Sales promotion is one of the elements of the promotional mix. (The primary elements in the promotional mix are advertising, personal selling, direct marketing and publicity/public relations). Sales promotion uses both media and non-media marketing communications for a pre-determined, limited time to increase consumer demand, stimulate market demand or improve product availability. Examples include contests, coupons, freebies, loss leaders, point of purchase displays, premiums, prizes, product samples, and rebates.
Sales promotions can be directed at either the customer, sales staff, or distribution channel members (such as retailers). Sales promotions targeted at the consumer are called consumer sales promotions. Sales promotions targeted at retailers and wholesale are called trade sales promotions. Some sale promotions, particularly ones with unusual methods, are considered gimmicks by many.
Sales promotion includes several communications activities that attempt to provide added value or incentives to consumers, wholesalers, retailers, or other organizational customers to stimulate immediate sales. These efforts can attempt to stimulate product interest, trial, or purchase. Examples of devices used in sales promotion include coupons, samples, premiums, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, contests, rebates, and sweepstakes.
Sales promotion is implemented to attract new customers, to hold present customers, to counteract competition, and to take advantage of opportunities that are revealed by market research. It is made up of activities, both outside and inside activities, to enhance company sales. Outside sales promotion activities include advertising, publicity, public relations activities, and special sales events. Inside sales promotion activities include window displays, product and promotional material display and promotional programs such as premium awards and contests.
Sale promotions often come in the form of discounts. Discounts impact the way consumers think and behave when shopping. The type of savings and its location can affect the way consumers view a product and affect their purchase decision. The two most common discounts are price discounts (“on sale items”) and bonus packs (“bulk items”). Price discounts are the reduction of an original sale by a certain percentage while bonus packs are deals in which the consumer receives more for the original price. Many companies present different forms of discounts in advertisements, hoping to convince consumers to buy their products.

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