Sales promotions targeted at consumers (e.g., coupons, sweepstakes, free offers) are becoming a large and growing part of marketing budgets worldwide. This article presents a framework that examines the effect of managerially controllable actions—specifically, designing and communicating a sales promotion—on increasing the incentive for different segments of consumers to purchase a product. Sales promotions have three distinct aspects: an economic aspect that provides both incentives and disincentives to purchase a brand; an informational aspect that consumers use to make purchase decisions; and an affective aspect that influences how consumers feel about their shopping transaction, both positively and negatively. How a promotional offer is designed and communicated determines both its information value and its affective appeal, which then enhances or diminishes the attractiveness of the offer beyond the economic incentive it provides. Companies' promotion strategies should attempt to maximize the positive informative and affective aspects, as these can lessen the need for a large economic incentive and thereby increase the promotions' profitability.
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