Food for Thoughts

Food for Thoughts

June is coming and my countrymen or rather countrywomen would be looking forward to the Super Singapore Sale. Besides the year-end Christmas season, this period is indeed the golden month for retailers islandwide. Retailers – big or small – will be falling over one another to outshine their competitors’ offerings in terms of varieties, price and special offers (gift on purchase, purchase on purchase, etc). It was quite shocking to learn that price could fall as much as 90%.

A friend’s father ran a small electrical shop in the heartland housing estate. He and his neighbouring shopowners would suffer a dip in sales, between 30% and 50%, during this period. Most shoppers would rather flock to jam pack the famous Orchard Road belt, to soak in the esctasy of the month-long super sale. After all, why opt for the less glamourous neighhourhood mom-and-pop shops when the price was already so low downtown? That was how Mr Lee striked on an innovative idea of rounding up all his neighbour shops and have a Friendly Neighbourhood Super Singapore Sales, mini scale, of course.

This year, Li Lian’s father wanted to focus on the sales of a niche range of cooking pots and pans that he specially imported from China. Though the range would easily fit the budget of lower to middle income household, this brand is practically unknown here. He felt that a free gift would ignite the desire of those who are sitting on the fence to jump off and pull out the wallet. His concern, as in many other small business operators, is insufficient marketing budget to get a respectable gift. He asked me what he can do.

“Gift with Purchase” promotion tactic usually works if the gift is also part of the brand. For example, buy a full-size shampoo to get a free mini-size conditioner or buy a carton of orange juice to get a mini carton of applie juice free. Having said that, gifts that are totally unrelated with the brand can be attractive too. Here is one famous example to support the claim: In 2000, McDonald’s ran a 40-day Wedding Design Hello Kitty toy promotion with its Extra Value Meals. This promotion is remembered for sparking a queuing frenzy by thousands of people and igniting a public debate about the suitability of such promotion and the wasteful habits of Singaporean (who threw the Extra Value Meals at rubbish bins outside the restaurants) and happily hug home their kitties.

For Mr Lee, I would recommend a related gift, recipes. I suggested Mrs Lee to visit CookingSpot, a website offers thousands of free recipes, and one that I benefited from. My retiree neighhour often whipped up a heavenly meal and pass me a big plate of whatever she “try-try and experimented” from the soup, seafood and chicken receipes. So my idea is for Mrs Lee to pick out 10 to 20 receipes from CookingSpot, cook to sample to ascertain if there is any necessity to make some adjustment to cater to the local mass. Li Lian, who is an amateur photographer, can take photographs of the cooked dishes. Afterwhich, Mr Lee can send the text and images to a quick-print shop for layout and printing. Print-on-demand means they can print a small print-run of 50 copies to gauge the response. In another words, low cost involved. If sales of his pots and pans soar, there is no reason for him not to print more to entice further sales. In fact, Mr Lee can make it no cost too.

The receipes from CookingSpot are free. All he needs to do is approach the photography shopowner (definitely a pro) to take pictures for free, and convince the quick-print boss for a complimentary layout and printing. In returns, he would give them prominent and special mentions in the receipe book. For example, Mr Lee can show his gratitute to CookingSpot by adding a line: “Receipes courtesy of CookingSpot. Visit for more mouth-watering receipes to use on your brand new cookwares.”To the other two proprietors, he can have “Photography courtesy of ABC Photography” and “Layout & Printing courtesy of XYZ QuickPress Pte Ltd”, plus all necessary contact information. There is no certainty that these two proprietors will get instant sales, but surely more people will come to know about them and the quality of their photography and print works. That is what I called a no-cost win-win joint venture.

I always believe that marketers have to do some forms of marketing whether they got money or no money. There are just so many ways to do marketing with or without money. Just don’t stop marketing!

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[tags]advertising, marketing, promotion, promotion tactics, gift on purchase, free gift[/tags]


2 Replies to “Food for Thoughts”

  1. how about ask mr. lee to take 2 pots, get a promoter, cook one new dishes every two hour, and offer free food-sampling to the passerby right in front of his shop.

    To add on some buzz, cook it right in front of the shop. Let the pot cook for two hours, and let the aroma spread. put a time-table of what’s the upcoming dish.

    these will proves how great his pots are(hope they are). the passerby will return for new tasting, and tell their frens about it.

    if he really do this, can i get a free pot? >D

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