Marketing, advertising and PR

Sales promotion: graduate area of work

Sales promotion techniques drive sales and improve product availability. This includes promotions such as loyalty cards, prize draws and price-pack deals.

Marketing departments use sales promotion for a variety of reasons – to raise consumer demand, grow market share or improve the availability of their products or services. Sales promotion can target customers, sales staff or retailers.

Examples of consumer sales promotion techniques include loyalty card schemes, coupons (online or paper), prize draws and price-pack deals (eg 50% extra free). Trade discounts, commission for pushing certain products and trade contests (prizes for retailers selling the highest amount of a particular product) are illustrations of trade sales promotions.

There are more than 300 sales promotion agencies operating in the UK and many offer in-house training programmes. Responsibilities of a job in sales promotion include developing marketing strategies, copy writing and co-ordinating outside suppliers such as designers and printers. The working hours can be long but the combination of creativity and analysis is the major attraction for many.

What’s required

Marketing, business and economic degrees are sought by employers in this area. Work experience in marketing or a commercial environment will also increase your chances of employment.

Analytical skills and creativity are highly desirable in this line of work, as are entrepreneurial skills. A good head for figures helps keep projects on budget. Strong candidates will also have good planning and organisational skills as the most obvious sales promotion (such as cutting prices) may not always be the most effective in the long run. Specific qualifications in sales promotion are offered by the Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP).

Where to find out more

Information about qualifications in sales promotion can be found on the ISP website, along with information about companies operating in this area. Jobs are advertised through recruitment agencies, national newspapers and in sector-specific publications such as Direct Marketing World, Precision Marketing, Marketing and Marketing Week.