March 18, 2019

CPG Innovation: How Your Product Promotions Can Help You Win Customers

This article is the third article in a 3-part series on how CPG brands can work with their suppliers and retail partners to continually innovate to renew their relationships with their customers. In this installment, I’m going to talk about the importance of product promotions and campaigns, and how they integrate with your packaging to keep engaging with consumers in new ways — and keep them choosing your product.

When it comes to selling CPG brands in retail stores, the name of the game is standing out.

Between the insurgent Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands and the growth of retailers’ own private-label brands (think Costco’s Kirkland Signature line of products), the competition for traditional CPG brands has never been stronger. Consumers have more choice, and more ways of engaging with the companies they want to buy from.

Promotions are another form of powerful in-store marketing. Combined with customized Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays, they can be irresistible.

Why Promotions Work so Well

Product promotions (when executed properly) take advantage of basic human psychology.

You see, it’s not just about “getting something for nothing” — although most people do love a bargain. Almost every single promotion operates on a principle of limited availability (think of all those “while supplies last” or “for a limited time only” caveats). That phrasing is no accident: Those offers are constructed around the principles of urgency and scarcity.

I’ll spare you the neuroscience, but what it comes down to is the human tendency toward loss aversion — or more plainly put, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). FOMO is basically the anxiety you feel when you think others may be enjoying a reward that you don’t yet have. It’s also connected to a fear of regret about not taking an action that you could have taken when given the opportunity.

Even though, as consumers, we know that promotions come and go, our need for immediate gratification often trumps our rational reasoning. That’s another trigger that promotions can leverage: the urge toward impulse buying.

Whatever mix of promotional offers you use to market your products, your packaging — for the product itself and the in-store displays you use to promote it — is critical to bringing the offer to life and making it irresistible to your prospective customers.

Effective Approaches You Can Use Again and Again to Innovate Your CPG Promotions

Although there are probably as many types of promotions as there are products on the market, there are a few tried-and-true models that always bring results.

As a co-packing partner to CPG brands, Ravenshoe Group has helped many companies incorporate compelling promotions into their packaging and in-store displays. Based on my experience, here are some of the best and most reliable ways to promote your product.

Coupons and Multi-Product Offers

Coupons that offer a product discount are among the most common promotions offered by CPG brands. Many people are used to “clipping coupons” and often actively keep an eye out for those deals. Whether they already have a purchasing intent for your product or not, chances are that if you’re offering a discount coupon, they’ll buy more than they would without it. You (and the retailer) move more product.

Multi-product offers are another classic promotion type. We’ve all seen the “buy one, get one free” (BOGO) offers, and it’s no accident — they’re extremely effective for moving product. According to one survey, 40% of shoppers cite the BOGO offer as the most appealing type of promotion, behind similar offers like “get one item 50% off,” or an incentive related to a retailer’s reward program.

The dopamine hit from “getting a deal” is visceral and immediate. Make sure that in-store POP displays amplify the offer to trigger that sale.


Holding a contests is another great way to get attention and engage your would-be buyers. Offering more than just an on-the-spot discount, a contest can build excitement post-purchase.

Spin U Win Promotion Display

For example, when Pfizer launched its “Spin U Win Contest” during the 2008 recession, they made sure that the promotion featured prominently on their in-store POP displays.

Customers who bought a Pfizer product in-store would automatically receive an entry code for a contest to receive a prize. The customized POP displays featuring the promotion were deployed to stores across the country to increase shopper incentive.

Even better, stores were able to use the promotion to collect customer contact information — which they in turn used to communicate with customers about further promotions.

Although you’ll want to use several channels to advertise a contest for maximum awareness, you should leverage your POP displays to reinforce the message for added visibility.


Another high-leverage way of promoting your products is cross-selling — combining one product that a customer wants with another product that they might not otherwise think about. The key is to make sure that all the elements of this “combination offer” match the desires and needs of the customer in some way.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

You might want to partner with a retailer to offer a product incentive. For example, take a look at how Colgate partnered with Target to offer of a $5 gift card for anyone who bought three or more Colgate products:

Source: Hip2Save

In addition to partnering with retailers (or even other brands) to sell your products, you can also use promotions to cross-sell within your own product line, just by offering customers a product that’s related to whatever they’re already buying.

Another twist on this type of promotion is to offer a new product as part of the purchase of an already-known product. This can be a great way to introduce your existing customers to a new offering — risk-free.

CPG food brands do this a lot. Take this example from General Mills: They created a promotion to give away a new product when customers purchased an existing product.

Free promotional product packaging

You can also use your packaging in another way to help you cross-sell your products. Take a look at this innovative example from Harry’s:

Cross sell packaging
Source: Fixtures Close Up

Their free-standing “Your Stubble’s In Trouble” razor display includes a cross-sell “out of stock” referral on the facing for each row that directs the shopper to another aisle in the store where they can pick up more product:

Cross sell packaging
Source: Fixtures Close Up

CPG Innovation Isn’t Limited to Product Innovation

Ongoing innovation is the name of the game for any business that wants to stay in business. Brands need to keep re-inventing themselves to stay fresh and to meet customers’ ever-changing expectations.

When you commit to innovation, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to delight your customers. Despite the changing landscape of consumer behaviour, people still want to buy brands that make them feel good.

A good co-packing partner understands this challenge and can work with you to make sure your product packaging incorporates your brand message and speaks to consumers in compelling ways. Product packaging isn’t just a necessity: it can act as a product ambassador.

Want to talk about how your CPG brand packaging can take an innovative leap forward? Reach out to Ravenshoe Group today — I’d love to talk.

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