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Offers Vs. Offerings

Every July, (winter here in Australia, maybe summer where you are) and six months out from Christmas the big chain stores have an all caps ‘TOY SALE’. The toys are unremarkable, and they are marketed in an unremarkable, 20% off, when they’re gone they’re gone kind of way. The lesson is don’t miss out. Next July the retailers will mount exactly the same campaign with fliers and shouting adverts, because the offer is the only way they have to get customers into their store.

Customers understand that a special offer isn’t really all about saving them money. And although they are tempted by the feeling of making a smart purchase, they know in their hearts that offers are how businesses try to shift more stuff. Offers then are a short term tactic that will probably help you to sell more this week, but sales and discounts are not how the world’s most loved brands keep customers coming back.

Offerings on the other hand are strategic and generous. They layer one tiny connection upon another, helping to create meaning and significance bit by bit and changing how people feel about themselves when they are close to your brand. Offerings require patience for the long haul and they don’t necessarily have an immediate return on investment.

Offers might make the cash register ring today, but offerings build something that will sustain your business tomorrow.

And the flip side is that when you make more offerings, you’ll need fewer offers.

Image by Jason Short.

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