Owning the Limited-Time Offer

One of the fastest ways companies have found to increase buzz about their brand is with the “limited-time offer” strategy. Companies build anticipation and renew brand interest with new products and once-a-year favorites that consumers can only purchase during a small window. This classic marketing strategy works to leverage temporary sales. However, when done right a LTO can launch a new platform for the company. Below are five ways outlined by Ad Age to generate positive chatter and create a lasting LTO.

  1. Create urgency: The main reason for a LTO is to get customers to act fast. Incorporate this language into the offer to make sure the consumer understands the product is only around for a short time. If you don’t make the consumer aware of the promotion, they won’t have the urgency to go out to purchase.
  2. Use limited-time offers to draw in a new type of customer: Launch a product or service that may not be in your typical platform. LTO’s are an opportunity to appeal to a new audience. Your brand’s everyday line may not be within the consumer’s product set, but by branching out from time to time you may be able to reach an audience you have never gone for before.
  3. Limited-time doesn’t have to be just a product: Is this a new service you are providing? What about a new look to your packaging? There are unlimited ways to create an offer without it being tied directly to your product. Think outside of the obvious promotion and you might just expand your business with services you never thought to leverage.
  4. Make it unique: Be sure to differentiate. Not only from other brands, but also from the other promotions you are offering. In order to get the consumer’s attention, you want the LTO to stand out.
  5. Limited-time can be a testing ground: Did your LTO perform especially well? Could this be an opportunity to make a permanent offer? Use LTO’s as a testing ground to see if there is a greater space to leverage past the end of the promotion. The success could lead to a new product, or you could even learn something from a failure.

Whether is really is a limited-time offer, or you have plans to make it into a permanent product/service, every company can learn from their promotions. LTO’s open opportunities to take risk and test new places to expand their market.

With contributions by Megan Monsees


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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