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Interview with Mark O’Donnell

Tweet Studiowhiz Hi there Mark, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me today. Everyone, this is Mark O’Donnell, New Zealand’s number one Sales Promotion guru. He’s just relaunched his promotional site Mark, as a quick intro why don’t you summarise Sales Promotion for those new to the world of marketing? [...]

llennodo_logo.pngStudiowhiz Hi there Mark, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me today. Everyone, this is Mark O’Donnell, New Zealand’s number one Sales Promotion guru. He’s just relaunched his promotional site

Mark, as a quick intro why don’t you summarise Sales Promotion for those new to the world of marketing?
Mark Sales Promotions or Promotional/Experiential Marketing as it is sometimes known are activities or campaigns which are specifically designed to increase sales of a product or service. They need to provide a “call to action” or stimulus to excite potential customers/consumers. There are many examples which include prize/incentive competitions, cash backs, gift with purchase, instant win and loyalty schemes which encourage repeat purchase.

SW You touch on one thing there that I suggest all websites should have too. That is a “Call To Action” – all sites should have some call that gives them purpose.
So, what was it that attracted you to this industry?
MD It was the challenge of creating and executing successful concepts over a wide range of products and industries.
My background was in the wine and food industry but I soon learned that innovation, imagination and common sense could be applied to most industries, products and services.

SW Innovation leads to change, it’s not long before what was innovative becomes the norm. You must have seen the industry change a lot during your career. How does this constant change affect your business today?
MD There have been massive changes in the 20 years I have been involved. Initially, television/radio and newsprint were the traditional channels of contact.

There are a multitude of channels now with the internet, direct e mail, blogs, txts, telemarketing, cinema, direct mail, guerilla marketing there are so many more ways to contact potential consumers/customers. Smart operators have kept pace with the new touchpoints and adapted them to incorporate new sales promotional mechanics. My company has over 30 promotional mechanics so we are confident we can fit the right mechanic with the right channel.

SW Over 30 tricks stored away in your goodie bag ey? Now I know that one of these in particular is your little baby – the promotional technique “Fuzzy Logic”. This has been used successfully by a number of companies around the world. (Fuzzy logic is a foot traffic generation device requiring the participant to visit instore). With today’s push to do everything online, do you think there is still a desire for these offline, foot traffic type promotions?
MD It’s really a matter of deciding the best mechanic (e.g. Fuzzy Logic) to meet the client’s objectives and fitting that into the correct online/offline environment or a combination of both. Fuzzy Logic is a proven foot traffic generator and works really well in that offline area but we have now adapted it so it can be used online also. We have many mechanics that will work in both environments.

SW Again you touch on something there I’ve been talking about for years. That is discovering what your client/audience want. You can’t just give them some pre-determined ‘thing’ and hope it works.

Here in New Zealand we are often known as a land of early adopters. Do you think this is true when it comes to Sales Promotions in the online space?
MD Yes, but we are constrained by legislation which means that instant win games are illegal in the current climate. This will change as more companies “test” the law and push the boundaries.

SW On the note of legislation, I see that the NZ Lottery commission is looking to sell Lottery tickets online – effectively allowing online gambling (online gambling is currently illegal in New Zealand). Does this mean the law in NZ is about to change? Will this open up the Promotional Marketing area more?
MD It’ll certainly test the boundaries and be interesting to see both government and the advertising industry’s response.

SW Right, back to promotions. How important are the mechanics of Sales Promotion in the online realm? Can you simply apply the old school ideas to online or do you need to innovate in the online space?
MD The mechanics are merely the means of communicating the message. However, a solid creative idea combined with a relevant and enticing mechanic will work every time. Some of the old school (to quote you) ideas will still be relevant online, that’s because good ideas will always stand the test of time. However successful promotions not only need to keep pace with change but be innovative and predict future promotional trends.

SW Again, a great tie in with the online market. Websites too can use old school techniques to be different. Innovation is great, but communication is key. One thing I’ve learned from you that is crucial in the online realm is “Look for the fiddle” – care to explain that to our readers?
MD It means that if there is a way to “fiddle’ or fraud a promotion someone will find it. It particularly applies to any instant win promotion. My company carries insurance indemnification against overclaims plus we have a number of security printing and safety procedures to minimise the risk to clients and/or overcome this eventuality.

SW Note to readers: I know very few websites that carry indemnity insurance, yet most promotional marketing companies will. How much more important in the online space is it to look for the fiddle? Do you find that those online are more likely to try and fiddle the promotion?
MD The same security procedures apply to both on and off line environments. We have adapted our security procedures online to ensure the risk is minimal. We work with some of the industries best developers and web people to ensure that our online promotions are safe, fun and effective.

SW For those reading who are looking for a way to promote their website, are there some key points that make a great promotion?
MD Innovation is always good. Try to have a compelling reason for people to want to buy your product or service. Mostly, deal with professional people who can recommend the best and most creative promotional solution, it will save time and money in the long term.

SW Also thought I might ask, what was your most succesful promotional experience? Did it use an online element & what was it that made it such a great campaign?
MD There have been many successes over 20 years. A Speight’s promotion which incorporated an on pack entry mechanic and combined an online mini loyalty programme called “Earn your Stars” was hugely successful and groundbreaking. Also a massive Australasian in-pack promotion for Kellogg’s cornflakes which used a plastic Fuzzy Logic game card was incredibly successful in terms of consumer reaction and sales. This was due to its simplicity and innovation. (EDIT : note to readers, Mr K was heavily involved in the Earn Your Stars promotion as technical lead for online)

SW Lets look at Llennodo Marketing. What services do you offer companies looking to drive their business?
MD All our services are outlined in detail at Needless to say you don’t stay in business for 20 years unless you have an in depth knowledge of your business. We have worked with some of NZ’s finest Advertising Agencies and many clients direct.

SW If people want to know more about your services, can they contact you through your site?
MD Sure, go to the contact us link and click on our e mail outlining their requirements.

SW Well thank you for taking the time today
MD Thank you it’s been a pleasure I hope your readers have enjoyed this as much as I have.


3 Responses


Been reading for a while now. Just wanted to say good job.

Chris Tackett


Agree with Chris. You are providing a great service Mr. K

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