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Do People in Sales Promotion Jobs Enjoy Themselves?

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Q - What is it about sales promotion that you enjoy?

A- I like the fact that there's no real pattern to the day. I am fair game for anyone working on those fifty or so brands to talk about whatever they need to talk about.

I get excited about my job. I like all the things that make it a challenge, such as thinking of ways to do things that no one else has ever done in the promotion business. I like the problem-solving aspect of the job. I like it when someone comes to me and says, "I have this marketing problem, I need a way to fix it." I really like the people in my department and in the advertising divisions. They are a group of highly motivated, success-oriented, smart people.



I think any art director or writer likes to get down to the actual creative process. That's why we get into it, because of the satisfaction we get out of creating something. There is nothing quite as satisfying as turning out a good headline.

Up here we get thrown into a lot of new things. I real enjoy being involved in some of the groundwork stages of new product launches. I enjoy getting bombarded with a lot of materials to digest comment on, and then act on. We're constantly under the gun. If you make it here, you make it big. There's a lot to be said for people who can survive in a fishbowl kind of atmosphere in the office. We get exposed a lot more information than other people do, and it's our responsibilities to digest it and send it out to the field, so we get into a lot of analytic thinking. I like being in on what's happening. When we fund a new product launch for 1983, I know all about it, because I go to all the beginning meetings and discussions about it. I like knowing what directions the company is going in. That's another real attraction to the position.

Q - How much traveling do you do?

A - When we launch a new product, we typically have a special promotion. I may be on the road three days out of the week, and they might go on for a period of three to four weeks. I'm making presentations, or I might have workshops where I sit in and answer questions that field people might have. Then I'd probably make a whole swing headquarter calls. If it's a very special program and if there's a lot of information that we want to give to an account, it's our practice to have manager and a sales representative go to accounts across the country and sit in on presentations. We might travel for three to four weeks, then are back in the office for five to six weeks in a row, and then travel again extensively for a couple of weeks. I'd say I'm on the road about 5 percent of the time.

Q - What would a typical day be like?

A - Each employee follows an exercise program to help fight stress. It can get very crazy here. People are running all over the place yelling, "I want that report now," or "I need it in ten minutes," or "Can you get me this and that?" And there are always meetings.

So three days a week I get here about 7:30 and go through twenty-minute exercise program. I'm up in my office around 8:00 or so. The work day normally doesn't start until 9:00, but the only time I can write memos, go through the mail, and do all the little things I want t do is before 9:00 or after 5:00. During the regular work day, I'm constantly being pulled from meeting to meeting. Everybody wants to meet for something. So I normally stay here until about 6:00 to 6:30 at night.

Instead of a typical day, I'll take you through a typical promotion. We meet with vice-presidents of sales and marketing to discuss what we want to try to do. We try to come to some sort of agreement on the deal we would like to offer, and what kind of consumer overlap we would like to have with it. After that meeting, we begin to initiate the plan, whether it would be to contact an outside vendor to help us with the program or to start designing materials in-house. For example, on recent special event, we decided from the first meeting to contact an outside promotion vendor to get ideas on what kind of big event w might conduct. It is my job to contact vendors whom we have used i: the past. There are many different types. Some specialize in running, sweepstakes events, some in running impact premiums, some sales incentive programs.

I meet with the vendor and present ideas we would like to try to implement during the promotion. Then the vendor would come back to us with a proposal. It might be a special display piece, special advertising copy, or a special TV tag to put on one of the commercials we currently run. After they make their presentation to us, we have another internal meeting and determine if we think it will get us our volume objective, display objective, or any other objectives. If we go with it, we rill either start contracting or do it in-house.

After the materials are finished, there is a meeting with the field sales representatives to communicate the event to them. That involves le sales promotion managers going to certain regions of the country and resenting the whole thing-what our objectives are for the program, that our volume objectives are, how we want the deal to be sold, how we want them to explain the deal to the trade.

The other thing we do after making the presentation is to distribute the materials. We make sure that each representative has all the selling materials needed. We must determine how much we think we are going to sell of the product and allocate that number to each region and ach district.

I follow up the sales promotion with memos to the field to get their response as to how the deal went.

Q - How much time do you spend at work?

A - It's supposedly a nine-to-five job, but we joke that it's more like five-to-nine.

I do a promotion workshop once a month, six months of the fear. These workshops last two days, and one day runs until 8:00 at light. So not only am I busy doing that, I've also missed two days of being in the office, so I end up putting in more than fifty hours. Some weeks I am not here for forty hours, but it goes up and down. Generally it's a minimum of forty hours and usually fifty.
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