Promotional tactics for the "four walls"

Promotional tactics for the "Four Walls"

"Four walls" marketing is the battle cry of Tom Feltenstein, Founder and Chairman of the West Palm Beach, Florida-based Neighbor-hood Marketing Institute.

At Mr. Feltenstein's recent Marketing War College he offered some powerful weapons to build sales and here are a few ideas you can take and modify to fit your operation.
Incremental Punch Card
Most punch cards require a series of purchases. Once you made the required number, you get the next one free, which often times does nothing to increase loyalty and customer frequency. This version provides your customers instant gratification with every visit. When your customer first visits they get the card. On their second visit they would save perhaps 10 percent, on the third visit 15 percent, on the fourth visit 20 percent and so on up to 40 percent.

Mystery Night
Choose a traditionally slower night of the week, like Monday or Tuesday. Narrow down the time frame to, let's say, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. For those two hours, all purchases are free. Think about the impact this can make. (For an example of how this promotion can work, go to and read the "Customer Appreciation Night" article by Big Dave Ostrander that appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of PMQ.) The first time you do this, you'll find that the word of mouth exposure will be unreal. The key to this promotion's success is that it is totally random. It's unadvertised. Nobody knows when it's going to happen, but when it does everyone talks about it. Suddenly your slowest nights become some of your strongest nights.

Passport Promos
This promotion works great if you have a number of locations. The customer is given a promotional "passport." Each time the customer patronizes one of your locations, the passport is stamped. When the customer has purchased something in each of your locations, the passport can be redeemed for a prize. The more locations you require, the greater the prize. One super example of this is Chart House Restaurant with 61 locations throughout the world. If you ate at all 61 locations, you would win a trip around the world.

Jeweler Tie-In — Contact the manager of a jewelry store and explain that you would like to send him 500 of your customers. That should get his or her attention. Then further explain that you want him or her to give you a couple of real diamonds and 500 fakes. Your customers then get a free diamond with any purchase. The catch is your customer, in order to find out if the diamond is real, has to go to the jewelry store to have it evaluated.

Preferred Patron Bounce Back
This promotion is designed to reward an existing customer to come back for another visit. Create "funny money" certificates in denominations of ones, fives, and tens. Your customer receives these certificates in an amount equivalent to 10 percent of their entire purchase, which they can use on their next visit. So, if a customer spends $160 with you, they would receive $16 off their next visit.

Scratch off mailer
This one works particularly well if you have multiple locations. Make a flyer containing mystery gift certificates, but the offer is hidden. The customer brings the flyer into one of your locations where an employee then scratches it to reveal what the customer has won.

BizSmart Action Plan:

  • Use a punch card that offers an increased savings with each visit.
  • At random and without notice, offer everyone's purchase at the moment, free.
  • Use "funny money" to create repeat business.
  • Mail out scratch off flyers where the customer finds out the offer when they visit you.