Seven Promotional Marketing Ideas Gleaned From a Box of Detergent

As an owner of a service-based business, finding different ways to position your offerings doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, it could just as simple as taking a stroll through your local grocery store. You can get great promotional ideas by looking at products on the shelf in the store, flipping through magazines and reviewing ads and paying close attention to commercials airing on television.

When brainstorming campaign ideas, look to strategies that are being employed by consumable product manufacturers. Whether it’s laundry detergent or a bottle of salad dressing, we are exposed to special offers throughout the day.

Here are several ways you can market your services like a consumable product:

Bonus features

When a movie goes onto DVD or Blue-ray to sell for in-home viewing, many times the release will contain deleted screens, optional endings and interviews with performers. What bonus can you offer to entice a client to make a purchase? A free, 30-minute consultation, a bonus question and answer session, a free report or analysis?


Co-branding occurs when you join together two or more products into one promotion. Think about how the Keurig single-cup brewing system. It is co-branded with a litany of iced and hot beverage manufacturers, including Green Mountain Coffee, Celestial Seasonings Tea and Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa.

Let’s say you own a CPA firm and you want to create a special offer for tax season to attract more clients. You could partner with a bookkeeping service and strike an arrangement to offer bookkeeping and tax preparation for one price. You can have co-branded materials created and cross-promote the special to both of your ideal client lists.


Americans love their coupons. In fact, there’s a television series that demonstrates how extreme couponers can buy massive amounts of products and take advantage of manufacturer coupons and in-store promotions to walk out the door paying next to nothing for their haul.

Couponing can work for just as easily for your service-based business. You can create a coupon for a percent or dollar discount on specific services or a buy-one, get-one half-off or free offer.

New and improved

You see the use of “new” or “improved” on products when they’ve been reformulated to perform better or provide more value than before. Have you revised or upgraded one of your services? If so, make bold note of it on your packaging.


Rebates are ways to reward customers for making a specific purchase. For example, I recently attended an event that offered an incentive on the registration fee. I paid $1,495 upfront to attend. After I attended the event, I received a $500 rebate check in the mail for attending the actual event.

Redesigned packaging

How many times has your favorite laundry detergent had its packaging refreshed? It could be a different bottle or a change in the artwork on the actual bottle.

Simply redesigning your marketing materials is way you can redesign your own packaging.


Sampling is a way to get your product into the hands of consumers by to offering a free trial or sample. Think of ways you can let your ideal clients take your services for a test drive. This could as simple as providing a complementary consultation.

© 2012 Stephanie M. Faiella,