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Promotions: the Ventura rebate.

As supermarket coupon clippers know, even a modest rebate offer often makes a marginal product hard to resist. But can rebates boost software sales as well? Ventura Software recently tested a large-scale manufacturer's rebate offer for Ventura Publisher (list price $895) and FormBase ($495). By sending in a coupon with proof of purchase, buyers of either product collected a $75 rebate on top of regular dealer discounts. Larry Jordan, Ventura's senior director of product marketing, says the program did produce a "favorable" upturn in sales, but less than weld like." Even though the sales impact was disappointing, Jordan notes that the program provided important secondary benefits, such as data about actual street prices and sales activity on a dealer-by-dealer basis, which his distributors never supplied. And the program had great psychological impact on the market." * Focused advertising is more productive: Xerox placed a total of

29 insertions of its rebate ads in ten different magazines and

newspapers, with an aggregate of 12.2 million exposures. The

most interesting conclusion, says Jordan, was that only 5% of

the ad exposures generated 20% of sales. The most productive

publications turned out to be highly-focused desktop publishing

magazines like ventura Professional and Publish; the least

useful were Business Week and The Wall Street Journal--"a

Marketing 101 assumption that it was important for us to

verify." Says Jordan: We looked for that vast sea of potential

sales you're supposed to reach through general business

publications. we found a few sailors, but that's all." * Rebates benefit less-visible titles the most: Although the

promotion didn't have much impact on Ventura Publisher, sales of

FormBase "more than doubled." Jordan concludes that large

corporate buyers--Ventura Publisher's biggest market--probably

aren't influenced much by price promotions. But the rebate seems

to have persuaded small and medium-sized business owners to try

a new product like FormBase. "FormBase also got a piggyback ride

on Ventura Publisher's reputation," he adds. "I wouldn't expect

a rebate to work with a completely unknown product." * Expect a slow ramp-up: Over the first two months of sales, the

Ventura rebate program generated only 10% of total sales. "I was

panicking," says Jordan. Then, in the last six weeks, rebate

activity went through the roof." * Handle fulfillment in-house: Ventura hired an outside

fulfillment house to process rebates and issue individual

checks. The one significant glitch, Jordan discovered, was

handling rebate requests from many buyers who mailed in their

registration cards before seeing the rebate ad. The fulfillment

house couldn't access our registration database, so we had to

verify each one of these purchases for them." Larry Jordan, senior director, product marketing, Ventura Software, 15175 Innovation Dr., San Diego, Calif. 92128; 619/673-7517.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Soft-letter
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Ventura Software offers $75 rebates on Ventura Publisher and FormBase
Publication:Soft-Letter
Date:Jul 7, 1991
Words:445
Previous Article:The Gates memo.
Next Article:Postscript.
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