Promotions can’t compensate for high prices

Richard A Meyer
3 min readNov 2, 2023

Promotions are a time-honored strategy businesses use to boost sales, attract new customers, and reward loyalty. However, there’s an ongoing debate about their effectiveness, especially when products are priced higher than competitors. In this blog post, we’ll delve into why promotions might not be the silver bullet for high product prices and explore alternative strategies businesses can use to remain competitive.

Brands are learning that the high prices are leading to a decline in market share as consumers trade down to more value. Kraft, for example, is seeing a significant loss of market share because it raised prices, and consumers refuse to pay more for items they see as interchangeable. Supply issues were cited as the reason prices increased, but those supply issues, for the most part, have retreated. Unfortunately, prices have not decreased because they have become addicted to higher profits.

The Allure of Promotions

Promotions come in various forms, from discounts to buy-one-get-one-free offers. They’re designed to create a sense of urgency and incentivize quick purchases. The logic is simple: offer a temporary deal to get more people through the door or to the checkout cart.

The Catch with High Prices

The problem arises when promotions are used as a band-aid for higher product prices. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, with access to price comparisons at their fingertips. When a product is inherently more expensive, a promotion might bring the price down to the level of competitors. However, this doesn’t address the underlying issue: the product’s base price is higher than consumers are willing to pay or can afford.

Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain

Promotions can certainly boost short-term sales, but they can also devalue a product in the eyes of consumers. If a high-priced item is frequently on sale, customers may begin to question its worth and may be less likely to purchase at total price. This can lead to a vicious cycle of dependency on promotions, which can erode profit margins and brand perception.

What Consumers Want



Richard A Meyer

Marketing and Political thought leader — Writer- Audiophile