Many stores are now implementing a marketing strategy of buy one get one free items. The intent is to attract people who like to stock up on products that they normally use. Buying one and getting the same one free is definitely discounted. That approach only works, however, if you have inventory on hand that you would like to get rid of and you have already made your profit from prior sales of the product. Another catch to the buying incentive is to monitor whether the sales of the product actually increases with the free offer.
As in all attempts to create a successful marketing strategy, the final evaluation of the program can only be gauged in how successful it was to increase sales because of the program, not just in light of the product itself. If you sold 200 beach blankets one week without the free offer and sold 200 beach blankets the second week with the free offer, your program was not actually effective and you could have stored your extra inventory for another season. You might say that your program worked and that the 200 sold beach blankets the second week might have been from repeat customers as well as new ones.
The bottom line is that your program did not attract enough new customers to make up for your loss of 200 free beach blankets. Incentives to buy, to sign up, or to join need to have an angle that appeals to the audience that you are aiming at, but also to possible clients who may not even be aware of your product or services or that they can use them. There is a vast army of people who keep to themselves and who do not venture into untried territory, but who can be lured with the right bait.
If you are out to sell or to attract customers, you might think that staying with those customers that have been a part of your past sales is all that you need to do. But, if the purpose of your new plan is to grow, you need to look at people whose demographics might never have interested you as possible customers. A marketing strategy for success has to be wide in its scope and evaluated for effectiveness. Targeting new customers deliberately and tracking your success in sales or membership will help your business to grow. This, of course, is your ultimate goal.