What is the relevance of a dozen free pizzas to consumer electronics? A great deal, as it happens.

If you are selling PCs and laptops to students and their parents as they prepare for the new academic year, then you need to come up with a sales promotion strategy that is more creative than traditional discounting.

And as we all know, pizzas can be very attractive to students.

At Opia our research among 250 UK consumers has shown the size of the opportunity for brands in this market. Parents and students indicated just how responsive they will be to more exciting and innovative offers using creative sales promotion tools.

We found for example, that 55 per cent of respondents admitted they would be more likely to buy a PC for a student if they were offered a reward such as a cashback promotion or a gift with purchase. Half of all those responding, (50 per cent) said a high value reward of this kind would make them more likely to increase what they expected to spend.

Of course any effective sales promotion also has to get consumers in the right frame of mind so it was important to find that nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents said that simply claiming a reward in the form of cash or another device would make a PC purchase feel less expensive.

And just in case anyone believes this is a demographic only seeking rock-bottom value, £409 was the average price respondents were ready to pay for a student PC.

Success in capturing sales from students and their parents will depend on being adaptable enough to create a wide variety of enticements and promotion techniques. More than three quarters (77 per cent) of respondents said they have never participated in a laptop or PC promotion, which is a firm indication that current incentives are unexciting and ineffective.

What the market requires are sales promotions that are more creative about how they meet consumer demands. Many parents and students for example, were attracted by accessories such as a tablet or printer as a gift with purchase to accompany their new PC or laptop.

Others wanted to give themselves more options. Almost a third (32 per cent) said a cashback offer would meet their requirements, while 16 per cent said a free pizza once a month for a year was an attractive proposition they would have to consider.

The point here is that profitable and attention-grabbing sales promotion tools need to be more innovative and responsive.

The rewards for brands will be significant. Where gifts are used as rewards, a brand can ensure that its own devices or accessories are part of the deal, in the process generating increased loyalty and brand-exposure.

These are the types of sales promotion techniques that Opia, an experienced specialist in risk-backed sales promotions, can design with great precision to target all the requirements and demands of the back-to-school market.

Each promotion is underwritten in the insurance market and underpinned by a deep, data-driven understanding of consumer behaviour.

For the brand or retailer this means an uplift in sales without the erosion of margins through discounting. By paying a small fixed fee on all qualifying sales, the brand avoids exposing its P&L to an over-subscribed campaign.

It means the retailer or manufacturer has access to bolder and more exciting product promotions that were previously unattainable and will soon establish a more enticing presence and a much bigger share of the back-to-school marketplace.