The first thing that we often hear from clients who are looking to promote their business is that they’re looking for a marketing firm to help them with advertising. Before discussing advertising options, we explain that there are actually a variety of promotional mix approaches that they should use to most effectively communicate their message to customers and drive sales.
In its purest form, promotion is really all about communication. That’s because promotion is the way a business makes its products and services known to current and potential customers.
The purpose of promotion is to:
- ensure that customers are aware of a product or service,
- communicate a product’s or service’s positioning,
- persuade customers that the business’ products or services are better and more desirable than competitors’ and
- remind customers about why they should want purchase the business’ products or utilize their services.
Promotion is not just about increasing sales. In fact, promotion should be used to:
- Attract new customers
- Change attitudes
- Create awareness
- Encourage customer loyalty
- Encourage trial of each entertainment element
- Encourage brand migration
- Establish an image
- Increase sales
- Remind potential customers
- Reassure new customers
- Position products and services
To have the best chance of success, businesses should use more than one method of promotion. This is referred to as the Promotional Mix.
Which promotional methods are used depends on several factors:
- The business’ stage in the life cycle. Advertising, for example, is extremely important when a business is at its launch phase.
- Nature of the product or service. Methods of promotion must take into consideration how much information the customer needs in order to make a purchase decision.
- Target market. A business must define its target market first, before determining the most effective methods of promoting to this market.
- Marketing Strategy. Promotional methods must also weigh the price, product and place of the product or service.
- Marketing Budget. Before making a decision about promotional methods, businesses must carefully consider the most effective means that fit within their marketing budget.
- Competition. A business must consider what competitors are doing for their promotion to stay in front of the right market.
Determining the Promotional Mix
When deciding how to properly utilize the marketing mix to meet a business’ objectives, it is important to consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of each component of the mix.
To determine a business’ promotional mix, we start by defining the business’ total budget which we generally outline in the Marketing Plan which we write. Next, we determine the best way to leverage the different elements of the mix to maximize the business’ return on investment (ROI). In order to be successful, we try to balance the various parts of the mix to not only create an integrated approach to the promotional mix but also devote enough resources for each component.
Some examples of methods of promotion include:
- Business directories
- Outdoor signs
- Mobile phones
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Bulk mail
- Packaging design
- Point of sale displays
- Trade shows
- PR events
- Press releases
- Loyalty incentives
Just remember that advertising is just one element of the marketing communication tool box, but a successful promotional mix should include a variety of forms.