This is probably the most complex of the 4 (or 6) Ps.
Promotion includes all those activities that involve communicating the benefits and features of your brand/product.
Through it, you let potential customers and consumers know what you are selling. In order to convince them to buy your brand, you need to explain how it solves their problem/what it is, how to use it, and why they should buy your brand.
An effective promotional effort contains a clear message that is targeted to a certain audience and is done through appropriate channels.
The audience of your promotional activities include, but are not restricted to:
- Customers where consumers can buy your brand
The key objectives of promotional activities are:
- Building awareness
- Creating interest
- Providing information
- Stimulating demand
- Differentiating the brand/product
- Reinforcing your brand
You may choose multiple channels to reach your target audience and achieve these objectives. There are 5 elements to the promotional mix and are as below:
This mode of promotion is usually paid, with little or no personal message. Mass media such as television, radio or newspapers and magazines is most often the carrier of these messages. Apart from these, billboards, posters, web pages, brochures and direct mail also fall in the same category. While this method has traditionally been one sided, advertising on new channels such as the internet may allow for quick feedback from your target audience.
In order to pick the optimal advertising channel:
- Define objectives – What are you seeking to achieve and your end goals of the campaign?
- Decide on the budget – How much are you willing to spend on the campaign?
- Adoption of the message – What message are you trying to convey?
- Review past campaigns for effectiveness – If your company has done other campaigns in the past, go through post campaign evaluation notes for how effective they were.
PR and Sponsorship
Public relations (PR) is usually focused on building a favourable image of your business. PR or publicity tries to increase positive mention of the product or brand in influential media outlets.
You can do this by doing something good for the neighborhood and the community like holding an open house or being involved in community activities.You can engage the local media and hold press conferences as part of your promotional strategy.
Through these press conferences, you can engage with newspapers, magazines, talk shows and new media such as social networks and blogs. This could also mean allowing super users, or influencers to test the product and speak positively about it to their peers.
This may or may not be paid. For example, sponsoring a major event and increasing brand visibility is a paid action. Sending free samples to a blogger then depends on their discretion and opinion and is not usually swayed by payment.
Previously this has been the least used channel by brands, especially the large ones; but is becoming increasingly important in the current world we live in.
Events & Experiences
Through events, you can make your product known to both your customer and your consumer. These include industry events targeting trade (supermarkets, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants etc) or consumer facing ones. This even includes tasting experiences you may decide to hold and is commonly seen in the beer, wine and spirits industry.
Direct selling connects company representatives with the consumer. These interactions can be in person, over the phone and over email or chat. This personal contact aims to create a personal relationship between the client and the brand or product. Some personal sales strategies are incentive programs, sales representations, samples, sales meetings, and trade shows.
These days this is common in sales of high value consumer goods like consumer electronics (think Apple store), art galleries, high end wines and whisky etc.
Direct marketing allows you to promote the product or service to an individual consumer.
This strategy allows greater adaptability of the product and the messaging to the needs or interests of the consumer.
The main direct marketing channels are:
These are usually short term strategic activities which aim to encourage a surge in sales. These could be ‘buy one get one free’ options, seasonal discounts, contests, free samples or even special coupons with expiration dates.
Promotions can vary by target demographic and need to be carefully evaluated for each store, consumers in the location and time of the year.
Key considerations when designing the promotional mix for your brand
Whenever a brand/company sets out to design its promotional mix, the brand team needs to consider the following points:
- Stage in the brand/product Lifecycle – Eg. At the launch stage there may be a need for more aggressive and informational advertising.
- Nature of the brand/product – If a brand/product is not new in its usage or function, there may be less need for information and more focus on brand equity creation.
- Budget – This is fairly self explanatory. For those with large marketing budgets, TV ads and large billboard campaigns may form part of the mix and those on a shoestring budget may rely on other elements of the mix to create awareness.
- Cultural Sensitivity – If a product is to be launched in a new international market or even a new region in a country, it is critical to take into consideration local sensitivities. These include both cultural and religious considerations.
- Target Market Composition – The people who make up the target market need to be considered before committing to a promotional mix. What media do they consume the most? How and where do they shop?
- Competitor Actions – The methods your closest competitor uses influences your mix as well.
If you’d like to learn more about how to derive the right mix for your brand, the different channels for promotion or how markets or regions can influence mix, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org