Promotion is one of the key elements of the marketing mix. It deals with any one or two-way communication that takes place with the consumers. I will discuss about promotional marketing in detail and how developing a promotional strategy for your business focuses on advertising and other ‘pull’ tactics.
Developing a promotional strategy
Deciding on a marketing communications strategy is one of the primary roles of a marketing manager and it involves some key decisions about: (1) who the customers are, (2) how to contact them, and (3) what the primary message should be. These questions can be answered using a three stage process, which is equally relevant for all elements of the marketing mix (STPM):
Segmentation: Helps divide the marketing into distinct groups
Targeting: Decide which of these groups to communicate with, and how to talk to them
Positioning: How the product or brand should be perceived by the target groups
Messaging: Delivering a specific message in order to influence the target groups
Dividing potential customers into discrete groups is vital if you want to increase the success rate of any communications message. Segmentation helps you answer:
- Who are the potential customers?
- How many sub-groups should you divide them into?
- How do these groups differ?
Once you have an idea of the customer, you need to focus on specific details on the target consumer. Examples of question you would need to answer are:
- What are their media consumption habits?
- What are their expectations and aspirations?
- What are their priorities?
- How much disposable income do they have?
- What are their buying habits?
- Are they likely to have children?
- How many holidays do they take a year?
- How much money do they give to charity?
- How can you help them?
This information can be obtained in a variety of ways, from commissioning a specialist market research agency, to examining sales patterns or social media interactions.
Commonly used market research methods include:
- Sales analysis and buying patterns
- Desk research
- Website statistics, especially social media
- Focus groups
- Face-to-face interviews
- Specialist market research companies
Targeting is the process of communicating with the right segment(s) and ensuring the best possible response rate.
- Does the methods you use to target your audience relate to your marketing plan objectives?
- Does your marketing communication generates awareness of a new product, or attract new business clients?
Above two are few critical questions to ask in using the different marketing communication methods and knowing how to effective utilize marketing communication can determine the success of your promotional marketing strategy.
Methods of marketing communications
There are several ways to increase the company’s exposure across various channels:
Advertising – a mass media approach to promotion
- Business directories
- Magazines / newspapers
- TV / cinema
- Newsagent windows
Sales promotion – price / money related communications
- Loyalty incentives
Public relations – using the press to your advantage
- Press launches
- PR events
- Press releases
Personal selling – one to one communication with a potential buyer
- Experiential marketing
- Dealer or showroom sales activities
- Trade shows
Direct marketing – taking the message directly to the consumer
- Mail order catalogues
- Bulk mail
- Personalised letters
- Point of sale displays
- Packaging design
Digital marketing – new channels are emerging constantly
- Company websites
- Social media applications such as Facebook or Twitter
- Mobile phone promotions using technology such as bluetooth
Positioning is the process of developing an image for your company or product in comparison with the competing brands. Combining all elements of the marketing mix to provide the full picture is very important. Your company’s positing should be in-sync with all areas of your business for generating successful and great customers’ expectations in the way you hope. Positioning also considers the competition – it would need to answer “Why your products/services are unique in the marketplace and better than your competition?”.
Branding and messaging
Branding is a powerful tool for positioning your product and often used on almost all customer facing elements of a product- including the packaging design, logo, writing style, symbol, jingles and more. Every message a customer receive must add up to form a mental picture of your brand and can influence the price they are willing to pay for your products. This ability to charge more due to the unique position of your product is “brand equity“. Your branding also needs to consider your unique selling points (USPs) and ensure these are easily recognised through your messaging – is your product the best value, longest lasting, sweetest smelling or fastest?