What is Promotion?
Promotion is an art, process, and strategy to communicate a business firm’s products, services, or any brands to the target market to persuade the target market to make sales or make well informed about the brand.
Generally, the promotion can be understood in two ways, in terms of professional work (career), promotion is when a worker (jobholder) is ranked to a higher position, e.g. a deputy branch manager is promoted to branch manager. In terms of marketing, promotion refers to the activity where a seller communicates his/her offering (products or services) to potential customers to make them well informed about his offerings by expecting some real purchases.
Here, we will further discuss being consistent with marketing. Promotion is one of the most important elements of the organization’s marketing mix which aims to inform, persuade, and remind the market of the organization or its products. It communicates essential messages to the potential buyers about the product’s benefits, price, quality, and so forth.
Promotion is the communication mechanism of marketing. In other words, it is any form of communication used to inform, persuade, or remind people about the business firm’s or individual’s goods, images, ideas, community involvement, impact on society, etc.
Only the production of goods does not make sales and profit, once the goods have been produced, people must be communicated about the products, and persuade them for acceptance. People generally do not accept products unless they are convinced about the use, benefits, and features of the product offered.
Promotion is an attempt to influence people positively. Promotional efforts should work in harmony with the product, price, and distribution actions that target the customers. As organizations try to implement their promotional activities they seek to educate customers, increase consumer demand, and differentiate their products and services in the marketplace.
The primary objectives of marketing mix’s promotion are listed and explained as follows:
- Build awareness
- Create interest
- Provide information
Build Awareness. One of the primary and major objectives of promotion is to build awareness about the products and services of the firm in the mind of customers. Since the new companies and products are often unknown to the market.
In such a situation, business firms use the promotion to reach customers and tell the customers who they are and what they have to offer.
Create Interest. Only being aware of the firm’s offerings often does not lead to purchase. In this reference, another most essential goal of the promotion is to create interest. It aims to move a customer from an awareness point to a purchase point.
Provide Information. While promoting the essential information of the products need to be communicated. A good promotional activity communicates information about the products to the different customers they seek to know.
Generally, the product’s information includes price, place, producer, seller, benefit, uses, ingredients, and features, etc.
Persuade. Only making being informed about the products the customers might not influence towards the products. To influence them, the seller or producer must kindly persuade or appeal to them to use his products.
The seller must be able to assure customers of their satisfaction. Especially in today’s competitive environment, no customers are influenced towards the products unless they are persuaded to do so.
Remind. Once the products are communicated, they may not serve the market for always. Because of the various competitive products available in the market the consumers may forget about the previous products.
So, the marketer or seller needs to communicate his products to the customers to remind them that the product is still available and ready to serve as they desire. Reminding the products main goal is to sustain the product’s preference in the market and attracting new customers is the secondary promotional goal.
Entertain. Because of the high competition and more complex world, most of the potential customers may not be influenced by plain communication and persuasion. They seek some sort of entertainment value too.
Today, almost all marketers use this promotional objective by adopting the principle of aesthetics i.e. presenting products or information beautifully by using music, dance, songs, arts, drama, attractive figures, and so on.
Reinforce. One of the major objectives of promotion is to build a strong relationship with customers. Once a purchase is made, the promotion aims to change that purchase into loyalty.
Reinforcement may include motivating customers through product dissociation, heavy advertising, publicity, developing a new atmosphere, adding more offers, etc. Repeated reinforcement may make the customer brand loyalty and build an image for the organization. However, sometimes this effort may create anxiety to the customers.
Promotion Mix Components
A promotion mix is also called a promotional blend, is a combination of communication tools used by a marketer to communicate with his audiences. There are basically five major components of the promotion mix that a marketer can employ to promote his products and services.
- Personal selling
- Sales promotion
- Public relation
- Direct selling
Advertising. Advertising is the presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor. Advertising is any paid form of nonpersonal communication usually delivered through mass media or tools by an identified sponsor.
It involves a variety of media including radio, newspapers, television, social media, websites, posters, and leaflets, etc.
Personal Selling. Personal selling refers to a process of persuading prospects to purchase goods or services through the use of oral communication. Personal selling can be face-to-face or via telemarketing. It requires the management of human resources to a greater extent than in any other form of promotion.
Sales Promotion. Sales promotion refers to the short-term use of incentives or other promotional activities that are intended to stimulate consumer purchasing or dealer effectiveness for a specific period of time.
Sales promotion activities are short-run incentives to encourage the trial or purchase of a product. Its activities may involve product demonstration, contents, lotteries, gifts, fairs, trade shows, exhibits, coupons, entertainment, games, and other non-routine selling efforts.
Public Relation. Public relation means maintaining relations with the public. Through better public relations, companies create goodwill. The public may be customers, shareholders, suppliers, intermediaries, etc.
It assumes that customers, as well as society, will prefer to seek products and services from organizations that have good relations with the public. Organizations accepting this philosophy tend to gain a good image in society and acceptance by the public.
Direct Marketing. Direct marketing refers to an interactive marketing system that uses one or more advertising media to affect a measurable response. Direct marketing is a channel-agnostic form of advertising used by marketing firms to communicate straight to the customers.
Factors Affecting Promotion Mix
Factors affecting promotional efforts of the firm – Creation of proper promotion mix is crucial to the success of marketing purpose of the business firm.
In this regard, the design and selection of the promotion mix are critical. Every component of the promotion mix has a significant role in successful promotion.
Each of them is used for different purposes in different situations. The selection of promotion mix types is affected by the following major various factors, they are.
- Nature of the market
- Nature of the product
- Stage of the product life cycle
- Availability of funds
Nature of the Markt
The promotion mix is determined on the basis of the nature of the market. The nature of the market comprises of three variables:
i. Geographic Coverage: Personal selling or face-to-face selling may be effective or adequate in a small local market. But for a mass or dispersed market, mass communication i.e., advertising becomes necessary. Personal selling can’t cover a significant area because it becomes quite expensive and time-consuming in reaching the consumers.
ii. Type of Customer: Middlemen and final consumers both purchase the product. But they require different promotions to attract. A promotional program aimed at retailers requires some personal selling than a program designed to attract final consumers.
iii. Market Concentration: Market concentration refers to the total number of prospective buyers in a particular area. If the market is highly concentrated, it requires mass-communication such as advertising and publicity. If the market is not that concentrated personal selling is efficient.
Nature of Product
Different product attributes affect the determination of an appropriate promotion mix:
i. Unit Value: Promotion of expensive products usually requires personal selling, as they are relatively complex and involve high risk. For less expensive products, advertising or mass communication is effective and appropriate.
ii. Degree of Customization: Products that require a high degree of customization to the individual consumer’s needs, such require a high degree of personal selling. On the contrary, standardized products can be effectively communicated by advertising.
iii. Pre-sale and Post-sale Service: Products, which require pre-sale and post-sale services, generally need to be promoted through personal selling because, for those products, frequent servicing is needed to keep them in good working condition.
Stage of the Product Life Cycle
The selection of promotion mix is also affected by the life cycle that a product holds at a given period. When a new product is introduced in the market, the potential customers must be informed about its uses and benefits. At some time middlemen must be conceived to carry them.
Thus, in the introductory stage, both advertising (to customers) and personal selling (to middlemen) should be used. Side-by-side publicity also plays a vital role, especially to create awareness in consumers’ buying process.
In the succeeding stages, persuasive advertising becomes important as the product becomes successful and competition intensifies in the market. While in the decline stage, all forms of promotions equally become important.
Availability of Funds
The selection of a particular promotion mix component also depends upon the capacity of the markter to spend money on promotional activities. The promotion of goods and services is often an expensive marketing activity.
The effectiveness of a promotional strategy largely depends upon how much a marketer spends on it. Promotional strategies of those marketers, who usually hesitate to spend on it, become less effective. But once adequate funds are spent on the promotion, it may build up a good product and company image for an extended product.