Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Marketing - Promotion (introduction / overview)
It is no longer enough for a business to have great products. Lots of businesses have those too. Customers need to know about a great product and be persuaded to buy. That is the role of promotion.
Promotion is all about communication. Why because promotion is the way in a business makes its products known to the customers, both current and potential.
The main aim of promotion is to ensure that customers are aware of the existence and positioning of products. Promotion is also used to persuade customers that the product is better than competing products and to remind customers about why they may want to buy.
It is a common mistake to believe that promotion by business is all about advertising. It isn’t. There are a variety of approaches that a business can take to get their message across to customers, although advertising is certainly an important one.
It is important to understand that a business will use more than one method of promotion. The variety of promotional methods used is referred to as the promotional mix.
Which promotional methods are used depends on several factors:
Stage in the life cycle
E.g. advertising is important at the launch stage
Nature of the product
How much information is required by customers before they buy
What are rivals doing?
How much can the firm afford?
Other elements of the mix (price, product, place etc)
Appropriate ways to reach the target market
The main methods of promotion are:
Public relations & sponsorship
Main aims of promotion
Promotional activities have a variety of aims:
To inform current and potential customers about the existence of products
To explain the potential benefits of using the product
To persuade customers to buy the product
To help differentiate a product from the competition
To develop and sustain a brand
To reassure customers that they have made the right choice
Promotional methods – “above and below the line”
The way in which promotion is targeted is traditionally split into two types:
Above the line promotion – paid for communication in the independent media e.g. advertising on TV or in the newspapers. Though it can be targeted, it could be seen by anyone outside the target audience. Advertising is the main methods of above-the-line promotion.
Below the line promotion – promotional activities where the business has direct control e.g. direct mailing and money off coupons. It is aimed directly at the target audience.
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