|We are starting with the ‘last P’, which is promotion – because it’s generally the thing we get asked about the most. And we are assuming if you’ve launched your business that you have already established your product, your price, and likely your placement (the other 3 lonely p’s… and boy are they lonely without p #4… promotion! He’s the loud one after all hah…).
Promotion includes your entire approach to communicating with your customers regarding your product’s benefits. After establishing a full and complete knowledge of your product and determining its price point, you are able to open up a dialogue with your intended consumers.
Looking at Promotion as a Dialogue
Your goal at this stage of your marketing plan should be to communicate with your customer. You want to provide them with information which will guide them through decisions regarding your product or service. You will want to attract their attention while simultaneously providing them with enough information that they will feel compelled and comfortable committing to a purchase with your company.
In order to maximize the efficacy of this dialogue you will need to have a thorough understanding of your target audience. Knowing your audience will enable you to choose the proper channels of promotion in order to reach them. These channels can include Internet, print, multimedia, etc. Once you have settled upon the appropriate channels, you will use information from the other four P’s to comprehensively communicate the benefits of your product, where your consumers can find it, and how much they can expect to pay. Make sure your product is both attractive and accurately conveyed in order to funnel your consumers through this dialogue to a purchase.
When shaping a promotional campaign, you want to make sure you have a clear set of goals. Depending on your organization and your product, you may have completely different goals than other companies. While these objectives don’t necessarily fall into hard and fast “categories”, here are some examples which can provide a template for your promotional team.
- Creating Your Identity – If you are a newer company on the market, the primary aim of your marketing campaign may be to raise awareness of your brand or to really establish your company’s identity. The primary aim in this sort of promotion is to provide your consumers with ample information regarding both the product and the company itself. While mostly a strategy for newer companies, this can also be useful if your company is in need of rebranding or changing the image of a failing product.
- Creating Demand – If your product has already been on the market for some time, but sales have dipped or stagnated, promotion can be used to drum up demand. In this case, you may find yourself both reaching out to previous customers and targeting new ones. This strategy can also be useful even if your sales haven’t fallen, but you are instead looking to bump your sales up for seasonal reasons. Free samples, sales, or other special deals are all effective components of this tactic.
- Highlighting Product’s Identity – If your product is in a highly saturated market, you may need to invest special time into differentiating your product from its competitors. In this case, you’re going to want to expend most of your resources in highlighting the things which make your product stand out. Take a look at your features, functionalities, and benefits which are not shared by its competitors and really emphasize them. This strategy is also effective if you have determined that your product does not have a strong enough brand identity.
The Promotional Mix
The promotional mix is made up of five separate categories. How many of these tactics you use and how much attention and money you commit to each is up to you. Be sure to look at your other three P’s in order to determine which of these will best fit your overall marketing strategy.
- Advertising – One of the most traditional forms of marketing, advertising includes mass media like TV, newspapers, magazines, and radio. You can also choose to advertise with billboards, posters, web ads, and old-fashioned mail. This promotional technique usually costs a fair bit of money and also includes very little personal messaging.
- Public Relations & Sponsorship – The goal of PR/sponsorship is less direct than advertising. Instead, the idea is to increase your product’s visibility via influential media outlets. You will be looking to get positive exposure in newspapers, talk shows, or social networks and blogs. A common strategy is to allow an influential person to use the product and share their positive experience with their following. You can also sponsor major events in order to get your brand out there.
- Personal Selling – One of the more direct forms of promotion, personal selling involves connecting one of your representatives directly with the consumer. Whether over the phone, in person, or via chat or email, personal selling has the distinct advantage of establishing a real human connection, a tactic which can be particularly viable in certain markets.
- Direct Marketing – This is a strategy which targets influential potential customers via telemarketing, letters, emails, or text messages. The key to this is to create personalized or customized content which speaks to the individual you are targeting.
- Sales Promotions – This is usually a short-term strategy which is used to create a surge in sales, whether to revitalize your brand or to take advantage of a particular season or time of year. Sales promotions include things like sales, contests, samples, or discounts.
Since this is the final P, you should have plenty of information gleaned from the other four P’s. Consider your product’s stage in its lifecycle, its particular benefits, the target audience, and the strategies in use by your competitors. Again, there’s a ton of information to take into account, but shaping an appropriate and effective promotional strategy is vital to your product’s success. Want the info on the other 3 p’s? Reply to this email and we will send you the 4 P’s ebook (don’t worry, its not long!)…