In marketing, promotion refers to any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue. The aim of promotion is to increase awareness, create interest, generate sales or create brand loyalty. It is one of the basic elements of the market mix, which includes the four Ps, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion.
Promotion is also one of the elements in the promotional mix or promotional plan. These are personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing publicity and may also include event marketing, exhibitions and trade shows. A promotional plan specifies how much attention to pay to each of the elements in the promotional mix, and what proportion of the budget should be allocated to each element.
The Promotion Mix refers to the blend of several promotional tools used by the business to create, maintain and increase the demand for goods and services.
The fourth element of the 4 P’s of Marketing Mix is the promotion; that focuses on creating the awareness and persuading the customers to initiate the purchase. The several tools that facilitate the promotion objective of a firm are collectively known as the Promotion Mix.
The Promotion Mix is the integration of Advertising, Personal Selling, Sales Promotion, Public Relations and Direct Marketing. The marketers need to view the following questions in order to have a balanced blend of these promotional tools.
- What is the most effective way to inform the customers?
- Which marketing methods to be used?
- To whom the promotion efforts be directed?
- What is the marketing budget? How is it to be allocated to the promotional tools?
Tools (Elements) of Promotion Mix
The advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of goods and services by the identified sponsor in the exchange of a fee. Through advertising, the marketer tries to build a pull strategy; wherein the customer is instigated to try the product at least once. The complete information along with the attractive graphics of the product or service can be shown to the customers that grab their attention and influences the purchase decision.
- Personal Selling
This is one of the traditional forms of promotional tool wherein the salesman interacts with the customer directly by visiting them. It is a face to face interaction between the company representative and the customer with the objective to influence the customer to purchase the product or services.
- Sales Promotion
The sales promotion is the short term incentives given to the customers to have an increased sale for a given period. Generally, the sales promotion schemes are floated in the market at the time of festivals or the end of the season. Discounts, Coupons, Payback offers, Freebies, etc. are some of the sales promotion schemes. With the sales promotion, the company focuses on the increased short-term profits, by attracting both the existing and the new customers.
- Public Relations
The marketers try to build a favourable image in the market by creating relations with the general public. The companies carry out several public relations campaigns with the objective to have a support of all the people associated with it either directly or indirectly. The public comprises of the customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, shareholders, government and the society as a whole. The publicity is one of the form of public relations that the company may use with the intention to bring newsworthy information to the public.
E.g. Large Corporates such as Dabur, L&T, Tata Consultancy, Bharti Enterprises, Services, Unitech and PSU’s such as Indian Oil, GAIL, and NTPC have joined hands with Government to clean up their surroundings, build toilets and support the swachh Bharat Mission.
- Direct Marketing
With the intent of technology, companies reach customers directly without any intermediaries or any paid medium. The e-mails, text messages, Fax, are some of the tools of direct marketing. The companies can send emails and messages to the customers if they need to be informed about the new offerings or the sales promotion schemes.
E.g. The Shopper stop send SMS to its members informing about the season end sales and extra benefits to the golden card holders.
Thus, the companies can use any tool of the promotion mix depending on the nature of a product as well as the overall objective of the firm.