Promotion is one of the four Ps of the marketing mix; with others being Price, Place and Product. It is the only tool where the merits of a product and service can be communicated to the customers through advertisements, direct selling or sales promotion, etc. For example, ford spends more than $2 billion each year on advertising to tell the consumers about their products. The dealership salespeople assist the potential buyers and help persuade them that Ford is just the right car for them. Ford and its dealers offer special promotions such as sales, cash rebates or low financing rates, as added purchase incentives.
Alternative Forms of Promotion
Promotion of a product or a service can be done through different techniques like advertising, word of mouth, sponsorship, improving public relations, selling personally, direct marketing and other similar above and below the line tools. It must be remembered that communication is not just only about these promotion tools but much more. The product’s size, design, color, price, the retail outlet where it is sold also communicate something to the customer about whether to purchase the product or not. (Kotler, 1997)
Advertising is the paid form of the non-personal presentation done through electronic and print media channels for a product, service or idea. Advertising includes different kinds of specific tools like commercials, print ads, broadcasts or billboards, etc.
Sales promotion is done usually for short-term incentives so that the customer can be encouraged for purchasing the product. There are also some specific tools for sales promotion and they are displays of the products, discounts and coupons related to the product or service, demonstrations of the product, etc.
Public relations means that the company tries very hard to build a good relationship with the public so that the company can gain good and favorable publicity, the company builds a good corporate image and the management tries its best to handle unfavorable rumors and stories of the company. There are also some specific tools for public relations and they are press releases.
Personal selling is actually the presentation of the company’s sales force only for the purpose of making a sale and building good relations with the company’s customers. It is basically one-on-one selling and the convincing of all promotion tools. There are also some specific tools for personal selling and they are exhibitions and fairs, presentations or even incentive programs are used for the selling of a product. (Promotion, 2008)
Direct marketing means that the company creates a direct connection with its targeted market so that the company is able to obtain an immediate response to their promotion and that they can cultivate the relationships of their customers. Direct marketing is usually done through telephone, mail, email or fax, etc. (Promotional Mix, 2004)
Decision for Using Which Form of Promotion
The uses of the promotion mix are not complete until or unless all of the tools within the promotion mix are not used. Successful companies all over the world use a hybrid of these tools to great effect. For example, if marketing managers only use one form of promotions like advertising, they will not be able to sell a great deal of the company’s products or services. By using just one form of promotion, a company’s product can be promoted up to a certain extent i.e. advertising will help people become aware of the product but not buy it. If however other tools were used then the customers will be able to close the deal. For example, after creating brand awareness through advertising, sales promotion will encourage the customers to purchase the product, then with the help of public relations the company will be able to gain good publicity and will have a long and lasting relationship with their customers, then with the help of personal selling i.e. the sale of the product will be achieved and finally direct marketing will help with creating a strong connection with the targeted individuals of the market.
Kotler, P (1997). Marketing Management: analysis, planning, implementation and control. Prentice Hall.
Promotional Mix (2004). Web.