Promotions in marketing is generally the fourth and final P of the marketing mix. This is because before promotions, the product, price and place (distribution) should be ready. Promotions in marketing generally use integrated marketing communication. Integrated marketing communication is the use of different media vehicles to get the message of the brand from the company to the consumer.
So, if you are a jewelry brand, you will use TV commercials and other ATL media to promote your own products. Whereas if you are a small time brand, you will use print media or Internet and Out of home media to promote your brand. Thus, depending on the segmentation, targeting and positioning you are planning, your promotions can be planned.
Promotion utilizes two main pathways
Above the line Promotions – Promotions which use mass media vehicles like television, newspapers, radio etc.
Below the line Promotions – Promotions which use out of home media, sales promotions, trade promotions, or in general, where one to one interaction receives more importance.
Nowadays, Promotions have taken a unique form because of omnipresent competition. Promotions are mixed with different P’s like pricing (Promotions + Pricing = sales and trade promotions, coupons etc), placement (goods are distributed in the market before promotions start) and product (different products for different channels). All of these different factors are used while promoting a product.
The effect of promotions in marketing is manifold. 7 such uses of promotions are discussed below
1. Awareness –
The first and foremost role of promotions in marketing is to create Awareness. Whenever a new product is launched, or a company introduces a new scheme, awareness needs to be created. Thus, companies use promotions in the marketing mix which are ATL and BTL to promote the product.
2. Brand building –
The idiom “A brand is a promise” is one of the most commonly used ones in the world of marketing. However, a brand comprises both – The product as well as the marketing communications from the company to the customer. Thus brands like Apple and Coca cola are at the top of the brand equity table, because of their promotions and marketing communication efforts throughout the last few decades.
3. Positioning –
When you talk about premium cars, which is the product that comes in mind? Is it BMW, AUDI, FERRARI or any other? All these companies are trying to get the top positioning in your mind and similarly in other customers mind. The type of promotions from a company directly contribute to the positioning of the brand in the mind of the customer.
4. Acceptance –
A customer is more likely to accept a product, if he has heard the brand or the companies name. Thus, along with awareness, promotions also increase the acceptance of the product in the market. But, in some cases, how much ever promotions you do, if the product is not proper, the market will never accept the same. Thus, promotions in marketing has its own limitations.
5. Targeting of customers –
The promotions of a company help the company target their desired customer. For example – pepsi targets youngsters, Adidas targets healthy and sport loving people, so on and so forth. Thus, segmentation targeting and positioning can all be achieved with the right promotions.
6. Brand recall –
There are many objectives of promotions, one of the most common one being brand recall. Many brands over a time become so common in the market, that they might not need brand recall ads. On the other hand, sectors like pharmaceuticals, which have high competition and a line of generic products, regularly need to release promotions which promote the brand recall in the market. Thus, promotions in marketing can help the recall of your brand in the customers market, thereby promoting the sales and the brand equity of the product.
7. Acquire new customers –
The ultimate aim of promotions, or of any activity in marketing for that matter, is to attract new customers, convert them towards the company and gain better profit margins for the company. With ATL and BTL activities working simultaneously, and a proper marketing communication plan in place, it becomes easier for the company to acquire more customers.
Thus, there are many roles which are played by promotions in marketing. It is therefore no surprise, that many people are involved in promotions for the organization. In house marketing managers, executives, branding department, outsourced agencies are all involved in media buying and selling activities. These activities, on a whole, contribute to achieve the right promotions mix for the organization.