As an MBA student, you might know that the basic definition of promotion in marketing mix. That’s the first thing taught in 1st term Marketing Management.
Although in my case, it wasn’t taught, the professor just assumed that we know about the 4Ps and all its elements. Good that I read about it before the class.
“Which is the most important element of the marketing mix?” The professor asked
“All” I guessed, and I was right.
But I just wondered, isn’t promotion like another synonym for Marketing. Let us find out a bit more about Promotion in Marketing Mix that might help you to decide how important it is.
What is Promotion in Marketing Mix
Promotion in 4Ps of marketing mix implies the process of acquainting the target consumers about the brand and convincing them to buy the product or service. The purchasing behaviour of consumers is heavily impacted by Promotion, and it is one of the most powerful Ps of the marketing mix.
Importance of Promotion in Marketing Mix
Promotion helps a company in the following ways:
When a consumer wants to purchase something, their mind is the first place where they search for information, and effective promotion and advertising of the product or service is the key to pop up first in the minds of the consumer.
For example, I say Coke, and the first thing that pops up in your mind is, of course, Coca Cola, and with a series of pop-ups you have a complete image of the brand in front of you, its colour, its taste, the shape of the bottle and Ranbir Kapoor saying “Family se rent nai lena chahiye uncle” and also for some us remembering Aamir Khan saying “Thanda matlab Coca Cola.”
This is because Coca Cola as a company has created such powerful and unique promotion campaigns with various publicity actions and advertisements that as consumers, the brand becomes unforgettable for us.
Promotion in marketing mix helps in generating brand image and a correctly planned promotion campaign with creative advertising makes you stand out and make an impact on the minds of consumers.
To Increase/Create Demand in the Market
The importance of promotion in marketing mix is such that it builds awareness about your brand and the product in the market by targeting the right set of consumers. Thus, leading to the creation of demand in the market and finally, an increase in sales for your company.
Remember these guys in the image below?
The Vodafone ZooZoos ad campaign was such a hit during the IPL season 2 that it brought about 305,900 followers to Vodafone on Facebook.
Also, the Happydent White Palace ad received various awards for the best ad and was said to be among 20 best ads in the century. It brought about an increase in the market share of more than 25% to the brand.
To Inform Differentiation
You might also use promotion to communicate the differentiating factor within your brand or product that makes you stand out of the competition. This ensures a unique image of the brand in the minds of the consumers or else they might get confused between two brands, and that can cost you your sales.
To Strengthen the Brand Image
Sometimes with changing consumer behaviour, lifestyle or beliefs, it becomes necessary to change the brand image for better positioning.
For example, in the case of “Fair and lovely” being changed into “Glow and lovely” because as per the belief of the new generation, fairness is no longer a superior factor.
Let’s look at the Promotion element of the marketing mix.
What are the Elements of Promotion in Marketing Mix
Your brand might target a diverse set of consumers and consumers belonging to different age group, having different interests, speaking different language, earning different levels of income etc., consume information via various sources of media. Thus, to reach all of them, different elements of promotion are defined. These elements are together referred to as Promotion Mix.
The promotion mix elements are as follows:
Advertising is the way of promotion through various types of media such as broadcast media, display media, print media, network media and electronic media.
Broadcast media such as television requires a large budget, whereas print media such a newspaper will require comparatively less.
Advertising majorly helps to reach a large number of consumers that are geographically separated.
Sales promotion aims to get quick attention of the buyers. A great example of sales promotion is giving heavy discounts and coupons to the consumers. The idea of sales promotion is to provide some concession and offers that also gives value to the buyer.
Organizing public relation activities with government, investors, media, influencers, communities can help enhance the brand image. It gives high credibility to the brand.
An example is shown in the image, where Johnnie Walker brand has collaborated with the Game of Thrones community for promotion.
Direct and Database Marketing
It allows you to engage with specific consumers via mail, telephone etc. directly. As a company, it helps you generate data about the consumers and thus make promotion more relevant.
Sponsoring events such as sports, entertainment, arts etc. can help in better interacting with the consumers. Not necessarily, but brand-specific sponsorships might work better. For example as given in the image, Red bull sponsoring a car racing competition.
Online and Social Media Marketing
This is a great way to reach target consumers that use the internet and social media intensely. These are very interactive and can have engagements from consumers in various forms such as likes, shares, subscribes etc.
Promotions that can be seen directly on a person’s mobile phone is called mobile marketing. Mobile is a huge part of a person’s life, and with marketing done on a device that consumers carry wherever they go can result in success.
This is a great way to interact with consumers and persuade them to buy. It is a way of face to face selling with providing additional services to the consumers. Personal selling builds a good relationship with the consumers, which further helps in gaining their loyalty.
The annual spend on promotion activities by companies is set to increase with a percentage of 17% by 2023.
The graph below tells the promotion spend of some of the top companies in the world:
How to Develop a Promotion Strategy with Example
Here is an example of the promotion strategy of Cadbury for launching a new flavour of Dairy Milk chocolate called as “Hint O’ Mint”. Seems delicious right?
Want to know how to create a promotion strategy such as above? Let us explore and understand every element from the above example of Cadbury Promotion Strategy with a step-by-step guide given below:
Step 1: Identifying the Target Consumer
For different target consumers there can be different promotion strategy even if the product or the service offered by your company is the same. Thus, this is the initial step of every promotion strategy and should be taken seriously.
Target consumers can be defined depending upon a number of factors such as gender, age, religion, interests, language, income, type of product, profession, lifestyle etc.
In the case of Cadbury Dairy Milk, their target consumers are defined based on two factors i.e., age and interest. As you can see the age parameter is targeting diverse set of consumers but with interest it becomes more specific.
An example of how Cadbury targeted consumers based on language is given in the image below:
Step 2: Setting the Promotion Objectives
With a correctly defined objective, the rest of the strategy will follow accordingly. An objective consists of goals that you want to achieve and actions through which you want to achieve them. A basic template for writing objective in your promotion strategy is:
“To [goal 1] and [goal 2] through [action 1] and [action 2] “
As in the case of Dairy Milk, to increase the number of customers is their goal and to advertise and promote a new product is their action.
Step 3: Designing the Promotion Campaign
Here you decide the message that you want to convey to your target consumers and the type of content through which you want to convey it.
Here is where the company’s creative team comes into action. Creativity helps in ensuring uniqueness in your campaign that makes you stand out and make an impact on the minds of the consumers.
Some examples of the most creative billboard ads are given below:
The content in a promotion campaign can be of various types depending upon the channel and the target consumer.
In the case of Dairy Milk, a TV and newspaper ad is basically to cater to consumers that belong to age group of 40+ or if we specify in terms of interest, then probably people who like to watch TV and read newspaper whereas print ads and social media ads are for the younger generation.
Step 4: Deciding the Promotion Mix
Here you define the elements of promotion mix. Not all promotion elements can be used while designing a promotion strategy. It depends upon the suitability for the target consumers and the image of the brand.
In the example of promotion strategy, Dairy Milk has only those elements in place that go in sync with their brand image. Please refer to the “Elements of Promotion Mix” described above in the article.
Step 5: Defining the Promotion Budget
This heavily depends upon the type of target consumer, for example if it an existing user or a new potential user. You might allocate a heavy percentage of your budget while targeting a potential customer while a little percentage on an existing user.
There are various methods to define the promotion budget. However, the one that I highly recommend is the 70/20/10 marketing budget rule.
The rule segments your marketing budget into three parts which are defined below (try to map this rule to what Cadbury has done in the example):
70% - 70% of your overall marketing budget goes into promotion activities that are low risk, less time-consuming and have proven successful in the past.
20% - The next 20% goes into promotional activities that are new and innovative and target a specific audience.
10% - The remaining 10% of your budget is given into activities that have high risk and haven’t been tested yet on the target consumers.
Step 6: Measuring the Results
This is what ultimately decides the success of your promotion strategy. It also helps you to decide which campaign should be scrapped and which should be continued. Following factors should be looked into while determining how successful was your promotion plan:
- Frequency of product purchase
- Brand Perceptions
- Increase in loyal consumers
Cadbury had the main goal of increasing their consumer base so to check if their promotion strategy was successful a metric that gives the percentage increase in number of consumers is specified in their strategy.
Forming a Promotion strategy can be challenging in the given scenario where consumer behaviour is said to be changing abruptly. However, the basics of the 4Ps of marketing will remain the same and it necessary that you are always thorough with the concepts. As of promotion, I recommend you to keep the following points in your mind all the time:
- Promotion helps in branding, creating demand, communicating differentiation, awareness
- Objectives give a direction to all the other aspects of your promotion strategy
- Creativity is the key to stand out and make impact on the minds of consumers
- Depending upon the target consumers, promotion mix elements may change