What Is Promotional Marketing.
Promotional marketing is the use of any special offer intended to raise a customer’s interest and influence a purchase, and to make a particular product or company stand out among its competitors.
Promotional materials can exist as a part of direct marketing, like mail or email materials that include coupons (Direct Marketing). They can also include contests that encourage participation with a company, or product samples that offer something free to customers to generate their interest in the product. Promotions are also common during live interactions between customers and salespeople, encouraging the purchase of additional products.
Ultimately, the goal of any promotional marketing campaign is to raise awareness about a product or increase its appeal. Promotional marketing has the advantage of being valuable to both new customers and existing customers — it offers new customers a reason to try the product for the first time, while building loyalty in existing customers.
Who Uses Promotional Products.
Any company that can offer its customers some additional benefit on top of their normal purchase can use promotional marketing techniques.
Retail and service providers that operate out of storefronts use promotional marketing strategies to increase the amount of business they receive. Consider a TV commercial for a pizza restaurant that advertises a lunch deal offering a free drink with the purchase of two slices of pizza. The promotion calls attention to the “extra” element of the free drink, which the restaurant owners hope will encourage people to visit their restaurant who otherwise wouldn’t.
Other businesses that want to increase sales of products that are harder to sell individually use what is known as point-of-sale promotions to make other products more appealing to customers who have already purchased something . If, for instance, a cell phone store wanted to make peripheral items like headsets and car chargers more appealing, the store could offer a promotion that gives customers a discount if they purchase those peripherals on the same day when they purchase their phones. Since the store’s customers have already committed to a larger purchase (the phone), they are more likely than other potential customers to be interested in buying phone-related peripherals. The discount forces the phone-buying customers to imagine having to pay full price at a later time for the same product.
Companies that market to other businesses also benefit from promotional marketing. As in the previously mentioned case of Fabriko and its eco-friendly shipping methods, the company made itself stand out among other clothing manufacturers by providing something extra and memorable to its clients. A business-to-business promotion can also be as simple as offering a discount to clients to build brand loyalty, encourage a sale, or give the client the opportunity to pass the savings on to their own customers.
Using Promotional Product Marketing.
Promotional marketing campaigns should always keep a particular purpose in mind. Some promotions exist to bring new customers to a company, while others focus on ensuring repeat business from existing customers. Regardless of who the target is, a company should have a clear goal that it can measure before starting a new promotional campaign.
Companies must first determine their target customers and how best to reach them. Different kinds of customers respond well to different kinds of promotions. Perhaps a company’s average customer is likely to use a coupon, or maybe an in-store promotion would be more effective.
In the example we explored about the pizza restaurant, they decided to begin an in-store promotion for a lunch special. The campaign has two major components: first, the restaurant offers a promotion in the form of a free product (a drink) contingent on the purchase of something else (two slices of pizza). The restaurant chose this promotion because it believes that customers are concerned with getting the most for their money.
A promotion isn’t effective if the public does not know about it, so the restaurant must also include information about the special offer in advertising materials. The ad materials, whether displayed in TV commercials or direct mail items, increase awareness about the deal. At the same time, the promotion makes the ad’s content more interesting, convincing more viewers to engage in the advertisment.
At the end of the promotion, the company should evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign. Did it increase the customer base? If so, by how much? Was the cost of the campaign worth the business it generated? With the data gathered during the promotional campaign, the company can learn more about what its customers want and how to improve the use of promotions in future campaigns.