Marketing Essentials – Promotion

December 8, 2009 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Does the idea that promotion belongs among essential marketing ideas seem absurdly obvious? My answer to that is both Yes, and No.

Yes, in the sense that the words marketing and promotion seem to say nearly the same thing. Also in the sense that marketing without promotion really isn’t marketing.

No, in the sense that Promotion (with a capital P) is more than simply making the world aware of your product or service. You see, Promotion is one of the Four Ps of marketing, or the Marketing Mix as it’s also known.

Promotion is a communication strategy, above all. Communication between you and potential buyers of your product or service. Communication targeted to your market niche, and delivered in language your niche understands and appreciates.

When I promoted my newsletter company, I used a newsletter, of course. I mailed printed copies (this was back in the early to mid 1990s) to senior managers who would be responsible for newsletters. Not employees who would write, design, or distribute a newsletter, but managers and executives who would have messages they wanted to disseminate among their employees, customers, or other important people.

The content of my marketing newsletter to them was rarely overt selling. Instead, I communicated ideas about corporate communication. Articles explained how to make their points more effectively, how to ensure their messages got through to the people that mattered, and so on. I was communicating to them that I was competent to help them develop and deliver their messages.

Looking again at the bigger picture, it doesn’t matter whether you pay to communicate (that’s advertising) or don’t pay (using techniques such as word-of-mouth and public relations), promotion means you are communicating with your target audience.

What should you communicate, and to whom? You’ll find those answers in the other Ps of the Four Ps. First, there’s the Product (or service). What is it about this product that provides a benefit to your target audience. And do remember to focus on the benefits of using the product, not the product itself or its features.

Second, the Price. Is your product affordable because of a low price, exclusive because of a high price, or something in between? Any of these combinations can be successful; you just have to communicate the pricing message in the right way.

And, the third of Ps, Place or Placement. This refers to the location or channel through which you will make your sales. Again, this may be an important factor in communicating with your target audience. At least one of the Ps should drive or influence your promotional strategy.

Summing up, promotion means communication, and that communication will be most effective if you know what audience you want to target, and what message you will send to that audience.

Robert F. Abbott is an online writer and publisher specializing in consumer information sites, including a Cuisinart Mixer QuickList, and business communication, including articles that help you increase your communication skills and knowledge.

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