Promotion keeps the product in the minds of the customer and helps stimulate demand for the product. Promotion involves ongoing advertising and publicity (mention in the press). The ongoing activities of advertising, sales and public relations are often considered aspects of promotions.
Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you’re continuing to meet the needs of your customers and getting value in return. Marketing is usually focused on one product or service. Thus, a marketing plan for one product might be very different than that for another product. Marketing activities include “inbound marketing,” such as market research to find out, for example, what groups of potential customers exist, what their needs are, which of those needs you can meet, how you should meet them, etc. Inbound marketing also includes analyzing the competition, positioning your new product or service (finding your market niche), and pricing your products and services. “Outbound marketing” includes promoting a product through continued advertising, promotions, public relations and sales.
Advertising is bringing a product (or service) to the attention of potential and current customers. Advertising is focused on one particular product or service. Thus, an advertising plan for one product might be very different than that for another product. Advertising is typically done with signs, brochures, commercials, direct mailings or e-mail messages, personal contact, etc.
Targets of Marketing Promotions
• Members of the Organization’s Target Market – This category would include current customers, previous customers and potential customers, and as noted, may receive the most promotional attention.
• Influencers of the Organization’s Target Market – There exists a large group of people and organizations that can affect how a company’s target market is exposed to and perceives a company’s products. These influencing groups have their own communication mechanisms that reach the target market and the marketer may be able utilize these influencers to its benefit. Influencers include the news media (e.g., offer company stories), special interest groups, opinion leaders (e.g., doctors directing patients), and industry trade associations.
• Participants in the Distribution Process – The distribution channel provides services to help gain access to final customers and are also target markets since they must recognize a product’s benefits and agree to handle the product in the same way as final customers who must agree to purchase products. Aiming promotions at distribution partners (e.g., retailers, wholesalers, distributors) and other channel members is extremely important and, in some industries, represents a higher portion of a marketer’s promotional budget than promotional spending directed at the final customer.
• Other Companies – The most likely scenario in which a company will communicate with another company occurs when the marketer is probing to see if the company would have an interest in a joint venture, such as a co-marketing arrangement where two firms share marketing costs. Reaching out to other companies, including companies who may be competitors for other products, could help create interest in discussing such a relationship.
• Other Organizational Stakeholders – Marketers may also be involved with communication activities directed at other stakeholders. This group consists of those who provide services, support or, in other ways, impact the company. For example, an industry group that sets industry standards can affect company products through the issuance of recommended compliance standards for product development or other marketing activities. Communicating with this group is important to insure the marketer’s views of any changes in standards are known.
Objectives of Marketing Promotions
The type of customer the marketer is attempting to attract and which stage of the purchase process a customer is in will affect the objectives of a particular marketing communication effort. And since a marketer often has multiple simultaneous promotional campaigns, the objective of each could be different
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