Perhaps the most versatile of the five marketing Ps is promotion. It covers all phases of communication between the seller and the potential customer. It is versatile because a change in budget, media or target audience can be made quickly. Promotions also can be effectively changed for specific market segment efforts. Major promotional concerns include the following.
Because promotional costs can originate from several sources, it is vital to establish a written budget and closely monitor actual costs. The budgeting procedure is simplified if separate budgets are prepared for advertising and promotional activities. Sales goals in dollars, units or both are usually the basis for promotional budgets.
Selling when the consumer wants to buy is a fundamental factor in the marketing concept. Promotional efforts, whether in-store or through mass media advertising, should be timed to coincide with maximum seasonal or cyclical demand.
Distribution of Promotional Efforts
Advertising – The major portion of a firm’s promotional budget is advertising. Some advertising media, such as the Yellow Pages, where a specific amount is charged each month, can be budgeted as fixed advertising expenditures. The mass media-newspapers, radio, TV, direct mail and magazines-should be individually budgeted to achieve sales goals, improve your image and expand your customer base.
Promotion – Many firms classify promotion as a separate budget category. In this case, promotional efforts include in-store displays, sampling, specialty advertising, giveaways and other nontraditional media efforts.
Publicity – This is the no-cost element, meaning there is no charge by the newspaper or other medium for carrying a news release or feature. There will be an internal cost, however, for the preparation of publicity releases and photography. Many businesses miss publicity opportunities because they do not have a written marketing plan. Every promotion or addition of personnel is an opportunity for free publicity, but only if the news release is prepared and sent to the media. Business expansion, remodeling, automation or changes in product name all deserve a publicity program.
All advertising and other promotional activities should be in tune with the firm’s stated position in the marketplace. This suggests that not only advertising themes but also media selection must be based on building and strengthening that position.