What Is Promotional Marketing?
Many people believe that promotional marketing is no different from traditional advertising, but, as with most things, the truth is a little more nuanced. Whilst advertising is always a one-way interaction between a business and its potential customers, promotional activities extend will often be much more targeted and will sometimes include an incentive if the customer chooses to make a purchase.
The Differences Between Advertising & Promotional Marketing
Traditional advertising in newspapers and on television has always been extremely expensive, making it unsuitable for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have the marketing budget to cover such expenses. On the other hand, promotional marketing such as handing out discount coupons in a mall near to where the store being promoted is located would cost the business nothing yet be much more likely to increase sales.
It can often be difficult to discern what effect an advertising campaign has had on a company’s bottom-line, as such campaigns will often go on for several weeks or even months and in man different areas. Advertising is a very effective tool for brand-building and keeping your product in the forefront of a person’s mind, but it is usually considered less likely to attract new customers.
Identifying Promotions & Advertising
Promotion is generally divided into “above the line” activities such as traditional advertising, and “below the line” activities which are often intended to be much more subtle. A sponsorship, endorsement, or product placement would all be considered promotional marketing activities that work to spread awareness about a brand without consumers necessarily being aware that promotion is taking place.
The online gambling company Unibet offers the best sportsbook promos including risk-free bets for new players, which is seen as extremely likely to encourage new signups to the website and give new customers the feeling that they are getting an excellent deal at the same time.
A “refer a friend” promotion was also included which rewards existing players with $50 in returning for recommending the sportsbook to a friend, colleague, or family member. This is an excellent method of promotional marketing as it can lead to a continued chain of new business as the person being referred may go on to refer other people themselves.
Advertising is usually much easier to identify, especially as many countries have specific laws in place banning “hidden” advertising such as newspaper adverts designed to look like regular articles. Television advertising is always clearly separated from regularly programming, and online advertising is often intrusive to the point of people blocking it outright!
The Goals of Promotional Marketing
Promotional marketing can have many goals, but by far the most common goal is to promote new products or services. Informing your potential customers about the advantages of your product, demonstrating the unique aspects of the service, and building brand awareness are also common goals although they are often considered secondary to the core idea of increasing the sales and profits of a new product or service.
Building a brand can take several years via traditional methods – you need to make your name recognizable to the average person, which could take thousands of newspaper adverts and television commercials, and ensure that your customers think of your brand rather than any existing market leaders when considering the product categories, you are engaged in.
Promotional marketing encourages you to define your target audience, rather than spending money advertising to the entire population. You can set a budget of any amount you wish – huge marketing budgets are not required for a small promotional campaign – and gauge the effect your campaign is happening by constantly monitoring the returns being generated by the product around the times that your promotional marketing is happening.
Example Promotional Marketing Campaigns
There are countless potential ideas for promotional marketing campaigns, so here are just a handful of suggestions that have been used by big brands in the past:
• Handing out free samples, discount coupons, or a limited product giveaway such as a competition are all excellent ways to drum up interest in a new product or service. Free samples are most suitable for lower value products, while a discount coupon might make more sense for larger ticket items. A limited product giveaway is ideal for very expensive items.
• Content marketing is the process of creating great looking materials such as eBooks or flyers and posting them in places where your ideal customer is most likely to see them. You may target a football stadium if you are selling soccer merchandise, for example. Flyers are extremely cheap to produce whilst there is no per-item cost to distribute electronic materials.
• Use social media to your advantage by creating a two-way dialogue between you and your customer base. You must be sure to put your best person on this job – interacting with customers directly is proven to be extremely successful as a promotional tool, but you must choose a person who is naturally confident and sociable to build loyalty and friendship with your target market.