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Integrating the Promotions Mix

Do the Promotional Mix Exercise

Another one of the 4ps is 'promotion'. This includes all of the tools available to the marketer for 'marketing communication'. As with Neil H.Borden's marketing mix, marketing communications has its own 'promotions mix.' Think of it like a cake mix, the basic ingredients are always the same. However if you vary the amounts of one of the ingredients, the final outcome is different. It is the same with promotions. You can 'integrate' different aspects of the promotions mix to deliver a unique campaign. The elements of the promotions mix are:

  • Personal Selling
  • Sales Promotion
  • Public Relations
  • Direct Mail
  • Trade Fairs and Exhibitions
  • Advertising
  • Sponsorship


The elements of the promotions mix are integrated to form a coherent campaign. As with all forms of communication. The message from the marketer follows the 'communications process' as illustrated above. For example, a radio advert is made for a car manufacturer. The car manufacturer (sender) pays for a specific advert with contains a message specific to a target audience (encoding). It is transmitted during a set of commercials from a radio station (Message / media). The message is decoded by a car radio (decoding) and the target consumer interprets the message (receiver). He or she might visit a dealership or seek further information from a web site (Response). The consumer might buy a car or express an interest or dislike (feedback). This information will inform future elements of an integrated promotional campaign. Perhaps a direct mail campaign would push the consumer to the point of purchase. Noise represent the thousand of marketing communications that a consumer is exposed to everyday, all competing for attention.


The Promotions Mix

Let us look at the individual components of the promotions mix in more detail. Remember all of the elements are 'integrated' to form a specific communications campaign.

1. Personal Selling

Personal Selling is an effective way to manage personal customer relationships. The sales person acts on behalf of the organization. They tend to be well trained in the approaches and techniques of personal selling. However sales people are very expensive and should only be used where there is a genuine return on investment. For example salesmen are often used to sell cars or home improvements where the margin is high.

2. Sales Promotion

Sales promotion tend to be thought of as being all promotions apart from advertising, personal selling, and public relations. For example the BOGOF promotion, or Buy One Get One Free. Others include couponing, money-off promotions, competitions, free accessories (such as free blades with a new razor), introductory offers (such as buy digital TV and get free installation), and so on. Each sales promotion should be carefully costed and compared with the next best alternative.

3. Public Relations (PR)

Public Relations is defined as 'the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics' (Institute of Public Relations). It is relatively cheap, but certainly not cheap. Successful strategies tend to be long-term and plan for all eventualities. All airlines exploit PR; just watch what happens when there is a disaster.The pre-planned PR machine clicks in very quickly with a very effective rehearsed plan.

4. Direct Mail

Direct mail is very highly focussed upon targeting consumers based upon a database. As with all marketing, the potential consumer is 'defined' based upon a series of attributes and similarities. Creative agencies work with marketers to design a highly focussed communication in the form of a mailing. The mail is sent out to the potential consumers and responses are carefully monitored. For example, if you are marketing medical text books, you would use a database of doctors' surgeries as the basis of your mail shot.

5. Trade Fairs and Exhibitions

Such approaches are very good for making new contacts and renewing old ones. Companies will seldom sell much at such events. The purpose is to increase awareness and to encourage trial. They offer the opportunity for companies to meet with both the trade and the consumer. Expo has recently finish in Germany with the next one planned for Japan in 2005, despite a recent decline in interest in such events.

6. Advertising

Advertising is a 'paid for' communication. It is used to develop attitudes, create awareness, and transmit information in order to gain a response from the target market. There are many advertising 'media' such as newspapers (local, national, free, trade), magazines and journals, television (local, national, terrestrial, satellite) cinema, outdoor advertising (such as posters, bus sides).

7. Sponsorship

Sponsorship is where an organization pays to be associated with a particular event, cause or image. Companies will sponsor sports events such as the Olympics or Formula One. The attributes of the event are then associated with the sponsoring organization.

The elements of the promotional mix are then integrated to form a unique, but coherent campaign.

Do the Promotional Mix Exercise

 
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