Promotional Mix – How it Benefits Business Owners
What is a Promotional mix?
A promotional mix is defined as the combination of different marketing strategies used to communicate the benefits of using a particular product or service and to influence the buying behavior of their target demographic. The marketing strategies that make up the promotional mix are:
- Public relations
- Personal selling
- Sales promotion
Why it’s important for business owners
The product or service your business is selling can be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but that means nothing if no one (especially your target demographic) knows it exists. This is where the promotional mix comes in handy for business owners, it gives them a clear idea of the path they should take in order to garner the exposure necessary to support their business and to grow a consumer base.
When people make the jump into starting their own business or launching their own line of products or services, they often make the mistake of not planning out how they expect to market themselves. Which is a big reason why over 50% of all new businesses fail within their first 4 years.
For example, say a new bakery opens up in town and offers a slew of crafty, tasty products. They’ve received nothing but good reviews on their Yelp page and the business is primed to be successful. The only problem is the owner thought they would grow based on word-of-mouth alone, so they never bothered to invest in building out a proper promotional mix for spreading the word about their brand. Due to this lack of preparation, the bakery was only able to stay afloat for a year and had to close down due to a lack of new revenue.
To ensure your business doesn’t become another statistic like the bakery, read on as I run down the benefits of building out a proper promotional mix as well as detailing how these benefits work to strengthen your business.
Promotional mix elements
Pay very close attention to ensure you understand each element that makes up the promotional mix and why it’s so important to the development of your business.
Advertising includes all the paid promotion of your products or services through all mediums. So all of your marketing collateral (brochures, pamphlets, posters, flyers, etc.) will be included within the advertising portion as well as any paid social media marketing efforts. So if you have a paid Facebook post that appears on people’s feeds, then you would consider that to be apart of advertising.
The advertising aspect of the promotional mix is expansive and is often seen as the most important field due to all of the avenues of marketing it encompasses. While it’s possible for a business to grow without any paid promotions, you’ll find that it’s very difficult and your best bet is to optimize your strategy so you’re making the most of your paid ads.
2. Public Relations
Public Relations includes any information about your products or services that was pushed by a third party. It also includes any free publicity your business may garner as well as paid publicity. An example of paid publicity would be if a new pizzeria opened up and the owner paid a local radio host to talk about how much they loved the restaurant.
The difference between public relations and advertising is that advertising comes straight from the brand itself whereas public relations showcase the brand by having a third-party speak on it, whether it be paid or non-paid. Popular mediums for paid public relations includes radio, press releases, newspapers, magazines, TV, as well as podcasts. Keep in mind that the medium you choose should be based on whichever demographic makes up your target customer. So if you’re trying to reach younger people (Generation Z), you’ll want to avoid radio marketing because younger people don’t really listen to the radio. Whereas, if your target market was made up of older people, then radio marketing would be a great idea because they’re much more likely to use the radio.
3. Personal Selling
Personal selling is the process of trying to convince a sales prospect to make a purchase through the use of a presentation that takes place either in-person or over the phone. This can be seen in how most businesses train their employees to persuade potential customers on why buying their product or service is a good idea for them.
For example, a car salesperson would have to be well-trained in their ability in personal selling because a large part of their job is convincing people to purchase cars available at their dealership. Some examples of strengthening your personal selling include having sales presentations within your store so consumers can see how the product works as well as adopting strict policies regarding training employees so you know everyone on your team is equipped to convert a prospect into a paying customer.
4. Sales Promotion
Last but definitely not least is a sales promotion, which is defined as the communication methods that include both media and non-media marketing methods used to increase or stimulate market demand. Some examples include offering coupons, freebies, discounts, contests, as well as retail point of purchase displays.
So let’s say you’re opening a new gym centered around powerlifting. In order to generate some buzz, you hold a contest to see who can bench press the most weight with the winner getting a free lifetime membership to your gym. The contest attracts a number of people to not only compete in the competition but also to spectate who ends up winning it all. Because of your contest that ends up attracting a large group of people, your gym receives a slew of publicity that ends up with a strong increase in its memberships. This is a great example of a sales promotion because the gym was able to stimulate market demand for their services by offering a contest.
Types of Promotions
Now that you’re better acclimated with the elements that make up the promotional mix, it’s time you understand the different types of promotions out there that can help you get the word out regarding your business.
As seen in the gym example from earlier, contests are a great promotional strategy for getting the word out regarding your business. And the best part is that while you may have to give products or services away to the winner, you’re getting so much in return. People are going to hear about the contest, which will get them curious about your company and your line of products and services. Also, if your contest gets a lot of sign-ups from people wanting to enter the contest then you can use their information to send emails regarding your products as well as any other updates (they entered your contest, which is evidence enough they’re interested in your business).
- Free shipping
This promotion, in particular, will only benefit businesses that have an online shop to accompany their physical shop but most businesses today have an online shop so it’s worth including in this list. Offering free shipping is an effective way to convince people to purchase from your online shop because shipping costs have added up lately and consumers would love the opportunity to skip out on them. In fact, a study of Amazon’s users found that consumers would be willing to spend more on an online purchase without seeing it in person first as long as they were offered free shipping.
- Holiday promotions
The holiday season is when Americans are willing to spend the most money so you should make the most of it by offering promotions that encourage them to buy. Don’t think that just because it’s the holiday season it means that you’re going to be swimming in profits. You still have to work hard to get each one of your consumers, if not, you risk your target consumers going with your competition instead. Keep in mind these promotions don’t have to be anything drastic, a slight discount would be more than enough to entice customers enough to want to take advantage of your holiday sales.
This tried-and-true strategy for increasing sales is considered tried-and-true for a reason. When you offer a coupon to a customer, it gives them a good reason to come back and purchase more items. And the coupons don’t have to be too significant either, a 10% off coupon would be more than enough to get customers coming back.
Just keep in mind that paper coupons aren’t the only way to get the job done, digital coupons are growing in popularity and many shoppers even prefer them over paper coupons. To get the most out of a digital couponing strategy, start by asking customers if they’d like to give their emails so they can receive digital coupons through their email. Once you’ve built a strong list of contacts, you can begin sending them digital coupons that can be used in-store or online. To learn more regarding couponing strategies, click here.
A strategy that’s risen in popularity due to social media is reaching out to influencers to promote your product. As you can see from the graph above, a poll of marketers found that 59% of them were planning on increasing their influencer marketing budgets over the next 12 months. With the younger generation turning away from traditional outlets like radio and tv, brands have taken advantage of the online personas that have thousands if not millions of followers on Instagram and other social platforms. By reaching out to these influencers and paying for a sponsored post, brands have the opportunity to be exposed to a whole new group of potential customers. Some other benefits include:
- Quickly gain the trust of their followers
They’re called influencers for a reason, they influence people’s: fashion choices, eating habits, fitness routine, as well as buying behaviors. So if you sell protein powder and a fitness expert with 7 million followers makes a post detailing how much they love your product, not only will you benefit from having the eyes of their 7 million followers on your brand but you can rest easy knowing they trust the fitness expert enough to research your brand and make a purchase.
- Improve your brand awareness
As you get influencers to post about your product, more and more people will learn about your brand and will grow more comfortable with your company’s mission and what your brand stands for.
- Get right to your target audience
If you’re trying to reach younger people that spend a large amount of time on social media, then influencer marketing is the way to go. For example, Millennials currently make up about 70% of Instagram’s 800 million accounts. So if Millennials and other young people are what you’re after, don’t hesitate to reach out to some influencers.
As you can see, the promotional mix is very broad in regards to what it pertains to and business owners would be wise to familiarize themselves with the strategy in order to make the most of their marketing & promotional efforts. And while the promotional mix may be effective in bringing customers in, your efforts will go to waste if your business is short-handed and you’re not equipped to handle an influx of new customers.
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