Imagine you’ve created a miracle product—say, a device that automatically locates missing socks and pairs them with their mates. You set the price for your target audience and design a beautiful online store. When everything is ready, you push your site live, sit back, and wait. The hypothetical business has done much of the legwork required for success. The only problem is that it’s stopped short of promoting its products.
Here’s how you can use what’s known as a promotion mix to raise brand awareness, boost sales, and meet your specific business and marketing objectives.
What is a promotion mix?
A promotion mix is a set of sales and marketing activities a business uses to reach its target audiences and achieve marketing goals. Typically, a promotion mix aims to reach new customers, generate interest in a company’s products or services, and drive sales.
For example, a company might launch a social media marketing campaign and a digital advertising campaign and invest in blog content as part of its content marketing strategy. It would also develop a public relations strategy to get the word out about its game-changing products, employing PR tactics like creating and distributing press releases and networking with journalists and influencers.
How does promotion fit into the marketing mix?
A promotion mix is a subset of a business’s larger marketing strategy or marketing mix. The full marketing mixmodel comprises four parts (or four Ps): product, price, place, and promotion. Here’s an overview:
Product refers to a business’s product or service—or how you meet a specific consumer need.
Price is what you charge for your product or service. Pricing strategy involves setting a price that’s high enough to earn a profit on each sale but low enough to remain competitive.
Place refers to where and how you sell and distribute products—for example, through social media channels, a brick-and-mortar location, or an online store. You might study customers’ shopping behavior in your target market to better understand their habits and select distribution channels that align with their preferences.
The fourth P, promotion, refers to your promotion mix, which includes sales or marketing efforts to reach potential customers. It frequently includes print and digital marketing campaigns, public relations efforts, and sales outreach activities.
Components of a promotion mix
A promotion mix has five key components: advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, personal selling, and public relations. Here’s an overview of the main promotion mix elements:
Advertising can include print and digital advertisements, such as banner ads, search engine results ads, video ads, and social media ads. It can also involve influencer marketing strategies, like sponsored content or affiliate marketing.
Sales promotions are short-term incentives designed to motivate a purchase. Discounts, buy one, get ones, rebates, free samples with purchase, and contests are all short-term sales promotion techniques.
Direct marketing involves direct communication with target customers on a channel controlled by your business. You might distribute promotional messages through your email marketing list, social media platforms, direct mail, or by phone.
Personal selling means having a sales representative reach out directly to prospective customers to promote products, either by phone, email, or social media messages, or in person at trade showsor other industry events.
Making direct contact with potential customers can be expensive, so this strategy is more popular for companies with a higher average value per sale, such as some B2B businesses.
Public relations activities like publishing press releases and building relationships with media entities can help you generate earned media coverage, which can increase brand awareness, improve your brand image, and build trust with yourtarget audiences.
Benefits of a promotion mix
All of the elements of a marketing mix are critical—but promotion is what gets the word out about your products or services. Here are some of the benefits of a promotion mix:
Increased brand awareness
Brand awareness is the degree to which consumers can recall a brand and associate certain qualities or information with it. Strong brand awareness is critical to customer acquisition, conversion, and retention.
After all, it doesn’t matter how valuable your product is if your target audience doesn’t know about it—or how convincing your marketing messages are if your customers can’t tell the difference between your company and your competitor’s.
All of the elements of a promotion mix are about putting your brand messaging where your target customers are likely to see it—such as in their email inboxes, social feeds, or local newspapers. This makes it a powerful tool for increasing awareness of an existing brand or creating awareness of a new brand or product.
Many of the elements of a promotion mix are meant to increase sales, and brands can use targeted advertising strategies to boost sales of a particular product, with a specific audience segment, or across the board. For example, if you’re struggling to convert younger consumers, you might run a series of social media ads targeted to this demographic.
Comprehensive promotional strategy
A promotion mix covers a range of sales and marketing efforts, including advertising, marketing, sales, public relations, and discount strategies. This model encourages business owners to start with a high-level understanding of the different activities that can help promote their products or services. Then, they can evaluate options and distribute their promotional budgets across initiatives according to their specific needs and goals.
This approach can prevent you from focusing too narrowly on one promotional activity, such as only on marketing or PR. A promotional mix can also help you find efficiencies and encourage cross-departmental collaboration by highlighting the common goals shared by your marketing, sales, and PR teams.
How to use a promotion mix
- Develop your marketing mix
- Identify your promotional budget and set goals
- Select tactics
- Develop creative and implement your campaign
- Track performance
The ideal promotion mix depends on your goals, budget, and target audience. Here’s how to develop and implement apromotional mix strategy:
1. Develop your marketing mix
A promotion mix builds on the foundational elements of a marketing mix—before you can start promoting a product or service, you need to know what you’re selling, how and where to sell it, and what to charge. Market research—the process of gathering information about your competitors and target audiences—can help you make informed decisions about product positioning, pricing, and sales channels.
2. Identify your promotional budget and set goals
Evaluate your total marketing budget, determine how much money you can devote to your promotional efforts, and set specific goals that support larger business and marketing objectives. These parameters can help you select the right promotional methods for your mix and allocate your budget across tactics.
3. Select tactics
If your goal is to raise brand awareness, you might focus on public relations and advertising. If your goal is to increase sales with a particular audience, you might choose more targeted strategies like direct marketing, personal selling, and sales promotion. Many companies engage in multiple marketing techniques at once as part of their promotional strategy.
For each tactic, identify key performance indicators (KPIs), the metrics you monitor to determine whether or not your campaign is successful. Examples include clicks through to your website, conversions, earned media mentions, or social media engagement.
4. Develop creative and implement your campaign
Develop collateral and implement your promotional campaign. Your process and deliverables will vary depending on the tactics you’ve selected. If you’re focusing on PR, for example, you might start by drafting press releases or planning a community gathering, while if you’re focusing on personal selling, your first step will involve sales prospecting.
Regardless of your chosen tactics, you can use your market research and marketing mix parameters to inform your decisions. For example, you sell a countertop espresso maker and your value propositions revolve around efficiency and style. You might build out a collection of ads that showcase the sleek look of your product and highlight its speed, minimal power usage, and space-saving design.
5. Track performance
Once your campaign is active, monitor KPIs for each tactic and use the data to tweak your strategy. For example, if your social media engagement rate is low, you might vary your content or try platform targeting.
You can also track KPIs for larger business goals to test the impact of your promotional activities. If your main business goal is to increase sales, but consistently high engagement rates on your promotional activities aren’t translating to higher sales figures, for example, you may need to select a different KPI for your promotional mix or adjust promotional campaign content to motivate sales.
Promotion mix FAQ
Is a promotion mix the same as a marketing mix?
No. Your promotion mix is part of your marketing mix. A full marketing mix involves product messaging, pricing strategy, sales channel selection, and promotional activities.
What is the most effective form of promotion?
An effective promotion mix is tailored to your target audience, product type, and specific goals. For example, direct selling can effectively increase sales, and public relations activities can increase broad brand awareness.
What is an example of a promotion mix?
A brand’s promotion mix might involve creating and distributing press releases, running social media advertisements, email marketing, and offering a discount for first-time customers.