Promotional Mix: Understanding its Elements and Significance With Examples

Elements of promotional mix
Promotional mix elements include the likes of advertising and the rest, which are essential for promoting products and services. This Buzzle article will help you understand the promotional mix elements and their significance with examples.
Please Note:
Do not get confused between promotional mix and marketing mix. According to experts, the former has been identified to be a component of the latter. Thus, marketing mix is a combination of the 4Ps - product, price, promotion, and place, while promotional mix is a set of tools that support the marketing phase of a company.
Promotional mix includes a set of components that contribute towards achieving a goal. The definition could be encompassed within the word 'promotion' itself, which indicates that something (a person, product, service, etc.) needs to be promoted in order to achieve good marketing results, which would result in an overall advantage to the firm. This term comprises a number of variables, prominent among them being advertising, marketing, public relations, etc. Trying to work these variables together is believed to have optimal profits for the firm.

A company's products are, after all, judged to a great extent on the way they are advertised, rather than the actual functioning of the product. The effectiveness of using these promoting strategies gives a better idea to the marketers and advertisers about where and how they can improve.

List of Important Elements

Promotional mix can be categorized into 5 important tools, as shown in the diagram below. Each of the tools involves resorting to multiple strategies to promote an item.
Elements of Promotional Mix

Advertising

  • It is just what the word says―'advertising'. It means advertising your goods and services through a known medium.
  • In other words, it can be called a paid form of service promotion. We watch innumerable commercials on television everyday, and the effect they have on the general public is unbelievable.
  • This tool uses mediums, like the internet, television, radio, print media, mobile, etc., for promotion.
  • Companies hire film and television celebrities and other important people to endorse their product in commercials, and pay media outlets to promote their product.
  • This strategy allows identified as well as non-identified sponsorship.
  • It includes use of newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, catalogs, brochures, posters, mobile apps, online ads, etc.

Examples
  • Asking a celebrity to endorse a soft drink.
  • Publishing an event in the newspaper.
  • Distributing pamphlets advertising a new product.

Public Relations

  • Public relations is a tool that involves maintaining relations with the public.
  • Also marketed as publicity, it means establishing strong contacts and communication with the right people.
  • It helps a firm target a particular niche or a specific audience.
  • In this case, the firm may or may not be involved directly, the campaigns are conducted by an independent firm or company.
  • Many corporate campaigns fall under this category.
  • It also includes distributing press releases, conducting news conferences, announcing the company's developments on television and other media platforms, etc.
  • In short, it is about bringing in newsworthy information about products, revenues, earnings, employees, and operations to the public.

Examples
  • Conducting a corporate campaign about a mobile application.
  • Holding a press conference to endorse a jewelry brand.
  • Distributing miniature magazines advertising your latest product.

Direct Marketing

Tools that come under direct marketing
  • As the word suggests, it is about marketing your product.
  • It is a form of niche-oriented advertising, rather, just like public relations, the advertising in this case is not targeted towards a mass audience, but a particular group of people.
  • It involves extensive marketing via the internet, television, mobile, print media, etc.
  • Furthermore, it involves the usage of online ads, mobile messaging, websites, social media platforms, outdoor events, special promotions, bulletins, etc.
  • Its forte is direct communication with the customer, by answering customer inquiries and satisfying other queries.

Examples
  • Publishing your product on the internet.
  • Holding outdoor events and speaking about your product.
  • Sending messages via mobile to a mass customer base, about stationery items.

Personal Selling

  • This is the tool by means of which you can market yourself.
  • It is like a one-to-one communication strategy between the buyer and seller.
  • It involves selling yourself through mails and correspondence and important meetings.
  • It is done through direct contact and face-to-face meetings, to promote your goods.
  • You can also market yourself through presentations, seminars, video conferencing, training programs, telemarketing, etc.
  • It is believed to be one of the most expensive forms of marketing, and requires you to have tremendous interpersonal and people skills, persuasion being the keyword.

Examples
  • Demonstrating your product in presentations.
  • Holding private workshops to spread awareness about your product.
  • Talking to and convincing people about your product, by holding seminars.

Sales

  • Sales promotion is a strategy, which can be used for a limited time, with and without the media.
  • This is done in order to encourage sale of a particular product, market a particular product, increase customer trust, and create a positive outlook for the firm.
  • Sales can be done by means of pamphlets, coupons, vouchers, brochures, holding trade shows, sales for a multitude of items, samples, free offers, training programs, contests, rebates, exhibitions, etc.
  • Sales promotions generally ensure that a large part of the general public is aware of the company's current products and services.

Examples
  • Announcing a huge sale in products, like teenage and children's clothing, with discounts.
  • Distributing pamphlets announcing an impending sale of kitchenware for just two days.
  • Offering free samples of exclusive items, and advertising for the same via brochures and vouchers.

Significance
  • The effectiveness of the above strategies cannot be ignored.
  • The impact that variables, like advertising and personal selling have on the common man is tremendous.
  • When you communicate to your customers via these means, you are more aware of what they need and vice versa.
  • Such effective strategies help increase the company's market value, share price, and reputation as a whole.
  • Depending on how appropriately the tools are used, huge sales targets and profits can be generated.
  • These tactics can help catapult a firm to greater heights.
  • They can help you achieve the right results when used properly.
  • They can help you stay abreast of the current market situation and keep the competitive spirit going.

Factors Affecting Promotional Mix

Budget
  • Every phase in a business is required to be satisfied within a pre-decided budget.
  • Promotional activities require excessive funding, and if the target is not achieved within the budget, it can lead to an extensive loss.
  • If a firm has less funds allotted for marketing, the product will obviously not get the push it needs in order to be sell.
  • The compromise is seen in the overall branding and in the competitive market, other companies gain what your firm might have lost out on.
  • At such times, the marketing strategy must be planned very effectively, i.e., if the budget has constraints, low-cost advertising activities can be planned; on the contrary, if the budget is high, personal selling can be used.

Market
  • The current position and nature of the market is a great factor that determines which tool is to be used.
  • It is essential that the company knows the target market and the stiff competition so that it can stay ahead of its competitors.
  • If you want to target your products in favor of the current market scenario, you need to use the correct mix of elements.
  • You need to know how to differentiate between the products as per market requirements so that the right tools combination can be implemented.
  • As per the market position, either direct marketing or public relations can be used.

Product
  • The nature of the product and its life cycle play a dominant role in deciding which element is to be used.
  • For a particular customer, the product could be a necessity, while for someone else, it could be a luxury.
  • If a customer requires electronic goods, heavy promotions are required, whereas for household items, less promotion will do.
  • Similarly, for low-priced products, sales promotion could work wonders, while for high-priced products, personal selling is the key.
  • Also, the different stages of a product's life cycle determine the use of promotional elements.
  • For instance, a newly launched product may require free samples and sales to begin with, the growth stage will see it using direct marketing, and the established stage will see it using personal selling.

Strategy
  • The push and pull strategies are important considerations.
  • The push strategy is one in which the people who make the products available to customers help in increasing the sales.
  • It is a kind of personal selling combined with advertising, wherein the company advertises products to the wholesalers, who in turn advertise it to the retail chain, who sell it to customers.
  • In the pull strategy, awareness and loyalty building are of prime importance.
  • This strategy requires direct marketing with a combination of public relations.

Resource and Distribution
  • Resource availability is another important constraint.
  • Sometimes, even if you use the right tool, it may not be appropriate in certain circumstances.
  • For instance, advertising through minor-league events may not help even if the strategy is right.
  • Another factor is the distribution of products.
  • Depending on the type and category of product, intensive and extensive distribution of goods are used.
  • Accordingly, advertising methods will vary.

Buyer
  • He is the most important factors affecting sales.
  • A buyer can be of different types, and the sale of goods depends on his/her views about the same.
  • If he is not aware of the product, simple advertising techniques will work; however, if he is a picky customer, he will believe more in personal selling.

Media
  • Usage of print and digital media is widespread in all the strategies.
  • The type, cost, and availability of these platforms should be considered as well.
  • If your goal is to launch a new product, use low-cost advertising, like demos in malls and other places; if you intend to target a particular audience, use telemarketing and radio, as a combination of public relations and direct marketing.

Advantages
  • These elements are excellent for building a positive corporate image.
  • They build up awareness about a firm's products and help establish loyalty and trust.
  • They reach a wider audience, and hence, are highly effective.
  • The exposure for personal selling and direct marketing are very high.
  • Some strategies are highly interactive and excellent for communicating detailed information to the public.
  • If the right sources are used, with a little persuasion, public relations could be the cheapest element of all the five, since it reaches many people through a credible independent source.
  • Using the sales tactic can help to quickly increase profits on particular items.
  • The tools also helps build long-term business relationships and important contacts.

Disadvantages
  • Some of the promotional events and activities may involve heavy spending.
  • Some advertising strategies do not completely satisfy the customer queries.
  • Impersonal communication activities leave consumers confused.
  • Over-promotion and cheap tactics may destroy the corporate image.
  • Some strategies do not reach a large audience, and hence, their effectiveness is reduced.
  • The cost is very high wherever personal marketing is necessary.

Comparison
  • You would be wondering why all the elements described in the paragraphs above practically match each other in terms of strategies and methods.
  • The fact is, there is a thin line of difference between every element. The reason why they all seem similar to one another is due to the use of digital media platforms and other forms of promotional activities.
  • For instance, press releases and public appearances come completely under public relations, while using a celebrity to endorse a product via television comes under advertising.
  • Similarly, while speaking at public events qualify as personal selling, mobile messaging and online bulletins fall under marketing.
  • Thus, even though there is a pattern of similarity among the tools, the way they are used and executed differentiate them from one another.
Understanding the significance of promotional mix elements is very important to be able to start a new venture or run an existing business. Marketing is a very vital phase in entrepreneurship, and its tools are powerful enough to provide the fame your company needs. Customer trust and satisfaction is very important; if you lose that, you have nothing, which is why you need to use these strategies effectively in order to gain public confidence. Once the reputation of a company is well-established through events and word-of-mouth, its products will continue to flourish even if a little risk and experimentation in their working mechanism is undertaken. If you intend to start your own venture, do keep the above points in mind. Good luck!
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