Review your product promotion strategy to check whether it needs a facelift | Daily News
From crisis to sustenance – Part 36

Review your product promotion strategy to check whether it needs a facelift

Imagine you are an organization trying to expand. You have carefully planned how your business will enter the new market, have developed the right product or service and believe you can offer it for a price that will be profitable. However, until you actual get to the real action and start selling your product, you need to take care of one important part of your business without which your business would not actually function, namely, your customers.

In the process of creating the marketing plan, managers usually use the 4p’s model (which can also be found as the 5p’s model). The 4P’s model includes price, place, product and promotion (later on the model developed in order to also include people). So, you have set the price, you have the product and the place where you want to sell it, but what about promotion?

How an organization chooses to promote their products and services can have a direct and substantial impact on sales. There is much thought and consideration that needs to go into how dollars spent on advertising and promotions will convert into revenue for the company.

Therefore, once you have reached this step in your business plan you have to start building your promotional mix. The basic purpose of the promotional mix is first of all to create brand awareness but the most essential is to produce organizational goals and profits.

Mix

A promotional mix is defined as being successful if you manage to deliver a clear,compelling message based on the fact that you chose the most appropriate promotion method.The modern promotional mix generally involves five components: (1) Personal selling, (2) Advertising, (3) Direct marketing, (4) Sales promotions, (5) Public relations

While establishing your own promotional mix, you need to consider and decide upon several factors:

(1) Determine which is your target market – in terms of which customers’ needs you are going to fulfil through your products while understanding the attitudes and behaviours of your targeted customers;

(2) Determine your objective – more precisely, what are you expecting to get one your promotion mix is implemented.

(3) Design your message in terms of content and format.

(4) Select your promotional channels.

(5) Determine your budget.

(6) Sometime after implanting the program (one week or one month) measure the results of the program and make the adjustments if needed.

In order to succeed with your promotional mix, it would be a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing. This does not imply that you copy them as it will not help you at all since each company has its own identity. Monitoring their ads, promotions and special events might provide you with a guide of how to promote yourself and differentiate yourself through the promotional mix.

Objectives of promotion

Today, many consumers do not buy things just for their functional qualities. Even making sure the product is conveniently available, appropriately priced and of good quality is no longer enough. Marketers need to add psychological value to their products. Discerning and affluent customers need this “value” to manifest their inner needs. This is where the concept of product promotion comes into play.

The objectives of product promotion are not only to increase sales and attract customers but also to improve product recognition and enhance brand identity. Product promotion benefits businesses by generating consumer demand, and benefits consumers by providing needed information about product availability and uses.

You should be thinking about how to promote your product a long time before you start producing (or marketing) it. Your visits to retailers and distributors and interviews with them will give you an opportunity to find out what sort of promotion your potential competitors are doing and what sort of promotion you could organize with your network.

Types

Product promotion covers a range of activities. Few examples of techniques that are used around the world include the following:

Advertising: This can be on radio or television, in newspapers or magazines, on posters and billboards, or by using leaflets handed out in the street or delivered to homes.

Point-of-Sale displays: These are special displays of a product or range of products inside a shop.

Free samples: This technique is particularly useful for new products and have to be done in conjunction with a good point-of-sale display.

Word-of-Mouth: You organize parties and gatherings at convenient locations, in order to educate the participants of your products. If people like them they will buy, in turn, tell their friends about them.

Coupons: You can include coupons on product packaging. These can be used by consumers to get a reduced price on their next purchase. Coupons can also be included on leaflets.

Tokens: Another technique is to include a small token on each packet or container. When people collect a specified number of tokens they can return them to the manufacturer to receive a gift.

Special prices: Reducing prices can be used as a short-term promotional technique. Price reductions have to be used together with other promotional techniques, such as advertising, and in-store displays.

These are just few examples of promotion to consumers. The breadth of product promotion activities is limited only by creativity. To mount an effective product promotion campaign, however, you must be aware of customer psychology and buying patterns as well as the nature and extent of your competition.

Push strategies

A Push promotional strategy is designed to market the product to resellers, such as wholesalers and retailers, to convince them to buy and provide shelf space to advertise it. Perhaps the best way of doing this is to convince them that your promotion activities for consumers will result in very good sales, so they will make money by selling your products. Free samples can also be used to attract the interest of shopkeepers in stocking your products. Gifts, such as pens or key rings, with the name and logo of your company on them can also be used.

Pull strategies

A Pull strategy targets the end user. This strategy is used when retailers are reluctant to carry the product for some reason -- the product may be too expensive to sell at retail outlets, for example. Pull strategies include public promotional events such as contests, door-to-door sales, point-of-sale displays, Internet marketing campaigns and telemarketing campaigns.

Hybrid strategies

Hybrid promotion strategies incorporate both push and pull elements. One type of hybrid strategy involves simultaneous initiatives to both resellers and end users. Another type involves partnering with retailers to help them sell the product, often partly at the manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s expense. Network marketing is a particularly innovative hybrid strategy because it recruits people who function as both resellers and end users at the same time.

Tips

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you need to implement a program of product promotion.

Brand message

Your brand message needs to match your product, and the way you show that product to the world. For instance, if your brand message is high quality, then don’t show poor quality snapshots of your product.

Product images

Your product images are one of the most important parts of promoting your business. Take time to think about the kinds of images that will match your brand and find photographers or resources that will allow you to get those images. Be sure your images match your brand message!

Product descriptions

Product descriptions can be a tricky thing to write, people either have not enough information or they have way too many descriptors. Be clear, be simple and just say exactly what you need people to know. Be sure your descriptions fit with your brand message!

Pricing & packages

We are often tempted to price things low as a way to get customers. But it is very important that you do not sell on price. Affordable or cheap should not be your brand message. If that is the only reason people are buying your thing, no one will stick around when someone else comes along and undercuts your prices.

Delivery

There are a lot of choices when it comes to how we market our products; with a number of print options as well as online options like websites, blogs, e-newsletters, Facebook pages, Flickr etc. Determine where your ideal clients will be most likely to look for information on your products and focus on a few marketing strategies that will match your brand message.

Stand out

If all of your competitors post flyers at the local super markets, hand out tri-fold brochures and have a Facebook page, do something different to promote your business. Create a gorgeous online magazine, hand out mini-cards with different product images on each or display a stunning canvas collage of your products at a trendy café.

Be consistent nothing dilutes a brand message or makes you look more unprofessional than inconsistency. Whether you are promoting your products online or in print be consistent with how you show your product – image styles, image sizes, image borders, font styles, font sizes, background colours, additional design elements, watermarks… these are all places where consistency will make your promotional materials look professional.

Branding

Not only do your promotional materials and strategies need to match your brand message but you should also use this as an opportunity to display the look of your brand as well. Use the colours, fonts & designs of your branding in both your online and print promotional materials. Use your logo to watermark your product images, and your brand colour as a border for the images. The more consistent you are the more brand recognition you achieve.

Deal with objections

All customers have objections running through their mind no matter what the purchase. Consider ahead of time what those objections could be and use your promotional methods to deal with them. Use your images, descriptions & pricing to head off objections as well as being clear about warrantees, return policies, care & maintenance etc. When executed properly a product promotion strategy can be hugely successful and very rewarding. So, don’t rush into it, consider your options and find the perfect combination.

(Lionel Wijesiri is a retired company director with over 30 years’ experience in senior business management. Presently he is a freelance newspaper writer)


 

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