A Smattering Description of 'Promotion' (IMC) 15 July, 2010

Marketing promotion/communications (often called Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC) can have several forms. Advertising, PR, value chain discounts, sales promotions, personal selling, in store displays and kiosks, direct marketing, and samples are some examples of IMC. This is really where marketing affecting consumers. Consumers must know about a product before they decide to purchase it. Push strategies attempt to keep contacting a consumer in hopes that they will buy the product. Pull strategies are focused on creating enough demand that consumers purchase a product with out being reminded to do so.

Public relations (PR) includes marketing communications and promotion by means of press releases, speeches, and service activities. While this can be a great and cheap way of gaining publicity, there is no guarantee that the publicity will be good. News agencies are entitled to interpret and show PR as they deem fit.

It is important to remember that when thinking about marketing communications, advertising should usually win out over promotions. Promotions will create a lift over the usual baseline profits, but this is generally short lived. Given price fluctuations that promotions create, the price sensitivity of a product goes up and the price premium that a brand can command will decrease.

While promotions can bring in extra money, they are usually thought of as short term solutions. Advertising products or a brand is thought of as a long term solution. The profits from advertising may not be as evident as in promotions, but it does lead a firm down the path of long term success.

The biggest hurdles to cross when advertising are identifying the target audience. After this has been done it is necessary to inform them, give them a trial experience, or get them to repurchase a product. The final step is creating the advertisement. This is usually done with one of the following goals:

  • Educating consumers (product purpose and differentiation)
  • Appealing to humor
  • Appealing to fears
  • Adding a belief to a consumer's mindset
  • Conditioning
  • Repetition
  • Endorsements

Adding beliefs are important because it can be counter productive to attempt to change a person's beliefs.

It's also important to not forget the power of buzz and communities. They can alter the perception and hype of a product immensely.

Although IMC is one of the original 4 parts of the marketing mix and can sometimes include both promotion and placement, many companies will outsource it to avoid becoming an advertising agency themselves.

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