Promotion in marketing corresponds to any marketing activities and communication undertaken to inform a target audience and persuade them to buy a product or respond to a specified call-to-action. Note that it is one of the basic elements of the marketing mix or the 4Ps model of marketing along with product or product strategy, place or distribution, and pricing.
The purpose of promotion is to create and promote awareness, create interest, and generate sales or prompt a favorable response. Nonetheless, there are different ways organizations promote their products or even an idea or cause. Take note that the different types of promotion in marketing also serve as the specific tactics or components in a promotional strategy or the promotional mix part of a marketing plan.
The Seven Major Types of Promotion: Elements of Promotion Strategy
Advertising is a specific marketing communication activity that involves placing marketing messages or more specifically, advertisements on a purchased area within a medium such as radio, television, print, outdoor mediums, or digital marketing channels including blogs and social media. The purpose of advertising is to sell a product or advance an idea through the paid distribution of marketing communication through third-party media.
The form of a particular advertisement depends on the chosen media. Static graphics are commonly used in print, outdoor mediums, and the Internet. On the other hand, audio-visual contents are used in television as well as interactive mediums such as smartphones, and other online advertising channels such as blogs and social media.
2. Direct Selling
Otherwise known as direct marketing, direct selling is another type of promotion that involves direct communication with potential customers to sell a product or advance an idea. Unlike advertising, direct selling does not buy spots from third-party media.
Mediums used in direct selling include direct traditional or electronic mail, telephone, or digital communication tools and mediums such as computers and the Internet. Examples of direct selling activity include outbound mail or email marketing and cold calling, one-on-one sales presentations, and group-based sales meeting.
3. Sales Promotion
Another type of promotion is sales promotion. It involves the use of media and non-media marketing communications within a specified period to increase awareness and interest, improve the attractiveness of a product or idea, compel the target audience to purchase or respond to a call-of-action, and stimulate demand in the market.
Examples of tactics or activities in sales promotion include handing product samples to potential customers such as free tastes to a particular food product, launching a contest or raffle with attractive prizes, providing freebies with every purchase or response, inclusion of different after-sales services, inclusion of value-added services, seasonal price discounts, discounted subscription-based fees, and loyalty programs that include perks or privileges.
4. Public Relations
Public relations or publicity intends to promote a product or idea through the dissemination of information through third parties. The goal of public relations is to deliver marketing messages via reliable media organizations and communicators with sizeable reach. Unlike advertising, this type of promotion can be free although there are paid efforts aimed at stimulating or boosting discussion and interest.
There are different ways organizations pursue public relations. The dissemination of press releases to media outlets is the most popular and cost-effective example. An example is the staging of corporate events such as trade shows or hosting press conferences to invite the media and prominent communicators. Other examples include hosting seminars, sponsorships, guest writing in a newspaper or blog or guest hosting in a TV show, and corporate social responsibility programs such as charities.
5. Product Placement
Similar to advertising and some aspects of paid publicity, product placement or embedded marketing is about paying a film studio or television show producer to place a product or communicate an idea prominently within a particular movie or TV show. However, unlike advertising and public relations, product placement generally involves directly showcasing a product or discussing about an idea.
Part of the goal of product placement is to incorporate a product or idea while maintaining a sense of realism. Note that there are two ways to approach this: unobtrusive appearances that seamlessly blends the product or idea within the environment and prominent integration and direct acknowledgment of the product or idea.
6. Endorsement and Sponsorship
Endorsement and sponsorship overlap with other typed of promotion such as advertising and public relations. Note that endorsement involves the use if of an endorser or a prominent individual such as a celebrity to provide written or spoken statement about a product or idea, or demonstrate the use of a product in an advertisement or publicity stunt.
Sponsorship is about supporting an event, activity, person, or another organization financially in exchange of placement of branding or trademark, demonstration of a product, or endorsement of an idea. Placement of logos of sportswear companies placed on stadiums and team uniforms is an example of sponsorship.
7. Guerilla Marketing
Another type of promotion is guerilla marketing that involves the promotion of a product or idea or the dissemination of marketing message directly to the public minus the cost associated with advertising and large-scale paid publicity. Unlike public relations, which target third-party media organizations and communicators, guerilla marketing primarily targets potential customers while also targeting the media and other stakeholders.
Grassroots marketing is an example of guerilla marketing that involves building a personal connection with individual customers maintaining a relationship with them. Other examples are viral marketing and buzz marketing that involve using attention-generating gimmickries coursed through traditional or digital social networks. Some examples of guerilla marketing may overlap with other promotional activities such as events, outdoor advertising, and sales promotion.