Selecting the Promotion Mix for a Particular Product

Promotional Objectives

There are three main promotional objectives: inform the market, increase demand, and differentiate a product.

Learning Objectives

Explain the objectives and characteristics of a promotion mix

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Increase demand: These strategies are used during the product life cycle in order to increase sales.
  • Present information about the product: In order for customers and consumers to want the product they need to understand what the product is.
  • Differentiate a product: This is especially important if there are multiple competitors in the same market.

Key Terms

  • product life cycle: The process wherein a product is introduced to a market, grows in popularity, and is then removed as demand drops gradually to zero.
  • differentiate: To show, or be the distinction between two things.
  • marketing mix: A business tool used in marketing products; often crucial when determining a product or brand’s unique selling point. Often synonymous with the four Ps: price, product, promotion, and place.

Promotion Mix

The promotion mix is an element of the marketing mix. It includes advertising, public relations, personal sales, and sales promotion. Mediums used for promotion include: the Internet, television, advertisements, special events, endorsements, newspapers, and magazines. Different approaches are needed for each medium in order to be successful.

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Marketing Mix: The marketing mix includes product, promotion, price, and place.

Promotional Objectives

There are three main objectives of a promotional mix:

  1. Increase demand: These strategies are used during the product life cycle in order to increase sales. Eventually a product will reach its saturation point, at which time investing in sales will decrease as the company focuses its attention on a new product.
  2. Present information about the product: In order for customers and consumers to want the product they need to understand what the product is and how it benefits them. Information about the product will differ depending on the specific target market.
  3. Differentiate a product: This is especially important if there are multiple competitors in the same market. For example, Apple was able to differentiate itself in the computer industry. For many years it was the preferred computer for those who had advanced computing skills. Then Apple did an advertising campaign to show general users how easy it is to use. This took advantage of the complaints the market had over Windows operating software, which came standard with most PCs.

In order for a market to accept a new product they need to know how it address their pain point. Information about the product should address the “what’s in it for me” aspect that is inherent in human nature.

Stages in the Product Life Cycle

There are four stages in the product life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

Learning Objectives

Examine the various stages of the product lifecycle

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The introduction stage of the product life cycle is where a new product is launched into a market.
  • In the growth stage of the product life cycle, the market has accepted the product and sales begin to increase.
  • In the maturity stage of the product life cycle, sales will reach their peak.
  • In the decline stage of the product life cycle, sales will begin to decline as the product reaches its saturation point.
  • There is no set schedule for the stages of a product life cycle.

Key Terms

  • product life cycle: The process wherein a product is introduced to a market, grows in popularity, and is then removed as demand drops gradually to zero.

Stages in the Product Lifecycle

There are four stages in the product life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

A chart that shows a product's life cycle based on sales and time on the market (introduction, growth, maturity, and decline).

Life Cycle: Firms’ products progress through the stages of development, which is indicated by their changing profits over time.

Introduction

After all research and development has be done it is time to launch the product and begin its lifecycle. The introduction stage of the product life cycle is when the marketing team emphasizes promotion and the product’s initial distribution. Often the product will have little or no competitors at this point. Nonetheless, sales may remain low because it takes time for the market to accept the new product. At this stage of the life cycle, the company usually loses money on the product.

Growth

In the growth stage of the product life cycle, the market has accepted the product and sales begin to increase. The company may want to make improvements to the product to stay competitive. At this point, there are still relatively few competitors.

Maturity

In the maturity stage of the product life cycle, sales will reach their peak. Other competitors enter the market with alternative solutions, making competition in the market fierce. The company that introduced the new product may begin to find it difficult to compete in the market.

Decline

In the decline stage of the product life cycle, sales will begin to decline as the product reaches its saturation point. Most products are phased out of the market at this point due to the decrease in sales and because of competitive pressure. The market will see the product as old and no longer in demand.

There is no set schedule for the stages of a product life cycle. Differences will occur depending on the type of product, how well it is received by the market, the promotional mix of the company, and the aggressiveness of the competition.

Target Market Characteristics

The different characteristics of a target market are geographic, demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and product related.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate between different target market characteristics

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • A geographic target market can be consumers in a city, state, or country.
  • A demographic or socioeconomic target market would focus on a specific gender, age group, income level, or education level.
  • A psychographic target market would be a market that has similar attitudes, values, or lifestyle.
  • The behavioral target market focuses on occasions and degree of loyalty.
  • Product -related segmentation describes a target approach for customers who already own a specific product.
  • Determining a target market approach to sales has many benefits. It can create a more specific marketing campaign, increase sales, and decrease the number of competitors in the market.

Key Terms

  • target market: a group of people whose needs and preferences match the product range of a company and to whom those products are marketed

Target Market Characteristics:

The different characteristics of a target market are geographic, demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and product related.

Geographic

A geographic target market can be consumers in a city, state, or country. This is often important when it comes to international advertising. Some products may do well in some countries but not in others. For example, in Japan where they don’t have ovens, companies such as Betty Crocker would not focus their products in this geographic target market.

A picture of a street in the United Kingdom.

Geographic Target: A geographic target market could be a city, state, or country.

Demographic/Socioeconomic

A demographic or socioeconomic target market would focus on a specific gender, age group, income level, or education level. For example, Plato’s Closet, a consignment store for young adult clothing, would focus on the teen and young adult demographic. Irish Spring would focus on a male demographic.

Psychographic

A psychographic target market would be a market that has similar attitudes, values, or lifestyle. For example, the televisions station G4 is aimed at men but also gamers in the age 16-34 demographic.

Behavioral

The behavioral target market focuses on occasions and degree of loyalty. Facebook marketing is often focused on loyal customers with specials they can claim by getting a code on Facebook. There are also discount cards available that offer discounts by allowing shoppers to collect points each time they shop at their store.

Product Related Segmentation

Product related segmentation describes a target approach for customers who already own a specific product. For example, accessories for people who own cell phones, tablets, computers, iphones, or gaming systems. Determining a target market approach to sales has many benefits. It can create a more specific marketing campaign, increase sales, and decrease the number of competitors in the market.

Characteristics of the Product

The unique characteristics of a product should be used as inputs in determining the product’s marketing mix.

Learning Objectives

Examine how the characteristics of a product impacts the selection of a promotional mix

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The characteristics of the product are the features that differentiate it from other products on the market.
  • When companies create a product they have specific features in mind. It can be characteristics that improve on an existing product or ones that fill a currently unfilled need. Promoting these features can be a successful approach.
  • Characteristics of a product also help to determine the price of a product. Premium features may be able to fetch a premium price.
  • It is the combination of demand for a product and its price that help to determine the marketing mix.

Key Terms

  • marketing mix: A business tool used in marketing products; often crucial when determining a product or brand’s unique selling point. Often synonymous with the four Ps: price, product, promotion, and place.
  • target market: a group of people whose needs and preferences match the product range of a company and to whom those products are marketed
  • price index: A statistical estimate of the price level of some class of goods or services.

Characteristics of the Product

The characteristics of the product are the features and elements that differentiate it from other products on the market. Product characteristics help determine the marketing mix, potential target market and the pricing of a product.

A display of Dewar's Scottish whiskey.

Characteristics: A product’s characteristics determine its target market and price.

A product needs to differentiate itself in the market and carry distinct characteristics that separate it from its competitors. Otherwise, there would be no reason for consumers to purchase that product over any other product on the market.

Determining the Marketing Mix

When companies create a product they have specific features in mind. It can be characteristics that improve on an existing product in the market or ones that help with a currently unfilled need. Companies spend a lot of time and money on product research to understand the needs of the market and how their product can fill that need.

Characteristics of a product also help to determine the price of a product. Some high end features will increase the price of the product, while low-end features could decrease the price of the product. This can determine where a product may fall on the price index. It is the combination of demand for a product and its price that help determine the marketing mix.

Different strategies are used for high end, expensive products than are used for low end, less expensive products. In addition, different marketing strategies are used depending on the target market. Some consumers need an Internet marketing approach, while other consumers may be more receptive to television or magazine ads. All of these questions can be answered by understanding the characteristics of the product.

Types of Buying Decisions

Different types of buying decisions can involve logical, impulsive, and emotional motivations.

Learning Objectives

Distinguish between a consumer and business buying decision

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Buying decisions are based on buying behavior. Consumer behavior and business behavior can differ because their buying processes are different.
  • Consumers will often buy on emotion or impulse whereas businesses will buy based on need.
  • The type of buying decision impacts the marketing mix and the promotional mix for a product. It will also affect the product life cycle.
  • Sometimes the type of product will make a difference in the buying decision. For consumers, large ticket items, such as an appliance, a car, or a home, aren’t impulse items.
  • A company needs to know about the features of a product and how it will help fill a specific need. Businesses are also worried about price and return on investment.

Key Terms

  • buyer behavior: the process used to decide whether to purchase a product

Type of Buying Decisions

Different types of buying decisions can include logical, impulsive, and emotional motivations. Buying decisions are based on buyer behavior. Consumer behavior and business behavior can differ because their buying processes are different. Consumers will often buy on emotion or impulse whereas businesses will buy based on need. The type of buying decision impacts the marketing mix and the promotional mix for a product. It will also affect the product life cycle.

Because consumers often buy on emotion, ads can affect the buying decision. Consumer products are often advertised on television in a way that tries to create an emotional tie with the buyer. An example of this are the alcohol ads with beautiful women and people having a good time, or car ads that stir emotions of envy for racing the streets like a race car driver.

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Food Market: Buyer behavior shapes buying decisions.

Emotional tactics don’t work well with businesses. A company needs to know about the features of a product and how it will help fill a specific need. Businesses are also worried about price and return on investment.

Sometimes the type of product will make a difference in the buying decision. For consumers, large ticket items, or such as an appliance, a car, or a home, aren’t impulse items. Most people can’t afford to buy a new car when they want one, they need to wait until their current car needs to be replaced. This is why companies can influence what type of car a person will buy, but not when they will buy one.

Funds Available Relative to Costs

Marketing departments need to look at what types of advertising are available that will keep them within budget.

Learning Objectives

Review how and why funds are allocated and available relative to costs

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Each type of advertising is sold at a different rate and a company has a limited budget in which to promote a product.
  • To determine the best type of promotional strategy, a company should look at its target market. Consumers in each type of market will have a preferred form of advertising.
  • Other factors that affect the funds available for product promotion include the budget for the overall product launch and the expected length of the introduction phase.

Key Terms

  • budget: An itemized summary of intended expenditure, usually coupled with expected revenue.

Funds Available Relative to Costs

No company has an unlimited promotional budget. Marketing departments need to look at what types of advertising are available that will keep them within budget.

Different Types Of Advertising

There are different types of advertising available. They include Internet marketing, television ads, radio ads, special events, magazine and newspaper ads, billboards, and endorsements. Each type of advertising is sold at a different rate and a company has a limited budget in which to promote a product.

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Tram Advertisement: Different forms of advertising charge different rates and can impact the promotional mix budget.

Determining the Promotion Strategy

To determine the best type of promotional strategy, a company should look at its target market. Consumers in each type of market will have a preferred form of advertising. Companies should determine which forms of promotion will reach the most consumers in a specific target market. This strategy will help marketing departments efficiently use their promotional budget.

Other Factors That Can Affect Funds

There are other factors that can affect the funds available for a promotional mix. When a company is looking at launching a new product, they need to consider research, development, production, and marketing. A company may focus more on the research and development of a product, which will affect the amount of money that is available for marketing and production.

Another factor that will affect funds for promotional strategies will be the estimated cost of the product launch. When a product enters the market, it will most likely lose money until it is accepted by consumers. If a product is estimated to have a long introductory phase, it will affect the promotional strategy and the funds that are available for advertising.

Push and Pull Strategies

Push and pull strategies are promotional strategies used to get the product to its target market.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate between push and pull strategies as part of a product’s promotional mix

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • A push strategy places the product in front of the customer to make sure the consumer is aware of the existence of the product. This can work well when manufacturers have an established relationship with customers or when the product is an impulse purchase-type item.
  • Push strategies include trade shows, showrooms, getting retailers to stock a product, and creating a supply chain to facilitate distribution.
  • A pull strategy motivates customers to actively seek out a specific product and it best for new products or in the case when a manufacturer has a strong and visible brand.
  • Pull strategies include mass media advertising, referrals, customer relationship management, and sales promotions.
  • Companies usually use a combination of push and pull strategies in a marketing mix.

Key Terms

  • customer relationship management: Customer Relations Management (CRM) is concerned with (among other things) the conversion rate: percentage of customers who “try and buy” the product.
  • push strategy: communication demanded by the buyer
  • pull strategy: communication not demanded by the buyer

Push and Pull Strategies

Push and pull strategies are promotional strategies used to get the product to its target market.

Push Strategy

A push strategy places the product in front of the customer, via a form of advertisement, to make sure the consumer is aware of the existence of the product. This type of strategy works well for low value items and impulse buy items. The different ways a company can use a push strategy to increase awareness of a product include:

A diagram that shows the push-pull strategy: 1.) technology push - research and development, production, marketing, and need; 2.) market pull - research and development, production, marketing, and expressed marketing need.

Push and Pull Strategies: Push and pull strategies are used to get a product to the target market.

  • At trade shows and showrooms, businesses can demonstrate the product’s features to potential customers.
  • Companies can encourage retailers to stock a product. Sometimes a company has to negotiate with a retailer to stock a specific item because retailers have limited store space and need to stock items they know will sell.
  • Companies can create a supply chain so that retailers can obtain the product in sufficient quantities.

Push strategies work best for merchants that already have an established relationship with users. For example, cell phone providers proactively send (i.e. push) advertisements via text or MMS messages to mobile customers regarding promotions and upgrades. This permission-based marketing can be effective if personalized for the user based on personalized preferences, usage and buying behavior. However, push strategies are also effective for building demand for high-priced services (e.g., enterprise software) that are targeted to specific markets.

Pull Strategy

A pull strategy stimulates demand and motivates customers to actively seek out a specific product. It is aimed primarily at the end users. A strong and visible brand is needed to ensure the success of a pull strategy. The different ways a company can use a pull strategy to promote a brand include:

  • Advertising strategies that include mass media promotion of a product
  • Customer relationship management that makes existing customers aware of new products that will fill a specific need
  • Referrals
  • Sales promotions and discounts

Using these strategies will create a demand for the product. With that demand, retailers will be encouraged to seek out the product and stock it on their shelves. For instance, Apple successfully uses pull strategies to launch iPhones or iPads. Likewise, music has also fallen under pull strategies due to digitization and the emergence of social networking websites. Music platforms such as iTunes, Grooveshark and Spotify are reflective of the power shift from providers to consumers. Merchants must adapt their strategies to pull in demand, rather than push products–in this case, music–to consumers.

Most businesses will use a combination of push and pull strategies in order to successfully market a product.

Trade vs. Consumer Promotions

Trade promotions are targeted toward retailers while consumer promotions are targeted toward consumers.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate between trade and consumer promotions relative to a product’s marketing mix

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The purpose of trade promotions is to help companies differentiate a product, increase product visibility, and increase the product purchase rate.
  • The purpose of consumer promotions is to increase brand awareness and market acceptance.
  • There are various types of trade and consumer promotions.
  • Consumer promotion activities include rebates, coupons, premiums, contests, kids eat free programs,reward programs, and free samples.

Key Terms

  • differentiate: To show, or be the distinction between two things.
  • trade: Those engaged in an industry or group of related industries.
  • Federal Trade Commission: an independent agency of the United States government that seeks to promote consumer protection and the eliminate and prevent anti-competitive business practices, such as coercive monopoly
  • brand awareness: Brand awareness is the extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers and is correctly associated with a particular product.

Trade versus Consumer Promotions

Trade promotions are targeted toward retailers while consumer promotions are targeted toward consumers.

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Promotions: A point of purchase or end cap display can make consumers aware of new products.

Trade Promotions

Trade promotions are marketing activities executed between manufacturers and retailers. Trade promotions help companies differentiate a product, increase product visibility, and increase the product purchase rate. But while there are multiple products on the market, retailers only have a finite space to display items on their shelves. It is therefore sometimes necessary to encourage retailers to stock your item instead of your competitor ‘s item.

To this point, trade promotions include:

  • Trade allowances are incentives used to encourage a retailer to stock a product such as cash discounts or promotional incentives.
  • Dealer loaders are incentives given to a dealer to display a product, such as in-store displays, premiums, or rebates.
  • Trade contests are used to encourage retailers to sell products, as the retailer who sells the most wins a prize.
  • Point of purchase display (POP) is an end cap or center store display where retailers can show the products to customers to increase awareness.
  • Training programs teach employees or retailers the benefits and uses of a product.
  • Push money is an extra commission paid to encourage the stocking and selling of a product.

Consumer Promotions

Consumer promotions are marketing activities targeted at the consumer to encourage them to buy the product. These are often used at the product launch to increase brand awareness, market acceptance, and sales. Types of consumer promotions can include:

  • Price deals are temporary reductions in price, such as 50% off an item.
  • Discounts are reductions to a basic price of goods or services.
  • Reward programs allow consumers to collect points, miles, or credits for purchases, which they can later redeem for rewards.
  • Coupons have become a standard mechanism for sales promotions.
  • With rebates, consumers are offered money back if the receipt and barcode are mailed to the producer.
  • Some contests or sweepstakes automatically enter the consumer into the event through the purchase of the product.
  • Free samples are when a product is given to the consumer so that he or she may try a product before committing to a purchase.
  • Discounts are sometimes given to customers who buy in large quantities.
  • Kids eat free promotions offer a discount on the total dining bill by offering one free kid’s meal with each regular meal purchased.
  • Premiums are promotional items that can be received for a small fee when redeeming the proof of purchase.

Companies will often use a combination of trade and consumer promotions when launching a new product.