Promotion (marketing)

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Promotion is a term used frequently in marketing and is one of the market mix elements.


Promotion refers to raising customer awareness of a product or brand, generating sales, and creating brand loyalty. It is one of the four basic elements of the market mix, which includes the four P's: price, product, promotion, and place.[1]

Promotion is also defined as one of five pieces in the promotional mix or promotional plan. These are personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, and publicity.[2] A promotional mix specifies how much attention to pay to each of the five factors, and how much money to budget.


Fundamentally, there are three basic objectives of promotion. These are:[3]

  1. To present information to consumers and others.
  2. To increase demand.
  3. To differentiate a product.

The purpose of a promotion and thus its promotional plan can have a wide range, including: sales increases, new product acceptance, creation of brand equity, positioning, competitive retaliations, or creation of a corporate image.[2]

The term promotion is usually an "in" expression used internally by the marketing company, but not normally to the public or the market, where phrases like "special offer" are more common. Examples of a fully integrated, long-term, and large-scale promotion are My Coke Rewards in the U.S. or Coke Zone in the UK and Pepsi Stuff.


There have been different ways to promote a product in person or with different media. Both person and media can be either physically real or virtual /electronic.

In a physical environment[edit]

Promoters have used newspapers, special events, endorsements, Promotions can be held in physical environments at special events such as concerts, festivals, trade shows, and in the field, such as in grocery or department stores. Interactions in the field allow immediate purchases. The purchase of a product can be incentive with discounts (i.e., coupons), free items, or a contest. This method is used to increase the sales of a given product. Interactions between the brand and the customer are performed by a brand ambassador or promotional model who represents the product in physical environments. Brand ambassadors or promotional models are hired by a marketing company, which in turn is booked by the brand to represent the product or service. Person-to-person interaction, as opposed to media-to-person involvement, establishes connections that add another dimension to promotion. Building a community through promoting goods and services can lead to brand loyalty.

Traditional media[edit]

Examples of traditional media include print media such as newspapers and magazines, electronic media such as radio and television, and outdoor media such as banner or billboard advertisements. Each of these platforms provide ways for brands to reach consumers with advertisements.

Digital media[edit]

Digital media, which includes Internet, social networking and social media sites, is a modern way for brands to interact with consumers as it releases news, information and advertising from the technological limits of print and broadcast infrastructures.[4] Digital media is currently the most effective way for brands to reach their consumers on a daily basis. Over 2.7 billion people are online globally, which is about 40% of the world's population.[5] 67% of all Internet users globally use social media.[6]

Mass communication has led to modern marketing strategies to continue focusing on brand awareness, large distributions and heavy promotions.[7] The fast-paced environment of digital media presents new methods for promotion to utilize new tools now available through technology. With the rise of technological advances, promotions can be done outside of local contexts and across geographic borders to reach a greater number of potential consumers. The goal of a promotion is then to reach the most people possible in a time efficient and a cost efficient manner.

Social media, as a modern marketing tool, offers opportunities to reach larger audiences in an interactive way. These interactions allow for conversation rather than simply educating the customer. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr and Instagram are rated as some of the most popular social networking sites.[8] As a participatory media culture, social media platforms or social networking sites are forms of mass communication that, through media technologies, allow large amounts of product and distribution of content to reach the largest audience possible.[9] However, there are downsides to virtual promotions as servers, systems, and websites may crash, fail, or become overloaded.[10]:117

Brands can explore different strategies to keep consumers engaged. One popular tool is branded entertainment, or creating some sort of social game for the user. The benefits of such a platform include submersing the user in the brand's content. Users will be more likely to absorb and not grow tired of advertisements if they are, for example, embedded in the game as opposed to a bothersome pop-up ad.[11]

Personalizing advertisements is another strategy that can work well for brands, as it can increase the likelihood that the brand will be anthropomorphized by the consumer. Personalization increases click-through intentions when data has been collected about the consumer.[12]

Brands must navigate the line between effectively promoting their content to consumers on social media and becoming too invasive in consumers' lives. Vivid Internet ads that include devices such as animation might increase a user's initial attention to the ad. However, this may be seen as a distraction to the user if they are trying to absorb a different part of the site such as reading text.[13] Additionally, when brands make the effort of overtly collecting data about their consumers and then personalizing their ads to them, the consumer's relationship with the advertisements, following this data collection, is frequently positive. However, when data is covertly collected, consumers can quickly feel like the company betrayed their trust.[12] It is important for brands to utilize personalization in their ads, without making the consumer feel vulnerable or that their privacy has been betrayed.

Promotional activities to push a brand enabling social media channels to spread content making something viral, such as the advertising by Coke. Using the release of a new Bond film creating attention which then gets promoted across all social channels by people spreading the information due to excitement.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McCarthy, Jerome E. (1964). Basic Marketing. A Managerial Approach. Homewood, IL: Irwin. p. 769. ISBN 0256025339. 
  2. ^ a b Rajagopal. (2007) Marketing Dynamics: Theory and Practice. New Delhi, India: New Age International. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from NJIT EBook Library:
  3. ^ Kurtz, Dave. (2010). Contemporary Marketing. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
  4. ^ Mulhern, Frank (2009). "Integrated marketing communications: From media channels to digital connectivity". Journal of Marketing Communications 15 (2-3): 87.
  5. ^ Hudson, Simon; Huang, Li; Roth, Martin S.; Madden, Thomas J. "The influence of social media interactions on consumer–brand relationships: A three-country study of brand perceptions and marketing 
  6. ^ Hudson, Simon; Roth, Martin S.; Madden, Thomas J.; Hudson, Rupert (2015-04-01). "The effects of social media on emotions, brand relationship quality, and word of mouth: An empirical study of music festival attendees". Tourism Management 47: 68–76. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2014.09.001.
  7. ^ Mulhern, Frank (2009). "Integrated marketing communications: From media channels to digital connectivity". Journal of Marketing Communications 15 (2-3): 85. doi:10.1080/13527260902757506.
  8. ^ "Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites". eBizMBA - The eBusiness Guide. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  9. ^ Flew, Terry (2008). New Media: an introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 107. ISBN 9780195431810.
  10. ^ Flew, Terry (2008). New Media: an introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195431810.
  11. ^ Ashley, C., & Tuten, T. (2015). Creative Strategies in Social Media Marketing: An Exploratory Study of Branded Social Content and Consumer Engagement. Psychology & Marketing, 32(1), 15-27.
  12. ^ a b Aguirre, Elizabeth; Mahr, Dominik; Grewal, Dhruv; de Ruyter, Ko; Wetzels, Martin (2015-03-01). "Unraveling the Personalization Paradox: The Effect of Information Collection and Trust-Building Strategies on Online Advertisement Effectiveness". Journal of Retailing 91 (1): 34–49. doi:10.1016/j.jretai.2014.09.005.
  13. ^ Celebi, Serra Inci. "How do motives affect attitudes and behaviors toward internet advertising and Facebook advertising?". Computers in Human Behavior 51: 312–324. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.05.011.