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Promotion is one of the market mix elements or features, and a term used frequently in marketing. The marketing mix includes the four P's: price, product, promotion, and place. Promotion refers to raising customer awareness of a product or brand, generating sales, and creating brand loyalty. Promotion is also found in the specification of five promotional mix or promotional plan. These elements are personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, and publicity. A promotional mix specifies how much attention to pay to each of the five subcategories, and how much money to budget for each. A promotional plan can have a wide range of objectives, including: sales increases, new product acceptance, creation of brand equity, positioning, competitive retaliations, or creation of a corporate image. Fundamentally, there are three basic objectives of promotion. These are:
There are different ways to promote a product in different areas of media. Promoters use internet advertisements, special events, endorsements, and newspapers to advertise their product. Many times with the purchase of a product there is an incentive like discounts (i.e., coupons), free items, or a contest. This method is used to increase the sales of a given product.
The term "promotion" is usually an "in" expression used internally by the marketing company, but not normally to the public or the market - phrases like "special offer" are more common. An example of a fully integrated, long-term, and a large-scale promotion are My Coke Rewards and Pepsi Stuff. The UK version of My Coke Rewards is Coke Zone.
Promotions are also 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 (i.e., grocery and department stores), allow customers to purchase the brand or product immediately. The interactions among the brand and the customer are performed by brand ambassadors or promotional models that represent the products and brands in physical environments. Brand ambassadors or promotional models are hired by marketing companies that are hired by the brand to represent the product and/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.
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 a huge amount of attention which then gets promoted across all social channels by people spreading the information due to excitement. 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. As a participatory media cultures, 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. However, there are downsides to virtual promotions as servers, systems, and websites may crash, fail, or become overloaded. With promotion through participatory media, there is an opportunity to gain social capital.
Promotion can be done by different media, namely print media which includes Newspaper and magazines, Electronic media which includes radio and television, Digital media which includes internet, social networking and social media sites and lastly outdoor media which includes banner ads, OOH (out of home). Digital media is a modern way of brands interacting with consumers as it releases news, information and advertising from the technological limits of print and broadcast infrastructures. Mass communication has led to modern marketing strategies to continue focusing on brand awareness, large distributions and heavy promotions. 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 cross 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.