Marketing and Promotion – Are They the Same Process?

Merriman-Webster.com notes that both the words, marketing and promotion (the terms, or the present day meaning), came into existence around the 15th and 16th centuries. Interestingly, although both marketing and promotion seem to be used in place of each other, and marketing is regularly used in place of promotion, they are separate processes. Well to be more clear, promotion is a process under the marketing umbrella.

Marketing, according to BusinessDictionary.com:

Management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. As a philosophy, it is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. As a practice, it consists in coordination of four elements called 4P’s: (1) identification, selection, and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.

So, marketing is taking your product from the idea to the sale. While you may not think that marketing is necessary in the idea stage of a product, think again. If you don’t produce a product that your target market will be interested in, you most probably will not get to the “sale’ stage. This means the product will need to be saleable in every aspect, from the product itself, or in a writer’s field, its content, to the package, price, and distribution. All this takes marketing research.

Promotion on the other hand is the marketing process of bringing your product or service to the attention of your target market. Promotion encompasses the needed strategies for actually selling your product. Promotion is done through publicity and advertising – in essence, through visibility.

Visibility can be done using social networking, taking advantage of services/sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Digg. It can also be accomplished through traditional promotional techniques, such as ads, business cards, and flyers, as well as through inbound (organic) promotional strategies: providing valuable blog and article content, reports, e-books, and newsletters.

Organic promotional strategies are those that bring visibility to your product/service through processes mentioned above such as blog and article content. This type of promotion may take a bit of time to establish, and involves work, but its long-term benefits will be worth the time and effort. This type of promotion creates trust and reliability. You will develop a relationship with the potential customer/reader. She will come to value the information you provide, and look forward to it.

Digital-Web.com defines organic traffic as:

Organic traffic, as the name implies, is traffic that comes to your Web site naturally and without being driven there by a specific marketing campaign. In essence, Web site visitors are there because they found the site and thought it had something they wanted. And like anything organic, organic traffic isn’t there instantly; it takes time and nurturing to grow into something healthy and with longevity.

50 Marketing and Sales Promotional Plans – Next Set of 15

Hi, we are back again with more promotional plans. Our ’50 Promotional Plans’ have been compiled to help retail businesses reach out to their target market more effectively. Since there are so many creative promotional models out already, retailers can use the best fit to get the maximum visibility, better cost-effectiveness, improve branding and achieve greater sales.

We had previously discussed promotional ideas such as Happy hours, Free trials, Customer care, Complimentary products, Group discounts, Cross promotion, Motivational offers, Fun offers, Group offers, Free service, Spares with product, Selling attractive packages, Freebies, Free shipping, Referral schemes and Block renewals. These promotional ideas were well received by our readers and now we are back again with the next 15 schemes for you.

1) Senior Citizen Discounts: Special discounts for senior citizens, a gradually increasing segment with specific needs, is a great idea. In fact, there is a site entirely dedicated to this segment – seniordiscounts.com. Through senior citizen specific schemes you can promote any product or service that senior citizens may need and build a whole new market segment. For example Super Religare Wellness had a scheme where it gave 10% off to all senior citizens. Even Ayurcare offered special discounts to senior citizens for its therapies and detoxification programs.

2) Discounts to Niche Customers: Select the target segment you wish to focus on – say, a particular membership card holder that suits your profile – and offer them a discount. For example, a top end restaurant providing discounts to Club Mahindra holders would bring exclusive focus to an attractive, new segment.

3) Tie-ups with Banks: A tie-up with banks to provide special discounts for customers who use their bank cards at your retail outlet provides access to many potential customers at negligible cost. Several banks are ready to do this.

4) Early bird customers: How about early bird schemes where customers get special discounts for buying early? Such schemes prod customers into buying early to avail the discount. From travels to wellness centres and even corporate training programs, early bird incentives are always a great way to promote your products and services. Wild Frontiers, an adventure travel site offered a 5% discount for early bird registrations while VITS Wellness Centre, Andheri offered a limited period special discount for early bird couples.

5) Reward the customer for his efforts: Reward your customer for the efforts they put in for their own good. ‘Fitness First’, a fitness centre, rewarded its customers for losing each kilogram, with a Rs. 500 discount for each kilogram lost.

6) Use short codes effectively: Let your customers participate in an on-the-spot contest, and in the process get their mobile numbers too. Give a freebie or a discount to whoever participates in the contest. Subway used this scheme by asking customers to enter a contest: Subway gets the customers contact details such as mobile number and email id while customer gets discounts or freebies.

7) Special Event promotion: A special event such as an anniversary, festival or a special day like Valentine’s Day is a great time to offer a promotion scheme. Give a special discount to anyone who registers or buys on occasions such as Children’s day, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Teacher’s day etc. For example Gold’s gym offered a special discount for couples who joined the gym on Valentine’s day and Big Cinema gave away free tickets for women patrons on Woman’s Day.

8) Price guarantee: When real estate prices are falling and people do not buy because of uncertainty, a promotional scheme that offers to pass on the price benefit in case of lower prices in the future, drives sales. A limited period offer for those who book during the period, protects those from future price fluctuations. Aparna Constructions in Hyderabad has offered such a promotional scheme in view of the uncertainty in the real estate market to assuage fears of the customers and provide them with a window of opportunity to invest.

9) Surprise gift: Offer a surprise gift along with a service. Getting something free in the most unexpected of times always remains etched as one of the most memorable experiences for customers. It does not matter whether it is a small gift or a big one, what matters is that you have made the customer feel like the lucky one. For example Jaipan sells a combo package of home appliances such as a vacuum cleaner, toaster, blender and roti maker and throws in a a surprise gift!

10) Social causes: If your service has a social element to it, offer a promotional pricing with it. For example, Times Matrimonials, offers a discount for those who wish to advertise in their matrimonial column without a dowry requirement (or without a caste and religion bar). Similarly they offer discounts for senior citizens and widow/widowers and differently abled customers.

11) Environmental cause: A environmental cause like energy efficiency could focus on a specific scheme targeted at its customers. For example the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in India had called for a specific segment, the BPOs, to provide a star rating for BPO buildings for energy efficiency. To promote the scheme, the Bureau has announced a waiver of a hefty registration fee of Rs. 1 lakh for the first 100 applicants!

12) Buy more, get more: Buy 1 item get 10% off, 2 items and get 20% off and 3 items and get 30% off. The more you buy, the greater the discount you get. ‘Allen Solly’ offered this deal in Chennai for its menswear and women’s wear sections. Similarly Bombay Dyeing did this for its bed sheets!

13) Old for New: This is an attractive scheme especially in times when consumers are buying more. Every thought of replacement comes with the problem of what to do with the old. Big bazaar has launched a scheme where the customer can take the old and exchange it for new stuff. It takes care of two problems for the customer – getting a new product and getting rid of the old.

14) Establish a strong relationship with your customer: To find out who is buying your products and to establish a relationship of trust with them is what all retailers wish to do. Ranbaxy offered an innovative promotion scheme of a scratch card + SMS for its medicines. When customers buy medicines, they are provided with a scratch card that has a unique code, which must be SMSed to Ranbaxy. When the customer purchases the same medicine three times and SMSes the unique code each time, he gets a PIN, which he can use to get the fourth medicine free. Ranbaxy also provides the option to the customer of receiving reminders on taking the medicine – a nice way of being in touch with the customer and reinforcing the thought that you care.

15) Attractive add-on charges: A nominal Re. 1 charge for a normal service such as making charges for jewellery attracts customers – even more than a free service campaign. Reliance jewellery recently offered a Re. 1 making charges scheme on jewellery bought at their stores.

50 Promotional Plans First 15

Promotional Products – Economical and Efficient Advertising

For many companies, traditional mass media (newspapers, television, magazines, radio and outdoor advertising) isn’t an efficient and economical way to promote their product, company or message. Promotional products can be their best form of advertising because they stay around to be viewed again and again. If you walk down any street, you will notice that many people have different types of brands imprinted on their shirts, bags or even umbrellas – wander around any office and you will see mugs, pens and mouse pads emblazoned with brand and company logos.

Promotional Products are an efficient business tool, and when used as part of a promotional strategy they act as a great advertising vehicle to raise the profile of a company, product or service. By giving out promotional products that can be used regularly, you are actually making your brand and company name more visible and people become more familiar with your brand. Studies have proved that new customers who receive promotional products will, on average, return sooner and more often, and prospective customers are more likely to buy from a company who has given them a promotional product.

Promotional products today have become very popular and they are used for many different purposes and in variety of ways and areas – for example during Trade Shows, Conferences, Marketing Campaigns, Anniversaries, Exhibitions and Openings. Wherever you use them, it is important that you choose carefully the promotional items that you wish to employ. You should bear in mind your customer base and choose accordingly. The important thing is that they bear your company or brand name and contact information as prominently as is possible.

If you’re looking for a low cost, yet effective, promotional products then items such as key rings, pens and mugs can offer you the best combination of low price and high quantity. This makes them ideal for conferences and trade shows as well as many other promotional events. Calculated as a ‘cost per view’ these type of products give you a much better return than any traditional advertising media and an easier, cheaper way of increasing your brand recognition.

With promotional products you can show your customers that you are different to your competitors. Instead of appearing as “just another company”, you can demonstrate that you can offer something new and original. When someone receives a promotional item from your company they will remember your products over your competitors’ ones.

Finally, do not forget that promotional items are also a great way to thank your employees and partners for a job well done: if your employees have been working hard through a busy time, it would be a good idea to show them that you appreciate their efforts. When you give an employee a gift, you’re showing them you appreciate their hard work and dedication.