Understanding the 4 Types of Promotion in Marketing

Marketing promotion is an essential element of the marketing mix or the 4P marketing model, along with product or product strategy, location or distribution, and pricing. It is a part of the promotional mix that involves using various tools to communicate with the target market and produce sales objectives and profits for the organization. The four main promotional tools are advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing. Advertising is a specific marketing communication activity that involves placing marketing messages or, more specifically, advertisements in an area purchased within a medium such as radio, television, print media, outdoor media or digital marketing channels, including blogs and social media.

All forms of promotion found on the Internet are part of digital promotions. Online ads through SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, PPC, affiliate marketing, etc. are all part of digital promotion. Direct marketing is another type of promotion that involves direct communication with potential customers to sell a product or promote an idea.

Media used in direct sales include email or traditional direct mail, telephone or digital communication tools, and media such as computers and the Internet. Examples of direct selling activities include outbound mail or email marketing and cold calling, one-on-one sales presentations, and group sales meetings. Sales promotion involves the use of media and non-multimedia marketing communications within a specified period to increase awareness and interest, improve the attractiveness of a product or idea, force the target audience to buy or respond to a call to action, and stimulate demand in the market. Examples of tactics or activities in sales promotion include the delivery of product samples to potential customers, such as free flavors of a particular food product, the launch of a contest or sweepstakes with attractive prizes, the delivery of gifts with each purchase or response, the inclusion of different services after-sales, inclusion of value-added services, seasonal price discounts, discounted subscription rates, and loyalty programs that include benefits or privileges.

Public relations or advertising is intended to promote a product or idea by disseminating information through third parties. The goal of public relations is to deliver marketing messages through reliable media, organizations and communicators with considerable reach. Examples of ways in which organizations pursue public relations include the dissemination of press releases to the media, organizing corporate events such as trade fairs or holding press conferences to invite prominent media and communicators, hosting seminars, sponsorships, guest writing in a newspaper or blog, or guest hosting a television show and corporate social responsibility programs such as charities. Product placement is another type of promotion that involves paying a movie studio or television producer to place a product or communicate an idea prominently within a particular movie or television show.

Guerrilla marketing is another type of promotion that involves the promotion of a product or idea or the dissemination of a marketing message directly to the public minus the cost associated with advertising and paid advertising on a large scale. Examples of guerrilla marketing may overlap with other promotional activities such as events, outdoor advertising and sales promotion. It is important to keep in mind that different types of marketing promotion also serve as tactics or specific components in a promotional strategy or the promotional combination of a marketing plan. How an organization chooses to promote its products and services can have a direct and substantial impact on sales.

Esther Woodcock
Esther Woodcock

Esther has been in Marketing field for 15 years