Marketing uses many techniques to promote a new product or service. Utilizing all possible outlets for spreading the word on a product is known as its promotion mix. Using a combination of the seven major promotional tools, ranging from advertising to direct marketing, is the usual method for rolling out a product. How these tools are employed varies greatly from company to company and product to product.
Advertising is easily the most popular element of most promotional mixes. It involves paid promotional placement of a product. Advertisements come in a wide range of types, from print ads to television commercials, web page banners, and more. These usually are targeted to a specific audience.
Personal selling is another factor in the mix, but it is not used by every organization. It involves an interpersonal relationship between buyer and seller. Examples of this include telemarketing, door-to-door sales, and sales meetings with incentives.
A sales promotion usually involves a limited time offer to increase interest in a product and create a buzz. The most common form is offering coupons that reduce the price of a product. Contests, rebates, and free samples are more ways to increase a buyer's return on investment.
Public relations is another important element of the promotion mix and, frequently, it is the least obvious but most effective method. This is because information usually is spread to the media in hopes that it will generate news coverage and therefore result in a form of free advertisements. Press releases often are sent to editors, newsworthy promotional events are held, and charitable contributions are given as methods to get this attention.
Corporate image is a more fickle part of the mix, but it still is important nonetheless. This aspect is closely related to public relations but generally is its own category. This refers to the importance of a company keeping a good relationship with the public, avoiding scandal, and having a reputation for delivering quality. If an unknown product comes from a reputable company, the logic is that people will be more likely to buy it.
Along with direct marketing and exhibitions, these tools are the primary ones used by marketers to reach an audience. Many hours usually are spent deciding what combination of those methods and what attitude and message to use. A successful campaign is the result of careful planning and understanding an audience.