Strategic selection of promotions
Promotions are anything you do to make your potential customers
aware that you exist or that urges them to take action over a short
time frame. There are many different promotional techniques, some of
which are discussed on other articles. For the purpose of this
article, we are focused on when to use each.
Strategic utility in promotions has to do with what you are using
these promotions to get done. Generally, these can be identified as
- Create awareness: The purpose is for the customer to
realize that you exist or that you have an offering that exists and
that they might be interested in. This might be a social concept or a
specific product or brand awareness, and can be as broad or narrow as
applies to your situation. There is an old saying that "no publicity
is bad publicity", or the quip about bad publicity followed by the
artist asking "did they spell my name right?" Name recognition is
often disassociated with the actual information about the name after a
- Develop attitude: The purpose is for the customer to take
on or alter a viewpoint that will tend to support buying from you, or
in the more general sense, supporting and going with the flow of
others with similar attitudes. This is a sort of social influence
activity. It is important to note that things like discounts on their
own bring the attitude of cheapness, desperation, overstock, lack of
business, etc. Of course this can be countered by content, for example
as a discount for loyal customers, or a discount on volume purchases.
- Convey information: The purpose is to have the audience
become specifically informed about something they were previously
unaware of. One of the problems in misinformation (and disinformation
in the more malicious form) is that people who don't know or are
malicious convey information that is adopted as true when in fact it
is false. Thus you have to fight against this information to educate
the market in your information (a.k.a. version of the truth). This is
where facts come into play, but that's too much of a drill-down for
this article. In any new market or new offering, educating the market
is necessary, ands thus information is critical.
- Give reassurance: Once customers have a general notional
belief, reassurance helps alleviate fears, solidify decisions, get
people over the action threshold, and so forth. It helps before and
just after the sale as well as in the support and upsell process,
and counters fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
- Remind: This is about keeping you on their mind and moving
in the desired direction. It's particularly important for process
continuation and retention of existing clients, and helps to keep
brands relevant and in the hunt for future sales.
The next step in understanding is to understand the market maturity.
Existing markets and existing offerings don't require education as much
as new markets with new products.
Fusing these together, the strategic objectives may be seen in this table:
- New offerings, New Markets: New offerings in new markets
means that the market segment has to be differentiated, characterized,
and educated and in that new market, the customers have to be educated
to build the desire for the offering. It also means that there will be
few if any existing channel partners and only early adopters are
likely to buy things. This means you should appeal to the audience in
those terms in order to have them self-select as bold innovators or
some such thing.
- New offerings, Existing Markets: New offerings in existing
markets are also early adopter oriented, but because the market
already exists, there will be existing partners and channels, places,
and so forth. This means you need to educate the markets to your
offerings, and can leverage existing known characteristics and
approaches. It also means that you will likely be in a race for market
share, because as you educate the market, competitors will appear.
- Existing offerings, New Markets: Bringing existing products
to new markets allows you to leverage the reputation and history of
related markets (assuming this is a good thing) to move into new
markets rather than having to boldly go where no competitor has gone
before. It also means that you can position yourself as a
conservative choice if that suits your customer base, and you should
have less resistance and less effort for identifying price and related
issues. This also becomes a race for market share, as your competitors
from other markets will follow you as/if you become successful, or
they may already be moving there.
- Existing offerings, Existing Markets: Existing offerings in
existing markets either lead to fights over market share or, in
markets that are not yet themselves mature but also not new, a race
for share followed by a fight over share. Displacing happy customers
from existing competitors is hard, while displacing unhappy customers
from existing competitors is far easier.
|Opportunity||Existing Markets||New Markets|
|Existing Offerings||Displace competitors
Fight for share
Expand once mature
Race for share
Land and expand
|New Offerings||↑Use existing paths
Educate a new offering
Build a new market
On a new offering
Matching methods to situations
Different promotional methods tend to have more effect on
different utilities. The table below identifies where each method
tends to have more or less utility.
||Branding, Give-aways, Sponsorships, Appearances, Paid Media, Cold Calls, Cold emails, Social Media, Short Videos|
||Sponsorships, Appearances, Loyalty programs, Price matches, Email Lists, Social Media, Webinars|
||Appearances, Events, Email Lists, Webinars, Articles and Writings |
||Branding, Loyalty programs, Events, Webinars, Short Videos|
||Branding, Give-aways, Discounts, Sponsorships, Appearances, Paid Media, Donations and Gifts, Loyalty programs, Competitions, Price matches, Events, Coupons,Email Lists, Social Media, Short Videos |
A call to action
The path to better marketing and sales goes through promotion, and
the path you take depends on your situation. If you want us to
evaluate your situation and help you find a better path, it all starts
Awareness, attitude, information, reassurance, and reminders come
in different forms, and should be used at different phases of the maturity
of offerings in markets.
Fred Cohen, 2022 - All Rights Reserved