promotion plan outlines the promotional tools or tactics you plan to use to accomplish your marketing objectives. To the new or inexperienced marketer, the promotion plan might be mistaken as the entire marketing plan because it outlines where the majority of the marketing budget will be spent. It is, however, just one component of the marketing plan - there are additional strategy and planning components described in a marketing plan.
Include the following components in your promotion plan:
Description (or listing) of the promotional tactics you plan to use.
Explanation of how your promotion tactics will support your marketing objectives.
Description of promotional adjustments for cyclical businesses, if yours is indeed cyclical.
Laying the Groundwork for Effective Promotional Tactics When you're deciding upon the best promotional strategy for reaching your target market, you need to:
Keep your customer in mind
Doing research includes activities such as studying your target market and finding out what other businesses in your industry are doing. A relatively quick way to learn how your competitors communicate their marketing messages is to look in trade journals. This will give you an idea of which features they believe are important and are emphasizing.
Keeping your customer in mind will help prevent wasting your money and time on ineffective promotional activities. For example, it obviously won't help to advertise in the newspaper if your target audience doesn't read it.
Description of Promotional Tactics The major component to your Promotion Plan is the description (or listing) of the planned promotional tactics you plan to use.
There are many promotional tools and each one is easily the subject of an entire book. In fact, there are many good books available on the subjects listed here. You could also try Web searches. Remember that all sales promotions should dovetail with and support your selling strategies and your company image.
A partial list of promotional tools is listed below:
Advertising Print advertising such as that in programs for events, trade journals, magazines, newspapers
Outdoor advertising, such as billboards and bus boards
Broadcast advertising on radio and TV (or Internet sites)
Marketing Collateral You might choose to produce and distribute materials such as:
Also be sure your package design is appropriately informative and catchy. (For a service business, your "package design" will be the atmosphere of your office, the design of your company collateral and, most importantly, the appearance of you and your staff.)
Participation in community projects and boards of directors
Trade Shows - Your product or service might be one that is suited to exhibiting at a trade show attended by your target audience. Trade shows are typically one- or two- day events that allow businesses to set up exhibits or booths showcasing their products or capabilities.
Fairs (like Health Fairs, Job Fairs)
Give-aways (like baseball caps and mugs with your logo)
Coupons and free samples
Public Speaking and Conferences Making speeches at conferences, professional association meetings and other events positions you and your company as a leader in your field. Attending conferences is also an opportunity to make valuable contacts that lead to sales.
Publications such as newsletters, trade journals and books.
Detail your promotional plan. What are the objectives of your marketing programs, and what tactics will you use to meet those objectives (see tactics page)
Possible objectives for marketing promotions may include the following:
Build Awareness – New products and new companies are often unknown to a market, which means initial promotional efforts must focus on establishing an identity. In this situation the marketer must focus promotion to: 1) effectively reach customers, and 2) tell the market who they are and what they have to offer.
Create Interest – Moving a customer from awareness of a product to making a purchase can present a significant challenge. As we saw with our discussion of consumer and business buying behavior, customers must first recognize they have a need before they actively start to consider a purchase. The focus on creating messages that convince customers that a need exists has been the hallmark of marketing for a long time with promotional appeals targeted at basic human characteristics such as emotions, fears, sex, and humor.
Provide Information – Some promotion is designed to assist customers in the search stage of the purchasing process. In some cases, such as when a product is so novel it creates a new category of product and has few competitors, the information is simply intended to explain what the product is and may not mention any competitors. In other situations, where the product competes in an existing market, informational promotion may be used to help with a product positioning strategy. Marketers may use promotional means, including direct comparisons with competitor’s products, in an effort to get customers to mentally distinguish the marketer’s product from those of competitors.
Stimulate Demand/Get Consumers to Buy More – The right promotion can drive customers to make a purchase. In the case of products that a customer has not previously purchased or has not purchased in a long time, the promotional efforts may be directed at getting the customer to try the product. This is often seen on the Internet where software companies allow for free demonstrations or even free downloadable trials of their products. For products with an established customer-base, promotion can encourage customers to increase their purchasing by providing a reason to purchase products sooner or purchase in greater quantities than they normally do. For example, a pre-holiday newspaper advertisement may remind customers to stock up for the holiday by purchasing more than they typically purchase during non-holiday periods.
Reinforce the Brand – Once a purchase is made, a marketer can use promotion to help build a strong relationship that can lead to the purchaser becoming a loyal customer. For instance, many retail stores now ask for a customer’s email address so that follow-up emails containing additional product information or even an incentive to purchase other products from the retailer can be sent in order to strengthen the customer-marketer relationship.