Promotional Mix Tools

Promotional mix tools are the bolts and nuts of promotion for companies, which is the 4th and last element in the marketing mix program (the 3rd step in the marketing process). Whether you call them tools or strategies, it doesn’t make a big difference in my perspective. Modern marketing does not care a lot about names or labels, but cares about how to use the tools properly to introduce, position, and promote companies’ value. All of these tools must work harmoniously together in tandem to provide strong and consistent message about the firm’s value. The most popular promotional tools are five, which are advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion, and direct & digital marketing. Despite this taxonomy, companies publish promotional products that share various characteristics of several promotional tools. Having introduced promotion and its tools in the previous session as in the 1st below figure, this session discusses the details of these tools. As shown in the 2nd below figure, these tools are the topics of chapters 15, 16, and 17 in Part 3 (Marketing Strategy & Program) of Marketing 2018 Book. It is the 1st book in the 2nd Year Program within the service of Global English Management & Leadership Books in your channel (Management with Merits – Manage to Prosper). To download the associated presentation with this session and access our related videos, kindly go to the video at our YouTube channel and click on the appropriate link in the description section below the video.

Advertising and Other Promotional Mix Tools
The most important promotional mix tools are advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion, and direct & digital marketing.
Promotional Mix Tools: Definitions & Examples
Marketing 2018 Book (Kotler & Armstrong), Chapters 15, 16 & 17 discuss promotional mix tools.
Chapters 15, 16 & 17 at Marketing 2018 Book of Kotler & Armstrong

Advertising : The Largest and Most Popular Promotional Mix Tool

All of us are familiar with advertisements because we find them all around us on TV, radio, print papers, posters, banners, the internet, and social media. Companies spend billions of dollars for advertisements because they can cover wide range of targeted customers and help companies achieve crucial communicative and selling objectives. Despite that, advertising is not easy. Most people have become aware of advertisements and they have got the ability to simply ignore or turn off advertisements any where. For example, the first below figure shows an advertisement that appears on the videos of MANWIM YouTube Channel before starting the videos. You can notice that it is an advertisement because of the ad label and other details of the ad, such as time, the advertiser, and their link or website. Besides, viewers can skip the advertisement after passing minimum 5 secs. Therefore, to attract people, advertisements have to be catchy and special, which requires careful planning. The 2nd below figure shows the advertising process or the major advertising decisions.

This advertisement at YouTube appears in the beginning of MANWIM's Channel videos and shows the ads details and skip option.
YouTube Advertisement at MANWIM Channel
The Advertising Process or Major Decisions include several elements such as objectives, budget, message and evaluation.
The Advertising Process or Major Decisions

Advertising Objectives and Budget :

First issue is the objectives, which are divided into communication objectives and sales objectives. Communication objectives mean the purpose of communicating the advertisement’s message, as shown in the 1st below figure. The purpose depends on various factors, but an important one is the lifecycle of the product or service. In the beginning or introduction stages of products/services, the objective is usually to inform target customers about the offerings and their value. However, when the product/service has become well-known, persuasive objective is appropriate to encourage customers to stick to the product/service and become loyal to it. On the other hand, sales objectives are related to the amount of sales the company aims to reach as a result of advertising, even though it is a bit difficult to measure exactly how much sales were made as a result of advertising and not other factors, such as changes in trends, customers preferences, or so forth. An important determinant of the objectives is the budget. A huge budget requires high sales objectives. As shown in the 2nd below figure or extract from the book, advertising is one of the biggest budget elements in companies because they spend billions of dollars on it.

Communication objectives of advertisements include informing, persuading, and reminding customers about the offering and its value.
Communication Objectives of Advertisements
Companies spend billions of dollars on advertising.
Advertising Costs and Budgets

Advertising Message :

Advertisements are carriers of messages that companies want to communicate with their customers. Thus, this message must be carefully planned and designed. There are decisions related to the aim and execution of the message and others related to the media of the message. The message strategy is the overall aim of the message, which is derived from the advertisement objectives. However, it has to be tailored to the specific audience. Message execution decisions are the chosen styles of delivering the message. As per the 1st figure below, there are various styles for advertisement messages, which can be clearly noted in the way the advertisement is done. For example, as shown in the 2nd below figure, this street banner ad for Caribou Coffee (U.S.A.) at a bus shelter in a very cold city resembles a special “Mood or Image” Style in a creative way. While customers wait at the bus shelter in the early cold morning, this ad at the “oven looking” bus shelter gives the mood or image of warmth and food satisfaction by having hot breakfast and a cup of coffee that kill hunger and cold temperature. Finally, with respect to media decisions, they give details about the best media platform and the exact media channel, as well as other points like the time and frequency of the advertisement, as shown in the example of the above-mentioned YouTube ad. The 3rd below figure shows some popular media types for ads, as well as the pros and cons for each of them.

There are various styles of advertising message execution, which have to be catchy and creative.
Styles of Advertising Message Execution
The oven-looking bus shelter that contains an advertisement for Caribou Coffee shows a creative mood or image advertising style.
Caribou Coffee Advertisement
Advertisements are the biggest tool in the promotional mix tools because of the various media types that advertisements can use, which have their own pros and cons.
Media Types for Advertisements

Advertising Evaluation :

Evaluation depends on the objectives. Thus, evaluating advertisements depends on their communicative and sales objectives. The aim of evaluation is to check whether advertisements met their proposed communicative and sales objectives. For communication objectives, marketing surveys and other marketing research strategies can provide insights on the amount of meeting communication objectives. However, it is a bit difficult for sales objectives because of the experimental challenges in checking the effect of advertising only on sales without interference of other possible factors such as trends or customers preferences. Finally, an important measure for advertising efficiency is the rate of advertising return, which our book defines as the net return of advertising divided by its costs.

Public Relations : The Least Popular in the Promotional Mix Tools

Public relations tool involves all the actions taken to provide a bright and positive image of the company for customers, the public, and the stakeholders generally. It is an effective and less-costly tool (compared to advertising) in strengthening the company’s image and engaging with customers; however, it is the least popular in the promotional mix tools . Despite that, it is difficult in modern marketing to make a clear distinction between advertising and public relations. An example of pubic relations is the public action that Starbucks took regarding its decisions of Black Lives Matters (BLM) symbols or logos in the employees dress. We discussed this issue in a previous session, as shown in the below video and 1st below figure. Even though Starbucks disallowed employees to wear BLM’s pins or buttons during work time because it was against the firm’s dress code, the company reacted to the public’s anger that included boycotting Starbucks. Starbucks published an official statement and established a pubic action that showed Starbucks’ strong support for BLM, allowed employees to wear BLM supporting accessories, and announced a company’s initiative in making its own made attire and shirts that supported BLM. Finally, as shown in the 3rd and 4th below figures respectively, there are several activities for public relations, which require the use of special tools.

An Example of Public Relations
Starbucks actions and statement for Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement show how the company used public relations effectively.
Starbucks Action for BLM Shows How They Used Public Relations Tool
There are various activities for public relations.
Public Relations Activities
To do the activities of public relations, there are several available tools.
Public Relations Tools

Personal Selling – The Interpersonal Arm of the Promotional Mix Tools

Whenever you hear the word “Sales People”, you immediately think of groups of employees who annoy you and nag on your head to persuade you to purchase their products or services. Well, despite that the primary task of sales people is to make sales, they do have other duties and responsibilities in interacting and engaging with customers, as shown in the first below figure. Sales people are the working force of “Personal Selling”. This tool is the interpersonal arm of the promotional mix tools because it is the only one that interacts directly with customers on a continuous basis. The 2nd below figure shows how sales people make sales; however, it also emphasizes that making sales transactions is a step towards building strong customers relations. Finally, sales people can’t achieve their objectives effectively without proper workforce management. Thus, the 3rd below figure shows the most important steps or elements of managing sales workforce, which represent the major tasks or elements of human resource management because sales force consists of employees who interact with customers (i.e., humans or people).

Sales people perform several tasks and duties, other than selling.
Tasks and Duties of Sales People
Despite that this figure shows the selling process as a task-oriented procedure, it must be noted that the long-term objective of sales transactions is to build and maintain strong relations with customers.
The Selling Process

Personal selling requires careful and proper management for the sales workforce, which depict the major areas of human resource management.
Sales Workforce Management

Sales Promotion – The Fastest and Shortest in Scope Within the Promotional Mix Tools

Nowadays, we are at the beginning of the new year (2021). Well, congratulations everybody for the new year. Happy New Year for all of you. You can find that plenty of stores and shops make great deals and offers for the end of the year, which might continue perhaps until the end of this month (Jan, 2021). These deals are collections of offers, discounts, clearances, and so forth whose aim is to call customers for immediate action of purchasing products or services. The below figure shows the crowds of people in Australia on the previous Boxing Day (Dec 26, 2020) to get benefits of the huge deals and discounts. All of these deals are examples of “Sales Promotion”, which is the fastest tool in getting customers purchases, as well as the shortest in sight with respect to its objectives compared to other promotional mix tools. Definitely, the companies that show the deals in the below figure did not make these boxing day offers to build strong relationships with customers in the crowd, but to obtain immediate purchases from them. In spite of that, sales promotion has a positive role in the long-term objectives of building strong customers relations because this tool must work harmoniously with other promotional mix tools within the integrated marketing communication of companies.

This crowd of the boxing day in Australia for the special offers and deals is an example of sales promotion, the fastest and shortest in sight in the promotional mix tools .
Boxing Day Crowds and Offers in Australia (Dec 26, 2021)

Direct & Digital Marketing – The Most Tailored in the Promotional Mix Tools

The previously stated promotional mix tools have wide coverage of targeted customers, especially advertising. However, direct marketing focuses on special or niche customers that the company wants to serve. For example, the below print brochure or bulletin that belongs to Tawfeer Hyber, a local Yemeni Supermarket, is distributed to customers who enter the supermarket. Fortunately, I was one of these customers, which means that I was one of the directly targeted customers for Hyber’s marketing or promotion for their end of year offers. Entering the supermarket means that you are one of the customers who are interested in their services and their value. Thus, it is worth to target you via direct marketing tools, such as handing this print brochure or bulletin to you.

Distribution of this print brochure from Tawfeer Hyber for customers who enter their supermarket is a type of direct targeted marketing.
The Bulleting or Brochure of End of Year Offers (2020) for Tawfeer Hyber

Traditional and Modern Approaches for Direct Marketing

Getting the above printed brochure from Tawfeer Hyber is a traditional method for direct marketing. Thus, the traditional approach for direct marketing includes the use of methods and tools that do not utilize the power of information technology and the internet. As per the below figure, these methods include print brochures and materials, direct mail, personal meetings, and so on. On the other hand, the modern approach of direct marketing is the digital, internet, and social media approach. As shown in the 2nd below figure, almost all good companies utilize the power of the internet via making their own websites and official social media accounts and pages. This allows companies to perform direct marketing by focusing on specific targeted customers who show interest on the companies value via visiting or subscribing to their websites or their YouTube channels and making likes & follow for their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media pages or accounts. It is worth to note that direct and digital marketing is not an isolated tool in the promotional mix. It is a tool that is strongly integrated and permeated within the other promotional mix tools. For example, all the previous tools (i.e., advertising, public relations, personal selling, and sales promotion) can be done via direct marketing approaches, whether the traditional or the digital, internet, and social approach.

Direct and Digital Marketing Tool has both traditional and modern digital approaches within the promotional mix tools .
Traditional and Digital Approaches for Direct Marketing
The digital approach in direct marketing involves the use of the internet and technology, such as websites, email, and social media pages.
Digital, Internet, and Social Approach in Direct Marketing

End of Session

This session provided five of the most important and famous tools or strategies in the promotional mix of companies, namely Advertising, Public Relations, Personal Selling, Sales Promotion, and Direct & Digital Marketing. Despite this classification of promotional tools, modern companies use them practically without sincere consideration of their names or labels. The aim of using them in modern marketing is to provide the most appropriate mix that spreads and promotes the company’s value. Besides, all of these tools have to work harmoniously and coherently together within the integrated marketing communication program of the company.

That was our session for today, guys. Thank you so much for being with us. Please support the channel strongly so we can continue our glorious mission. Our production is every Thursday. Please subscribe to the channel at YouTube and activate the notifications bell there. Please stay with us, follow us, participate with us, and widely share the channel and all its electronic contact platforms. Happy New Year (2021).

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