We have previously discussed the importance of sales for commercial companies. My view is that sales is the most critical issue for a commercial business.
In fact, it is the only critical issue. Everything else can be fixed, even if money must be thrown at it.
But if the sales are not forthcoming, there is no income stream to support the company and its overheads, much less fix other problems.
So, I thought we should take a look at the marketing, promotional and advertising activities that can be deployed to promote new and existing products. They are many and varied, and the ones that are selected for a given product or company will depend on a range of factors including the marketing strategy, the budget, and the target market.
Let’s take a look at some of the background issues you will need to consider before you can draw up your promotional plan.
Responsive or creative marketing?
Consider whether you are carrying out responsive marketing or creative marketing.
Responsive marketing fulfils an existing need, such as the need for food or utilities.
Creative marketing creates the need, usually for a new product, providing solutions the customer didn’t know they needed, but to which they enthusiastically respond. These are the products they didn’t know they had a use for until they saw how they could make their life better, easier, tastier. In this case there is some education to be done, explaining how the product can benefit the client.
Defining and Reaching your Target Client
The essence of advertising and marketing is to define your target customer, and then ensure that your message gets to that segment of the population. You need to think about how you can most effectively deliver your message to your consumer.
For example, if your product is sports equipment, where will you reach prospective clients? Perhaps at sports clubs, watching sport on TV, listening on the radio, or reading reports about sport. So, those are the places you need to target. Leaflets and flyers at the clubs, advertising there, TV and radio advertising during sports programmes and reports, ads in sports publications. These would all be effective ways of reaching the sports equipment consumer.
If you are selling maternity clothes or babywear, where will you find your target customer, the expectant or new mother? Ante natal clinics, hospitals, childbirth classes, schools.
But don’t forget many baby items are given as gifts, so you need to reach the family and friends of expectant parents, as well as the mother and father-to -be. In fact, you need to consider who is making the purchasing decision before you can design the promotional plan.
Who are you selling to?
Although the expectant grandparents often purchase high ticket items like cots, prams, buggies and car seats, they will often ask the parents to specify the item they want, as is can be a complex decision. For example, some parents would choose a buggy that allows the sleeping baby to be lifted into the car still in the buggy seat, which then clips into the car and doubles as a car seat. Others may not choose that system. These are lifestyle decisions the grandparents may not want to make.
And in this case, if you are selling complex products with benefits that are not immediately obvious, you need to think about supporting the sale of your product with Buyers Guides, because new parents may be unfamiliar with all this technology.
That might lead you to select leaflets or catalogues rather than a radio ad, because that kind of information is much easier to get across visually than audibly.
Incidentally. one of the best places to sell a complex product which needs some explaining is on a TV shopping channel, where it can be demonstrated during the sale.
So, you can see, there may be many factors you need to consider other than budget and target market.
Should you run an incentive scheme, a discount, a loyalty scheme? Or Set up Facebook pages and twitter accounts?
So, think about your product, market, platform and target customer.
Decide on your budget, and your method of promotion, and design offers that will appeal to your target customer.
Then find ways of reaching them.
This is your promotional plan