Marketing's Promotional Mix: Definition and How To Use It

Updated June 24, 2022

Marketing can be as essential to a business’s success as the quality of the products and services it offers. A promotional mix is essential to an effective marketing strategy. In this article, we define a promotional mix and examples of how to use one. 

What is a promotional mix?

A promotional mix is a combination of marketing methods including advertising, sales, public relations and direct marketing to achieve a specific marketing goal. The promotional mix is typically only part of a larger marketing mix. You may choose to use a few methods or decide that a combination of all of them might be most effective for your campaign. 

Related: 12 Tips To Create a Successful Marketing Campaign

The four elements of a promotional mix

The traditional promotional mix has four main tools businesses use to create meaning for their service or product and influence the public to buy it:

1. Advertising: Companies pay to advertise their service or product to a high number of people at the same time. Common forms of advertisements include ads in television, newspapers, direct mail, radio, magazines or online.

2. Sales promotion: Sales promotions are short-term incentives to encourage people to buy a product or service. Examples include coupons, rebates or games and contests that the public can participate in.

3. Public relations: This type of promotion communicates a company’s services and image to the public. Examples can include news conferences or press releases.

4. Direct marketing: This strategy is a more personal approach, targeting customers directly through in-person promotions, catalogs, e-mail, telephone calls or mail.

A promotional mix is part of the overall marketing mix, which is the foundational model many companies use. The marketing mix is made up of four essential parts that can form a strong strategy when used together:

  • Price: The price is how much money consumers pay for your product. You should consider taking time to come up with a price where the company makes a profit but the cost is still attractive to the consumer.

  • Product: The product is the service or good that meets the customer's demand or need. You may revise this over the years to adapt to changes in the market

  • Promotion: Promotion involves all marketing techniques and strategies, such as special offers, advertising or sales promotions. The product and price are the result of a promotion.

  • Place: Place entails knowing the best area in which to distribute your product. This can include knowing the demographics and purchasing habits of the consumers in that location.

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How to use a promotional mix

These steps offer suggestions on how to use a promotional mix:

  1. Establish your target audience.

  2. Create advertisements.

  3. Use public relations.

  4. Utilize sales promotion.

  5. Consider direct marketing.

1. Establish your target audience

You should consider determining your target audience before you begin any promotion. There are several factors to consider such as age, sex and income. Effective campaigns take into consideration your most likely consumers.  

For example, consider whether your product caters more towards women or men. You can also estimate how far people might travel to get your service so you can advertise within that radius. These steps can help you create a more defined target audience to make your promotional mix more effective.

2. Create advertisements

Advertising is any type of promotion or presentation of services, ideas and goods by a particular sponsor. This is a great way to communicate with a large number of people at once and is one of the most common ways to promote a product. Your company may dedicate a large part of its budget to advertising alone, including radio, magazines, television and newspapers.

You can work together with your team to figure out what type of advertising is best for you. If you are selling something locals would buy, the local newspaper can be a good option for ad placement. When selling a product anyone in the country can buy, you should consider placing ads in a few national magazines or on television to reach more people. Your team can create a variety of drafts for the ads until everyone agrees on the final one.

Related: 14 Types of Advertising

3. Use public relations

A company may use a public relations company to help their promotional mix and attempt to influence a certain group’s attitude toward their business. Public relations efforts often create and keep a positive image for a company while promoting it. Public relations targets specific groups of people including stockholders, employees, environmentalists, customers, residents or unions. You might work with them to inform them of any important details they should promote and who your target audience is.

There are a variety of activities that to consider, such as inviting consumers to view your product at a special showing. It is helpful to have someone in public relations, as they are in charge of creating lists of people to email, communicating with potential buyers and answering questions the public might have about your service. These steps can help create a successful event where they promote your product and may get people to purchase it.

4. Utilize sales promotion

Sales promotion prompts consumers to quickly decide on your service. It involves non-routine and short-term incentives like price reduction sales, coupons, rebates or special deals like buy-one-get-one-free to motivate consumers and dealers to purchase what you are selling.

An example of a sales promotion is offering a certain percentage off the total price if someone buys your product within a set period of time. You can communicate these deals to consumers with online or print advertisements. The promotion could be a coupon code that offers 15% off the product when a customer purchases it between certain dates.

Related: Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales: What's the Difference?

5. Consider direct marketing

Another part of a promotional mix is direct marketing, which is used to deliver a service or message. This method has grown in popularity over the years since it saves time and money for companies. 

Several ways you may use direct marketing include mailing advertisements to potential customers, going door-to-door to sell your service or having a kiosk in a shopping center to promote your product. This type of marketing can make the experience more pleasant and personal for consumers.

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