The why and how of promotions

Harry Welby-Cooke.
Harry Welby-Cooke.

INDUSTRIAL-AGE thinking centred on producing great products, but placed little emphasis and value on marketing and promoting the products produced.

In the 21st century, companies have discovered the secret that true business success comes from understanding the needs and desires of a specific target market.

Over time, business leaders have worked out that it takes both good identification of what people need AND promoting their product, service and business in order to have a successful connection between a customer and a product.  

But how many businesses actually devote enough resources to promotion?

Promotion can be equated to furthering progress. Promotional activities are designed to bring in leads and involve activities such as publicity, advertising, sponsorship, direct mail, in-store signage, window displays and network functions, to name a few. There is nothing mystical about promoting a business, but there is immense value in getting it right.

Every step brings improvement

The greatest business people and marketers understand the concept of testing and measuring all their promotional activities. When testing and measuring, every step brings improvement and helps achieve a more successful outcome. If businesses approach their marketing expecting everything to work the first time, they’ll be disappointed when they discover it doesn’t.   

It is also important that when exploring how to best use promotions for their product that business owners don’t give up before they should. Marketing and promotions have certain rules, but it’s still largely a matter of trial and error, and the most effective tool for growing in this area is measurement and assessment. This allows businesses to develop a marketing strategy they know will produce results.

There is another concept I would like to introduce and which is often overlooked when valuing promotions: relationship. One of the most powerful results promotional campaigns bring to any business is the relationship that develops between the business and its target market. A good relationship means customers trust what a company says.

Where there is a good relationship between a customer and company, customers are more open to a variety of marketing messages and promotional campaigns become increasingly interactive.

Bigger brands, bigger promotions

When it comes to attracting customers, the only real difference between a small business and mega-brands such as Nike, Apple or McDonalds is bigger promotions.

Let’s look at why such well-known, successful brands spend millions on promotions. Despite Coca-Cola enjoying one of the highest levels of brand recognition in the world, it still invests huge amounts of money in promotional activities because if it didn’t, the company would lose vital ground to its opposition.

It’s all about top-of-mind awareness. Companies like Coca-Cola have been doing this for a very long time and they do it in a systematic way.

The key to successful promotion is consistency. It’s wise to develop promotion strategies that promote a business in a consistent, deliberate manner, and on a regular basis. It’s a planned activity – not something that just happens.

* Harry Welby-Cooke is a leading business and executive coach and South Africa’s master licensee for global franchise company ActionCOACH.

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