The Promotional Mix is the combination of specific tactics a company uses to communicate with its customers. In the 7Ps Marketing Mix Model the promotional mix is one of the most vital components of a complete marketing strategy. The communication channels that you choose will be based on the audience that you’re trying to reach.
If your customers are on Facebook, then you should incorporate Facebook advertising and social posting into your promotional mix. If your clients don’t have a physical mailing address, then you probably shouldn’t try to reach them through the mail. These examples are simple of course, but they do illustrate an important point: You don’t choose your communication channels, your customers do.
Today there is so many different channels, technologies, and strategies that you can incorporate into your promotional mix. So let’s break down the various parts of a promotional mix to better understand its place in your company’s overall marketing strategy. By communicating to your target audience in the right place, at the right time, and with the right message you might just turn that prospect into a lead.
The anatomy of an effective promotional mix
Like we said earlier, the promotional mix is concerned with reaching your customers through the proper channels so that you can communicate your brand’s message to them. Channels are broken into three categories:
- Paid: A channel that you have to pay for to promote your message. Examples include Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, etc.
- Owned: A channel that you create and control. Examples include Your website, your blog, your podcast, etc.
- Earned: A channel that you have won the right to be featured on. Examples include Forums, news outlets, review sites, etc.
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Once you know what kind of channel you want to promote on you’ll need to decide what type of communication will be most effective to accomplish your marketing objective. There are four different types of communications you can use in your promotional mix:
1- Advertisements: Probably the most fundamental form of marketing communication. Ads can be used to build awareness around a product, inform customers when it’s the right time to buy, or just direct them to a place where they can get more information. These types of communications are best suited for paid channels and targeting customers in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.
2- Public Relations: Maintaining a healthy relationship with your audience is so important for the long-term success of your company. PR messages are any communication which improves your business’s image in the eyes of your target audience. These kinds of messages can be anything from donating to charity, to giving discounts to veterans. PR communications are for late-stage prospects or existing customers and are most effective when they come from earned channels like news sites.
3- Sales promotions: These are tipping point communications that can help a prospect convert if their only issue was the price. Any sale, price reduction, or deal should be categorized under this type of communication. These are late-stage tactics and are useful in paid and owned channels.
4- Branding: Keeping your brand’s image consistent is a difficult task, but the rewards will eventually outweigh the investment. Branding communications are any message that differentiates you from your competition. These messages need to be interlaced with all other communications in your promotional mix. As such they are active in all channels and should be continuously reiterated at all stages of the buyer’s journey.
Your company’s particular blend of marketing messages and the channels in which you place them is a science. One company that is continuously improving their promotional mix is Airbnb. They rebranded with their Bélo symbol and spoke to their customers on a level that’s beyond that of a traditional travel company. Through PR campaigns that offer rentals for free during emergencies, to advertising that consistently reaches the right people, Airbnb has their promotional mix down pat. Everything that they do starts with an intrinsic understanding of not only who their customers are, but who their customers want to be. Their promotions are designed to make people feel like they’re doing something more than just renting a space, they’re helping to reshape the world.
The promotional mix is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Learn how a good promotional mix fits into your inbound marketing strategy by reading our post: Inbound Marketing Guide For SaaS Companies. An excellent promotional mix is so much more than the sum of its components. Your audience and your company are both made up of people, get these two groups talking. Finding the best way to speak with your customers is what the promotional mix is all about. By communicating the right marketing messages to your audience, at the right time, in the right place, you maximize the chance of them being effective. How you promote your company, and its products will dictate how successful your marketing campaigns are and help you stay on top of your brand image.