Marketers have at their disposal four major methods of promotion. Taken together these comprise the promotion mix. In this section a basic definition of each method is offered while in the next section a comparison of each method based on the characteristics of promotion is presented.
Involves non-personal, mostly paid promotions often using mass media outlets to deliver the marketer’s message. While historically advertising has involved one-way communication with little feedback opportunity for the customer experiencing the advertisement, the advent of computer technology and, in particular, the Internet has increased the options that allow customers to provide quick feedback.
Involves the use of special short-term techniques, often in the form of incentives, to encourage customers to respond or undertake some activity. For instance, the use of retail coupons with expiration dates requires customers to act while the incentive is still valid.
Also referred to as publicity, this type of promotion uses third-party sources, and particularly the news media, to offer a favorable mention of the marketer’s company or product without direct payment to the publisher of the information.
As the name implies, this form of promotion involves personal contact between company representatives and those who have a role in purchase decisions (e.g., make the decision, such as consumers, or have an influence on a decision, such as members of a company buying center). Often this occurs face-to-face or via telephone, though newer technologies allow this to occur online via video conferencing or text chat.
Each of these methods will be covered in much greater detail in later tutorials.