The possible objectives for marketing promotions may include the following:
- Build Awareness – New products and new companies are often unknown to a market, which means initial promotional efforts must focus on establishing an identity. In this situation the marketer must focus promotion to: 1) effectively reach customers, and 2) tell the market who they are and what they have to offer.
- Create Interest – Moving a customer from awareness of a product to making a purchase can present a significant challenge. As we saw with our discussion of consumer and business buying behavior, customers must first recognize they have a need before they actively start to consider a purchase. The focus on creating messages that convince customers that a need exists has been the hallmark of marketing for a long time with promotional appeals targeted at basic human characteristics such as emotions, fears, sex, and humor.
- Provide Information – Some promotion is designed to assist customers in the search stage of the purchasing process. In some cases, such as when a product is so novel it creates a new category of product and has few competitors, the information is simply intended to explain what the product is and may not mention any competitors. In other situations, where the product competes in an existing market, informational promotion may be used to help with a product positioning strategy. As we discuss in the Targeting Markets Tutorial, marketers may use promotional means, including direct comparisons with competitor’s products, in an effort to get customers to mentally distinguish the marketer’s product from those of competitors.
- Stimulate Demand – The right promotion can drive customers to make a purchase. In the case of products that a customer has not previously purchased or has not purchased in a long time, the promotional efforts may be directed at getting the customer to try the product. This is often seen on the Internet where software companies allow for free demonstrations or even free downloadable trials of their products. For products with an established customer-base, promotion can encourage customers to increase their purchasing by providing a reason to purchase products sooner or purchase in greater quantities than they normally do. For example, a pre-holiday newspaper advertisement may remind customers to stock up for the holiday by purchasing more than they typically purchase during non-holiday periods.
- Reinforce the Brand – Once a purchase is made, a marketer can use promotion to help build a strong relationship that can lead to the purchaser becoming a loyal customer. For instance, many retail stores now ask for a customer’s email address so that follow-up emails containing additional product information or even an incentive to purchase other products from the retailer can be sent in order to strengthen the customer-marketer relationship.