Sales Promotion Tutorial

sales promotion tutorial

In a time when customers are exposed daily to a nearly infinite amount of promotional messages, many marketers are discovering that advertising alone is not enough to move members of a target market to take action, such as convincing them to try a new product. In addition, some marketers are finding that certain characteristics of their target market (e.g., small but geographically dispersed) or characteristics of their product (e.g., highly complex) make advertising a less attractive option.

Still for other marketers, the high cost of advertising may drive many to seek alternative, lower cost promotional techniques to meet their promotion goals. For these marketers, better results may be obtained using other promotional approaches and may lead to directing much of their promotional spending to non-advertising promotions.

In this section of our detailed Principles of Marketing Tutorials, we continue our discussion of promotion decisions by looking at a second promotion mix item: sales promotion. Sales promotions are used widely in many industries and especially by marketers selling to consumers. We will see that the objectives of sales promotion are quite different than advertising and are specifically designed to encourage customer response.

Classification of Sales Promotion

Sales promotion can be classified based on the primary target audience to whom the promotion is directed. These include:

  • Consumer Market Directed – Possibly the most well-known methods of sales promotion are those intended to appeal to the final consumer. Consumers are exposed to sales promotions nearly everyday, and as discussed later, many buyers are conditioned to look for sales promotions prior to making purchase decisions.
  • Trade Market Directed – Marketers use sales promotions to target a variety of customers, including partners within their channel of distribution. Resellers, who are often referred to as trade partners, are targets for the majority of such spending. Trade promotions are initially used to entice channel members to carry a marketer’s products and, once products are stocked, marketers utilize promotions to strengthen the channel relationship.
  • Business-to-Business Market Directed – A smaller subset of sales promotion is targeted to the business-to-business (B-to-B) market. While these promotions may not carry the glamour associated with consumer or trade promotions, B-to-B promotions are used in many industries.

An extensive discussion of different types of promotions for each classification can be found in our Types of Sales Promotion Tutorial.