Promotion: Message Flow and Interaction Type

Message Flow: One-Way vs. Two-Way

Promotions can be classified based on whether the message source enables the message receiver to respond with immediate feedback. Such feedback can then be followed with further information exchange between both parties. Most efforts at mass promotion, such as television advertising, offer only a one-way information flow that does not allow for easy response by the message receiver. However, many targeted promotions, such as using a sales force to promote products, allow message recipients to respond immediately to information from the message sender.

Interaction Type: Personal vs. Non-Personal

Promotions involving real people communicating with other people is considered personal promotion. While salespeople are a common and well understood type of personal promotion, another type of promotion, called controlled word-of-mouth promotion (a.k.a., buzz marketing), has evolved as a form of personal promotion. Unlike salespeople who attempt to obtain an order from customers, controlled word-of-mouth promotion uses real people to help spread information about a product but is not designed to directly elicit orders.

One key advantage personal promotions have is the ability for the message sender to adjust the message as they gain feedback from message receivers (i.e., two-way communication). So, if a customer does not understand something in the initial message (e.g., doesn?t fully understand how the product works), the person delivering the message can adjust the promotion to address questions or concerns. Many non-personal forms of promotion, such as a television and radio advertisement, are inflexible, at least in the short-term, and cannot be easily adjusted to address questions that arise by the audience experiencing the ad.