Marketing vs. Promotion – Guidelines for Success

Businesses use various marketing and promotion tactics to generate brand awareness and convert prospects into buying customers. Many of these businesses tend to use the terms marketing and promotion interchangeably. Are they correct in doing so? If not, what is the difference between the two?

In this article, we delve into the marketing vs. promotion conundrum to provide answers to these questions and more. Let’s start by explaining marketing and promotion and looking at what makes them unique.

What is Marketing?

Marketing brings buyers and sellers together through the development, execution, and control of business activities. Successful marketing requires identifying and forecasting your customers’ needs and picking the best way to satisfy those needs.

Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, you need to consider the following when developing a marketing strategy:

  • Orientation: It outlines how a business delivers services to target customers and how the marketing team operates. Most businesses have an orientation based on their company culture and philosophy.
  • Mix: A company’s marketing mix guides the process of formulating and executing a marketing strategy. Most modern companies use a marketing mix that prioritizes customers, cost, communication, and convenience (also called the four Cs).
  • Ecosystem: A business’s ecosystem consists of every element that affects how a company develops and executes its marketing strategy. The elements may be internal (such as employees and management) or external (government, competitors, and consumers).
  • Market: The target market is the group of people whose needs a company seeks to satisfy. You can isolate a target market according to the location, gender, age, and other demographics.

Identifying and understanding these four factors helps a company develop a marketing strategy that delivers desired results and maximizes revenue.

Types of Marketing

Marketing channels originally only included TV, mail, print, telephone, and word of mouth. Businesses could use one or more of these tactics to connect with customers and promote their brand. Technological advancements have introduced quicker, less costly, and more accurate marketing tactics, such as:

  • Digital Marketing: This involves using electronic or online means to communicate with consumers. The target audience will see the marketing campaign on their mobile devices or computers. Common types of digital marketing include content marketing (blogging or guest posts), paid marketing on search engines, and email marketing.
  • Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves connecting with prospects via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social platforms. You can perform free marketing on social media by regularly posting or pay an influencer to market your brand. Influencers are people who connect brands with their large followership in exchange for compensation.
  • Global Marketing: Multinationals use global marketing to share a consistent marketing message with prospects and actual customers across the globe.
  • Relationship Marketing: This is an effective strategy for building long-term relationships with customers. It involves developing a personal relationship with a customer and tailoring services to ensure consumer happiness and a loyal customer base. Relationship marketing provides brands with useful customer feedback to continuously improve their offerings.

Besides helping businesses connect with clients, modern marketing strategies simplify gathering relevant consumer insights. Insights such as customer needs, wants, and buying behaviors provide valuable information for improving products and customer outreach.

What are Promotions in Marketing?

Promotions influence consumers to buy products as quickly as possible. These usually come with an incentive, such as a lower price or a free offering. Also, promotions typically have time limits, which create a sense of urgency in buyers.

Promotions can be for a product, service, or brand. Promotional advertisements can target customers through paid or free channels. Properly executed promotions can cause a sudden increase in online or physical store traffic and sales. Businesses can also break into new markets and acquire new customers by launching a promotion.

However, the sudden rise in customer activity typically dies down once the promotion ends. Running a promotion strategy is usually inexpensive, meaning companies can provide promotional offers multiple times in a year.

Other benefits of a successful promotion campaign include:

  • Trigger increased customer demand for your products or services
  • Create awareness about new products or services or remind customers about an existing product
  • Quickly sell old inventory before it expires or loses its value
  • Improve customer perception of your business
  • Retain existing customers

Most companies typically run one promotional offer at a time, but it’s not unusual to see large retail stores run multiple promotional campaigns at once.

Types of Promotion

Below are common types of promotions used in the retail industry:

  • Free Shipping/Free Returns: Many major retailers use this promotion tactic to increase customers’ eagerness to shop. Free returns are especially tempting because they provide shoppers the assurance that they can return unsatisfactory products without hassle.
  • Discounted Products: This is the most popular form of promotion. Since every customer loves a bargain, offering discounts will keep your customers interested and returning for more. To avoid losing too much revenue, it’s best if small to medium-sized businesses offer discount prices only occasionally.
  • Flash Sale: This is a promotional offer that lasts for a short time. The limited timeframe creates a sense of urgency among shoppers, making it ideal for increasing traffic and sales quickly. Flash sales are also effective for getting rid of surplus stock. Note that a flash sale won’t work if you don’t promote it enough to bring it to your customers’ attention.
  • Buy More & Save More: This offer influences shoppers to buy more with the promise of a discount if they spend more. Like flash sales, this type of promotion can help sell excess stock or other inventory quickly.
  • Product Giveaways: Reward customers with free products when they spend a certain amount or fulfill other requirements. The gifted product doesn’t need to be pricey—branded t-shirts, key chains, and pens are sufficient. Branding the gift also serves as free advertising wherever the customer takes and uses the product.
  • Loyalty Points: Reward regular customers with loyalty points, which they can cash in as a discount or redeem as other prizes. Knowing they can get a reward if they keep shopping will motivate shoppers to keep returning.
  • Coupon Giveaway: Send virtual coupons to customers who receive your newsletters. It’ll keep the recipients enthusiastic about future emails from your company.
  • Competitions: Ask shoppers to sign up for a raffle draw or other type of competition. This will generate buzz about your business and increase email subscribers if you make it a requirement to participate.

Branding vs. Promotion vs. Marketing

Branding, marketing, and promotion are all ways to improve brand awareness and attract customers. However, each works differently, and knowing the difference can help you create a business strategy that fits your goals and needs.

Branding is your company’s personality and influences how your target customers perceive your products and organization. When you do branding correctly, it can inspire long-term customer loyalty and commitment.

Some of the elements consumers and other stakeholders use to identify your brand include color, slogan, company name, and logo. Incorporating these elements into your marketing strategies will help prospects and customers tell when a marketing message comes from you.

Marketing uses various strategies to create awareness about your company’s products and services. Every message your company directs to its customers, be it a social media post, printed material, or anything else that contains your brand imagery, is a form of marketing. That means promotions are a form of marketing.

What is the difference between marketing and promotion?

Marketing and promotions work together. Promotions get customers’ attention and influence them to take the actions you want, such as purchasing a product or subscribing. Their primary goal is to help you generate sales quickly.

Marketing manages your image and ensures prospects and existing customers see your brand in a positive light. Another form of marketing is advertising, which also helps attract new customers and drive sales. Unlike promotions, which can be free, businesses typically must pay to put up advertisements online and offline.

In a nutshell, marketing covers a broader range of activities to improve customer relationships, sell products, and manage brand image. Promotions are a form of marketing that utilizes specific tactics to attract prospects, reward loyal customers, or increase sales. While marketing is ongoing and constantly changing to fit customers’ ever-evolving needs, promotions are short-term and time-specific.

Marketing vs. Promotion: Which Strategy is Best for Promoting Your Business?

Several marketing techniques are available for keeping your brand relevant and customers returning to your store. The right tactic for your company depends on your organization’s size, target audience, and goals.

Among all the marketing tactics, promotion is one of the most effective and inexpensive for increasing sales and generating almost instant buzz about your brand. If you need help setting up promotions or implementing other marketing strategies that fit your goals, talk to Gold Promotion.

Our digital marketing agency has years of experience delivering performance-focused solutions that boost brand awareness, traffic, and leads for companies within various industries. Contact us today for a consultation and discover how our experts can help you outperform your competitors.

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