Marketwired Blog

The 4Ps: Promotion I: advertising strategy and applications

By Angelica Moreno


True marketing involves the managing of a business and involves working through the 4Ps of Marketing on an ongoing basis. So far this series has examined Product, Place and Price.


Promotion is the 4th P of Marketing. It’s important to realize that promotion and advertising are quite distinct and serve different communication purposes. In order to properly address these differences, Promotion will be discussed over two sections. We will start with Advertising since that is most well known.


Advertising is often what many people assume marketing is all about – TV ads, print ads, radio spots, billboards, digital advertising but often this is simply not the case.  It is an important part of marketing because it is how an entire brand is communicated to consumers. The brand tone and personality should come to life in advertising.


Advertising does two things: raises awareness of either a brand or announces a new product innovation. Think back to the Olympic campaign by P&G. There was an ad focusing on the importance of moms in helping athletes achieve their Olympic dream. This ad was directed to raise awareness of P&G (in of of itself a powerful brand) and the range of P&G brands (often used by moms) by leveraging the Olympic partnership to create an emotional connection between the consumer and the Brand.


Innovation refers to either a brand extension (a new product within the brand) or a new ingredient designed to improve some aspect of the product. Think about the last commercial you saw for your preferred body wash or shampoo. It’s more than likely that this spot focused on a new ingredient.


Traditional advertising channels reach many people which is why they are effective and include TV, radio, print ads (magazines, newspapers), and out of home media (billboards, bus stops). The newer arena of the digital space can also be a powerful advertising vehicle. Think of the ads you see at the top of any website page or along the side.


As a small business owner, what makes sense for you? Well, if you are a new business or even an existing one, you’ll want to raise awareness that your business exist. There is no point in focusing your communication on new products or services if people don’t even know about your business. After that, your budget determines where you’ll spend your dollars. Given the high cost of TV, it might not make sense for you in the immediate future.


Radio is less expensive but it is still reaches a large audience. This works best if there are two or more locations to serve the broad listening audience or, if a business is to a level it can support a lot of new patrons.


Print ads on the other hand, can be significantly less expensive to create and to execute particularly when targeting specific geographical areas such as a specific community newspaper. This benefit can also hold true for out-of-home (OOH) advertising.


Billboards and transit ads such as ads on bus shelters, in subway stations or on buses themselves (maybe the one that runs next to your business) could be an option. These are an excellent way to reach consumers within a very specific geographic location. Just one well-placed bus shelter ad can be incredibly effective. That’s why real estate agents often use this medium.


More and more, businesses turn to the Internet in order to advertise and a good website is part of your advertising budget. Not only is it a piece of real estate online, if it is properly built, it should automatically help you stand out via Google search.


You can start small with a simple design but the key is to ensure it is built to optimize Google searches. This way, when someone Googles “Toronto pastry shop” or “Edmonton hair salon” your website rises up the top organically. There is also the opportunity to purchase advertising on Google, which you may want to explore depending on your budget. For instance, if your business is a restaurant focusing on dinner, you could look into buying advertising that only appears between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m., when people are actively looking for dinner locations. You could further specify that the ads only show up on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when people are most often going out for dinner. In terms of bang for your buck, digital can definitely be powerful. As your budget grows you can also look to create digital ads that appear on specific websites and that only appear to people whose IP address is close to you. What is possible in this medium is truly incredible.


If you are considering advertising, bear in mind that the design is best left to the professionals. Remember the overall objective is to raise awareness; just one point should be communicated – your business. More is not better especially when it comes to text so keep it simple. You will also need to set aside a budget for that as well as for purchasing the actual space or location. There’s no need to be intimidated by advertising but it is important not to rush it or try to squeeze multiple messages in one ad.


It may very well be the case that either you or your business isn’t quite ready for advertising. We will cover promotions in the next section and how that could be a better fit.


Angelica Moreno is a marketing professional who has managed the well-known household brands Becel, Hellmann’s and Sensodyn

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