Promotional marketing can allude to a number of interpretations. There are four Ps to marketing; price, promotions, placement and product. The "promotions" P is what is generally thought of as "marketing". However, the promotions aspect of the four Ps is further broken down into a communication mix known as Integrated Marketing Communication, IMC, which also contains a promotional aspect. Promotional marketing can also refer to the job associated with promotional marketing or a business's promotional marketing activities.
General Promotional Marketing
This definition, from the promotions P of the four Ps of marketing, describes promotions as all types of publicity designed to inform and persuade consumers. This type of marketing is centred on communication, and is often described as part of IMC. IMC has five basic components: advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing and sales promotion. Each component of IMC is described as either paid or unpaid and either mass or customised. For example; advertising is paid mass marketing, direct marketing is paid customised marketing and public relations is unpaid mass marketing.
This definition is taken form the promotions aspect of the IMC. In IMC terms, promotional marketing is unpaid mass marketing. Promotional marketing might include sales, trials, coupons or samples. It's considered unpaid even though the promotions cost money because no media outlet gets paid for the marketing activity. This type of promotional marketing is undertaken to promote quick increases in sales or to spur sudden interest in a product. Sometimes, marketers are reluctant to use sales promotions because lower prices or free samples could lower the value of the brand in the mind of the consumer.
Promotional Marketing as a Job
Promotional marketing can refer to jobs related to advertising and marketing management. Marketing promotions managers combine the advertising and sales promotions aspects of the IMC to create sales promotions marketed on a mass scale. The platform for the advertising can be in-store displays, direct mail, newspaper inserts or Internet advertising. Promotional marketers use these advertising platforms to inform consumer about various buying incentives including coupons, contests, discounts, gifts or samples.
Promotional Marketing Activities
Numerous marketing activities fall into the various categories of promotional marketing, occasionally overlapping definitions. "Buy one get one free" -- BOGOF -- is a sales promotional activity and a general promotion if advertised. Customer Relationship Management, CRM, promotional activities include bonus point and coupon cards that encourage customer to repeat a behaviour. Other promotional marketing activities include merchandising, joint promotions in which two or more brands are combined in a single promotion, vouchers, charity related additions to products -- i.e. breast cancer awareness pens -- and prize-draws such as raffles.