Sales promotion: how to optimize your communication policy?
Attracting customers' attention to the product or service, boosting sales, building a positive image around the brand or company, encouraging purchases... These are the main objectives of the promotion mix, also known as the "communication policy". An essential component of the marketing mix, the promotion mix encompasses all the communication actions that a company can adopt to promote its product or service.
For a company, making sales without promoting its offers is very complicated nowadays. Sales promotion is indeed an essential marketing tool in the commercial dynamics of today's companies. A dynamic that can be summarised as follows: "Attracting" the customer to the product through sales promotion, not "pushing" the product to the customer through advertising.
How to use the promotional mix to boost sales? What are the keys to an effective promotion optimization? How to optimise your sales promotion?
Before answering these questions, we invite you to a brief reminder of the 4Ps of the marketing mix.
What are the 4Ps of the marketing mix?The marketing mix, with its 4P policies (Product, Price, Promotion and Place), constitutes an essential framework for the implementation of an effective commercial strategy within any company wishing to acquire customers in the long term. Thanks to the four variables of the 4Ps, the company manager can carry out a complete analysis of the different levers at his disposal to elaborate their commercial strategy and to successfully market his products and/or services. In short, the 4Ps are designed to help the company achieve its commercial objectives.
The 4Ps, four pillars of the marketing mix, are as follows:
- the product policy;
- the price policy;
- the communication policy (Promotion);
- the distribution policy (Place).
The 4Ps must be compatible, coherent and complementary. And this, even if they do not have to have the same degree of importance. The importance of each pillar varies according to the nature of the offer and the company's sector of activity.
Note that the primary function of the "4p marketing" is to design a strategy adapted to your company's target and means.
Good to know: in order to adapt to changes in consumer habits, consumer expectations and the relationship between companies and their customers, the marketing mix, which is now over 60 years old, continues to evolve. From 4P, it has evolved to 5P, 7P, 8P, 9P and even 10P.
Use the promotion mix to boost sales
The promotion mix or communication policy: what is it?
An essential component of the marketing mix, the communication policy (or promotion mix) refers to all possible communication measures that make it possible to make the product or service known to the target clientele. From this point of view, it defines:
- the right messages to contribute to the commercial success of the offer;
- the best communication tools to adopt;
- the most effective distribution and sales channels to reach the targets directly.
The messages disseminated can serve one or more of the following communication objectives: recruiting new customers, retaining existing customers, increasing sales, gaining notoriety, etc.
Promotional mix: the different communication tools and tactics
Among the communication tools and tactics most commonly adopted by companies to promote their products and services are:
- sales promotion;
- direct marketing;
- digital marketing
- mobile marketing;
- inbound marketing or content marketing;
- public relations.
The most appropriate communication tools, as well as the messages to be disseminated, must be chosen according to the product or service, the company's sector of activity, the target audience, the competition, the company's strategic objectives and its positioning strategy in the targeted market segment.
The different communication channels
Companies and businesses (offline and online) can choose from several types of communication channels to promote their brand and their offers:
- traditional media channels, such as print, radio, television, cinema and billboard advertising;
- online media channels, such as online press, blogging, podcasting (audio and video), online advertising (Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads), live streams (successors to cinema) and social media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.);
- traditional non-media channels, including telephone, SMS, postal mail, mail order catalogs and events;
- online non-media channels, also known as "digital channels", such as websites (including e-commerce stores), mobile applications, marketplaces, e-mailing, newsletters, chat rooms, trade shows and web events, and private sales.
However, it is important to know that not all contact channels are equal. Indeed, the nature and quantity of customer data collected varies according to the channel. For example, if you want to collect precise and valuable information on prospects in order to qualify them, direct contact by telephone is far better for this task than digital channels. Digital channels, on the other hand, are by far the best choice for attracting and processing a large volume of leads (or as yet unqualified prospects).
The choice of a sales channel will depend on several parameters: the company's commercial objectives, its offer, its target clientele, its budget, the competition.
Communication strategies: multi-channel, omni-channel or cross-channel?During their buying journey (which can last from a few days to several months), the vast majority of leads, prospects and customers make several interactions on multiple channels before completing their purchase(s).
Therefore, in order to reach a maximum number of consumers, the vast majority of companies, if not all companies, choose to broadcast their messages on different sales channels. Companies have several strategies to choose from in this regard:
- Omnichannel strategy: this involves merging all sales channels into a single order management system, but it is a costly strategy;
- The cross-channel strategy: here, the company focuses on making the user's journey from one channel to another more fluid;
- The multi-channel strategy: each channel is independent, with the company using one channel independently of the others, without linking the brand's channels. This is costly and logistically difficult to manage.
But be careful! If you want to use multiple sales channels at the same time, make sure you can effectively track all orders and manage inventory in relation to each channel. In other words, avoid selling on multiple channels if you don't think you can keep track of an order or manage the incoming flow of orders.
How to optimize your sales promotion?
The different forms of commercial promotionsAn important and common business practice, sales promotion is one of the most common communication tools and tactics adopted by companies to promote their products and services.
There are several sales promotion techniques. Here are some of them:
- sales with a direct or deferred bonus, or with a product bonus in addition;
- games such as lotteries, quizzes and contests;
- price reductions through, among other things, coupons and vouchers;
- trials and sampling.
There are many promotional opportunities, the best known being Spring Days, seasonal private sales, summer and winter sales, or Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the fall.
The keys to effective promotion optimization
A promotional campaign can be conducted at each stage of a product or service's life cycle, namely:
- during its market launch, to attract customers;
- during its growth phase, to increase sales;
- during its maturity phase, to boost demand;
- at the end of the product's life, to liquidate inventory.
To optimize the effectiveness of a promotional campaign, it is recommended to :
- determine promotions according to the target clientele;
- give priority to flash promotions, which create a state of urgency that encourages Internet users to buy immediately;
- use promotions on secondary products (also called cross-selling);
- choose the right sales channels for your target customers;
- adapt to multi-channel issues, i.e. adapt the marketing strategy to the type of sales channel;
- build loyalty with regular customers by sending them personalized promotions or rewards.
Thanks to Big Data and AI, it is now possible to identify not only the right level of discount to apply, but also the right type of promotion to run, all according to the strategic objectives set by the company.