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What Is Promotional Marketing?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Images By: Tyler Olson, Alejandro Catalan, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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Promotional marketing is the business strategy and tactics used to drive consumer interaction with a product. It is one element in the four-part marketing mix that outlines how a product is positioned for sale to consumers. This type of marketing is implemented according to a promotional plan, which can include advertising, publicity, sales promotions, direct marketing, and personal selling.

Marketing is key to the success of a business. It represents the way a company has chosen to bring its products to the attention of consumers. Large companies tend to conduct their marketing efforts strategically according to a written marketing plan. That plan will address how product features, price, promotion, and distribution should be combined into a marketing mix to obtain the highest profile and profitability for the product with the most economical allocation of resources.

Promotional marketing is an element of the marketing mix that comprises the tangible actions the company will take to bring a product to the attention of consumers. Promotions are divided into above and below the line activities. All advertising is an above the line activity. It is considered above the line because it is the most conventional type of promotion and treats large groups of consumers in the same way. All other promotional activity is considered below the line because these activities employ unconventional methods designed to capture smaller pockets of targeted consumers.

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Below the line promotional marketing includes publicity, sales promotions, personal selling, and direct marketing. This list is not exhaustive, however. Marketing is able to adapt and birth unconventional approaches as innovative people think up new ways to engage consumers. The common feature for below the line promotions is the targeted approach at as small a functional level as possible.

There are many common examples of below the line marketing, including product giveaways at local supermarkets. The marketing department might sponsor local special events to highlight a new product launch. A company might also throw a new product launch party to generate publicity. Readers of a certain magazine might receive a coupon for a product inside the book.

Promotional marketing is the allocation of the marketing department's promotions budget to above and below the line activities. Every activity must be designed to meet one of the core marketing objectives. Promotions must either educate consumers about the product, increase demand, or differentiate the product from other products on the market.

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