What the 5 Components of Promotion Mean to Entrepreneurs

We previously talked about the 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix. One of the P’s, “Promotion,” is a fundamental prerequisite of your product or service offering: your prospective customer must find out about your offer. For most of us, that will happen by promoting ourselves or our offers using a variety of different avenues while giving customers a very consistent view of ourselves — consistency facilitates the credibility of the offer. Also providing credibility, as well as producing excellent results for entrepreneurs, is communicating your value proposition through these five components of the promotional mix.

Advertising

Advertising is the first place we tend to look for our promotion needs because of its potentially wide reach, but for that reason it’s also usually the most expensive option. This is especially true when advertising online and trying to win a keywords auction against large corporations with deep pockets and a high bid ceiling. The digital age has greatly expanded the number of advertising options and allows for nearly real-time testing and performance optimization, which are crucial to getting more bang for your advertising buck.

Personal selling

Personal selling is essentially selling directly to another person. It may incorporate elements of both marketing and sales and is very useful for large ticket items, but not so much so for low margin items. In my experience with personal selling, it helps to know and play into your own strengths, all while having needed knowledge of your prospect and your product. That’s why, before embarking on a personal selling campaign, it’s helpful to conduct research into your ideal prospect or a similar persona.

Sales promotion

Sales promotion is using a sense of urgency and enticement to let customers know about your offers. For small businesses, it’s important to build credibility before a sales promotion; otherwise, you’ll have to deal with that “too good to be true” feeling the prospect may have.

Public relations

Public relations is not normally associated with promotion, but the careful and consistent sculpting of your public image builds credibility, which is crucial for most small startups. Small, local news outlets and bloggers — who are always looking for new content — are great places to start executing your public relations strategy.

Direct marketing

Direct Marketing is often a four-letter word with your prospective customers, but businesses continue to use it because it works. Essentially an outbound channel, it includes direct mail, email and even phone sales, though the latter is objectionable for some. In my personal experience, I believe most small, underfunded startups should at least consider a direct marketing strategy, if the research bears it out.

You don’t have to use every possible manner of promotion, but definitely experiment to see what works best for you and your business. As a solopreneur, you don’t have to go solo. We can help fill out the roles you’d like to delegate.

3 Marketing Strategy and Mix Questions Entrepreneurs Should be Able to Answer

I’ll try not to put you to sleep too quickly with this one, but Marketing Strategy and Marketing Mix — and how they are related — are very important concepts that entrepreneurs need to understand when building startups.

Marketing Strategy is your long-term approach to how you plan to achieve and sustain your competitive advantage. It includes definitions of your ideal or target customer, your value proposition, and your key brand and marketing messages. Marketing Mix is also known as the 4 P’s (Price, Product, Place and Promotion) and is the foundation of marketing. They are related in that you will use the tactics in the marketing mix to implement and achieve your marketing strategy, adjusting as needed for different situations. Answering the three questions below will help ensure you’ve covered all necessary points in both your marketing strategy and marketing mix.

1. Do you have a set of long-term, high-level marketing strategy goals and a direction you’re committed to?

Don’t worry if you don’t have your complete marketing strategy in place yet, as it can change and evolve. But as long as you have the overall strategy in mind, you can more easily share it with teammates, partners and investors, for example. It helps to transfer our long-term entrepreneurial vision from our brain to others’.

If you need help formulating the strategy, you don’t need an MBA; a simple SWOT analysis will do. See our article on SWOT analysis if you need to know more.

2. Have you identified the 4 P’s for your business?

For example:

•    Price: What price point are you targeting and why?

•    Product: How is your product best described using common attributes?

•    Place: Where can your product be found? How easy is it to get to?

•    Promotion: How will your customers find out about your product or service?

Again, no one is holding your feet to the fire here if you don’t follow through, but the goal is to show intent and to focus your vision.

3. Can you connect your long-term marketing strategy from question one to the operating decisions in question two to come up with a seamless marketing plan?

Personally, I find this is a great question to answer if you’re unsure about your next marketing steps, or if you need to share with third parties such as partners or investors.

Understanding these basic terms and answering these questions can really help you focus and communicate your vision as an entrepreneur. Marketing and sales are crucial components of any startup, so it helps to use this structure to think about your marketing strategy early on. As a solopreneur, you don’t have to go solo. We can help fill out the roles you’d like to delegate.