As an indication of the power of a successful marketing strategy, an internet search of “just do it” on a popular search engine like Google or Bing returns millions of results. Nike famously set itself apart from the competition with this three-syllable slogan — possibly the most profitable three words ever in advertising.
As every great slogan demonstrates, a successful marketing strategy gets the customer’s attention and builds brand awareness. But marketing is about more than a great slogan. Promotion is a fundamental component of what is known as the “marketing mix.” It is where communication comes into play.
At Northwest Missouri State University (Northwest), the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing includes an advanced marketing communication course. This course emphasizes the role of promotion, with a focus on customer relationship management (CRM), social media marketing, integrated marketing communication (IMC) and other contemporary strategies and tactics.
What Are the Four Ps?
Traditional marketing strategy is built around core components known as the four Ps.
Product — What goods or services is a company selling? What needs do they meet?
Price — What is the value of a particular product or service? How much will customers pay?
Place — Where can customers purchase the product or service? How will it be delivered to the market?
Promotion — Promotion is dependent on the other three “Ps.” Who needs the product or service? How can that audience best be reached? How can consumers be persuaded to pay a certain price?
What Is the Role of Promotion in Marketing Strategy?
Promotional activity — or the “promotional mix” — plays a central role in the marketing mix. The promotional mix is made up of four main elements: advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing. As noted above, promotions are an aspect of — and dependent on — the remaining four Ps, being product, price and place.
Together, these define the marketing goal that the promotional mix is designed to achieve. As explained by Indeed, the promotional mix comprises tools and tactics that marketing leaders “use to create meaning for their service or product and influence the public to buy it.”
Consider this simple scenario of a farmer who grows organic strawberries.
Product — Farm-fresh organic strawberries
Price — A price premium of $1.00 per pound over conventional strawberries, reflecting higher costs associated with growing organically
Place — Straight from the field to the farm stand, reflecting the perishable nature of the crop and higher profit margins when sold direct to consumer
Promotion — Leveraging perceived higher quality and the “eat local” movement — eating locally and seasonally while reducing the carbon footprint associated with conventional agriculture — and using tools like social media as well as direct marketing at the farm stand
What Are Some Contemporary Marketing Strategies and Tactics?
The traditional four Ps provide a marketing foundation. But marketing professionals must also keep up with rapid changes in technology. Northwest’s MBA in Marketing covers contemporary strategies and tactics, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, social media and integrated marketing communication (IMC). Here is a quick look at each:
CRM — CRM systems can make a dramatic difference in strategic marketing decisions. CRMs consolidate customer information and provide marketers with powerful analytics tools. Aggregated customer data and data-driven insight can make it much easier for marketers to get the right message to the right customer at the right time (personalized, as well).
Social Media — Social media is all about conversations, and it plays a key role in connecting with customers. Consumers increasingly use social media to make purchasing decisions. Marketing managers can incorporate social media with more traditional marketing strategies, using social listening and conversational analytics to better understand their customers, the market and potential opportunities. Social media also provides a perfect environment for promotion using direct selling, data-driven add campaigns and personalized content to deliver messages.
IMC — Businesses use integrated marketing communication to coordinate and align messaging and branding across all promotional tools and resources of a marketing campaign. The intent is to provide a consistent customer experience, regardless of the marketing channel, creating seamless customer interactions with the brand and the long-term relationship such consistency can foster.
Thinking about these contemporary strategies and tactics, does the time-tested marketing mix still matter? This is a topic that leads to much discussion, yet most marketing experts still see the 4 Ps as hugely relevant. The 4 Ps can be thought of as a road map to create value from understanding the wants and needs of customers. After all, what is a business without customers?
Learn more about Northwest’s online MBA in Marketing program.