Promotional Strategy

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There are various ways to communicate with potential customers. Promotional strategy includes a mix of advertising, publicity, sales promotions, personal selling, and public relations. Each component of the promotional mix plays a role in your effort to have potential customers learn about your business and buy your goods or services. Your promotional strategy must address the who, what, when, where, and how much money to spend.

The "Who" of Your Promotional Strategy

No business can be all things to all people, and no business has an unlimited amount of money to spend on its promotions. You will need to be sure you direct your effort and money to your target market.

The better you can identify who is in your target market, where they live, what magazines and newspapers they read, what television stations they watch, and what radio stations they listen to, the higher the probability that you will be able to get their attention and influence their behavior. If you can identify your target market's demographics, then you can check the listenership, viewership, and readership profiles for various media, including local radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and television stations. For example, if you are opening a clothing store and the primary target market is teenage girls, then you should review the rating of radio listenership in your geographic area. Most radio stations have a copy of the ratings. You will be able to determine which radio station has the highest listenership in that age category. The A. C. Nielsen rating service does the same for television viewership.

The "What" of Your Promotional Strategy

The "what" involves determining the message you should communicate to your target market. Your promotional strategy is intended to take people who may have varying degrees of interest in your type of goods and services and get them to become your customers. You will need to know who they are, who they are currently buying from, why they are buying the goods and services, and to what extent they are still "customers in search of a business."

Your promotional strategy is intended to get the people in your target market to modify their behavior. The "message" you send to the people in your target market must be tailored to their mental frameworks. Your message must also provide the incentive for them to do business with you. Your promotional strategy should be based on: (1) Who do you want to influence? (2) What do you have to offer them that is better than the competition? and (3) What do I need to communicate to them to get them to become my customers?

Your promotional strategy should emphasize your competitive advantage(s). Successful promotional strategies are based on the concept, "If everyone is offering a steak, then you must sell your sizzle!" You must know what your target market values. Your strategy should highlight your business's "unique selling points/propositions."

The "When" of Your Promotional Strategy

There are four major intervals for promoting your business. The first is preening promotion. It is very important for a new business to generate customer interest before your business opens its doors. You want your target market to be anxious for your business to open. Some businesses do "teaser" advertising. A teaser ad may be, "the countdown has begun; there are only 60 days until Company of Miami opens." This business may do teaser advertising by erecting a sign where the business will be located.

Your business will also need to provide ongoing promotions. Your existing customers will need to be kept informed about developments in your business. You will also need to let potential customers learn about your business and its sizzle. Most new businesses tend to have a token grand opening promotion and do little after that. You need to develop an ongoing promotional program that will keep your business in your target market's minds. If the world doesn't...
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