Promotion is the explicit communication strategy adopted by an enterprise to elicit the patronage, loyalty, and support not only from its customers but also from its other significant stakeholders.
Promotion encompasses all the direct communication efforts of the enterprise, such as advertising, public relation campaigns, promotional tours, product offerings, point-of-sale displays, websites, flyers, emails, letters, telemarketing, and others. Indirectly, the enterprise communicates through the quality of its products and attractiveness of its packaging. It also communicates indirectly through the services rendered by its people. It likewise communicates indirectly through its location, its office premises and branches, and its pricing strategy.
Effective promotion depends on three critical factors: the credibility of the communicator; the message and the medium of the message; and the receptiveness of the audience to all that is being communicated.
Before crafting promotion and communication strategy, the communicator must profile the target audience very well. In business, this requires some research on who exactly is the market audience, what they are looking for in a particular product offering, and what it will take to convince them to purchase the product offering.
For a business promoter, it is important to get a very positive emotional reaction from the target audience. All messages must make an impact on the target audience—sensory, emotional, and intellectual impact at that. Therefore, all messages must start from where the customers are, not from where the enterprise is. The only exception is when the enterprise has gained so much credibility and loyalty from the audience that anything it says is taken as gospel truth.
In developing a promotion campaign, the enterprise should start with the target audience in mind.
At the beginning of its operations, the enterprise may have a very limited market to cover. The narrower the market coverage is, the more focused the promotion campaign should be. Neighborhood flyers, word-of-mouth promotion, and house-to-house campaigns might suffice for highly-localized businesses. For niche markets like vintage car enthusiasts or rare orchid growers, trade magazines and active participation in special trade shows would be more effective in directly reaching this exclusive audience. For the marketing of corporate services like advertising, business-process outsourcing and management seminars, it is best to find contact persons, write letters customized to the needs of the targeted corporate market, and make impressive face-to-face presentations.
As the targeted audience becomes bigger, the marketer can shift from a rifle to a shotgun approach. Electronic mails, websites, letter blasts, radio broadcasts, and print ads in certain publications might serve the purpose.
For mass markets, television commercials, ubiquitous billboards, and high-circulation broadsheets, magazines or tabloids would already be cost effective and create quite an impact. The idea is to match the size of the market with the medium used and the resources of the enterprise. The enterprise should monitor the impact of its promotion campaigns.
Case Example: Ayala Group’s Credibility as Communication Strategy
The Ayala Group has been able to build tremendous credibility in over a century of service to the Filipino people. Their bank, the Bank of the Philippine Islands, is a conservative, safe but growing financial institution with a tremendous following from corporations, high net worth individuals, and ordinary depositors. Its Ayala Land offerings sell upscale lots and condominiums like hot cakes. Buyers know that Ayala can deliver quality properties and that these properties would be able to gain market value easily. Ayala’s reputation in building Makati City has spilled over to its numerous commercial centers and high-class subdivisions in many key locations. All Ayala has to do in its promotion campaign is to announce that it is ‘Ayala’ building the property and the people will buy.