Sales promotion - Sales Management

Integrated Approaches to Sales Promotion

Both advertising and direct sales promotional activities play a role in developing product markets, and may be targeted to one or more of the strategic areas illustrated in Figure, depending on your assessment of the priorities at the time. In this section I will focus on non- media sales promotion activity. Sales promotion activity is, in the main, shorter -term tactical weapon in the sales manager’s armoury.

Advertising is normally more costly than other forms of sales promotional activity and takes far longer to plan and develop. In general,advertising is used to support the main strategic thrust of the marketing programmed creating consumer/user awareness in the target market sectors, developing a brand image, assisting in the creation of market segmentation,and creating, developing or reinforcing consumer perceptions – all of which are aimed to expand sales within the target group, increasing penetration and market share.


At this point we should attempt to clarify our definitions of sales promotions and advertising.

  • Sales promotions can be considered as all supplementary selling and marketing activity that is neither direct media advertising nor direct selling, but which coordinates personal selling and advertising into an effective persuasive force.
  • Below the line promotions are normally considered as all non-media promotion,historically derived from promotional and advertising expenditures that were not subject to commission compared with above the line activity that was.
  • Advertising can be seen as all mainstream marketing communications promoting or concerning a product, normally subject to booking commissions, placed with mass media or specialist media, including television, cinema, radio, press, general and technical or specialist journals,posters, etc.

Using promotions in the marketing communications mix

Sales promotional activity is a key, flexible and, if well planned and managed, cost-effective means of communicating product information,benefits and other marketing messages to both the distributive trade channel sand users and consumers. The marketer should adopt an integrated approach, linking above and below the line promotional activities to complement and support each other in the communication mix, ensuring promotional activities geared to any one of the marketer’portfolio of product or brands are:

  • not in conflict with the objectives or activity supporting another product or brand at the same time period
  • supportive (in terms of objectives, focus and timing) of other mainstream marketing communications (e.g. media advertisements and campaigns) or brand publicity activity and objectives.

Advantages of sales promotions

The main advantages in using sales promotional activity, either alone or to support mainstream marketing activity and communications, are:

  • very flexible and adaptable in terms of tackling specific problems or supporting mainstream marketing communications Bata national or local level
  • capable of specific action through specific focus and structure
  • relatively short lead times to design and implement (compared with media communications)
  • often more easy to monitor the effect or tangible results
  • economical and cost saving, possibly with economies of scale
  • can be adapted to large and small markets,major or minor products or brands.

The key to successful use of a sales promotions to be very clear on its objective, and then design a promotion that is:

  • narrow in its focus of objectives
  • simple to comprehend and implement (by the salespersons responsible for implementation and participants)
  • simple to measure and monitor.


Figure illustrates the typical planned effect of a sales promotion. This assumes that the actual promotion is run for a limited time period, e.g. from time A to time B. If the promotions successful, then:

  • the promotion should increase sales above the level that would occur without a promotion
  • sales may remain higher than normal foursome period after a successful promotion particularly if new customers have been won to the brand.
  • the cost of the promotion can be compared with the additional gross sales revenue during and from the post-promotion period,and with the additional gross profit contribution from incremental sales during and in the post-promotion period.


A decision-making framework for evaluating promotion options

In order to ensure that the most suitable promotions selected to address an issue, problem or objective, a decision-making framework is developed in Figure. The sales manager might find it useful to adopt this framework when evaluating the options for his or her products, whether industrial or consumer goods.

Types of sales promotions

The type of sales promotional activity the sales manager and his or her marketing colleagues might choose will depend on the type of product being sold, the objectives of the promotion, and who is to be influenced by the promotion (trade buyer, user, consumer).

Consider which of the following types of promotion might offer potential for your products in the market sectors and trade channels, and adapt them as appropriate in the annual promotion planning activities.

The range of promotional activity illustrated in the foregoing list can be divided into those most suited to promoting sales through the various trade channels distributing the products, and those most suited to promoting sales to users or consumers. Some of the promotion formats are adaptable either to the push of sales through the trade or the pull of sales through consumer demand. Table illustrates the typical suitability of the various promotion formats for trade-push or consumer-pullpromotion objectives.

As a rule, an integrated sales promotion programme will run parallel to the main media communications programme, if one is in place, and support its objectives, but also works at a lower level on key tactical objectives,with a mixture of both ‘push’ and ‘pull’promotional activities. The example form shown in Table can help in identifying, listing and evaluating promotion options. Notes can be made under the various criteria relevant to selection of promotion.


Suitability-of-promotional-activity-to-trade-or-consumer-selling-(continued)Consumer Pull

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