What is promotional marketing?: Defined, informed, and strategized

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Promotional marketing is a collection of meaningful actions that drive knowledge about a brand, product, or service. Businesses use promotional marketing to ensure their target audience is aware of a particular product or service to increase overall brand awareness, but also sales.

How are marketing and promotion processes different?

While they may sound the same, there is a clear difference between these processes.

Marketing: Generic marketing is used to assess the need for a product in a certain market, and the best possible way to reach an audience. This research allows businesses to tailor their product in a way that best suits the market and customer.

Example of generic marketing: A new fashion retailer wants to create athleisure clothing for men aged 14 – 21. In order to create a desirable line of clothing, the retailer must understand successful styles and colors associated with that particular demographic. By using market research methods the retailer can tailor their clothing to best meet the wants and needs of the target market.

Promotion: Promotion is the process businesses use to get a product or service in front of the desired target market, to inform them it exists, increasing demand and competitor differentiation. Part of the ‘4 P’s of Marketing’ (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) this process must work in tandem with the other P’s in order to be successful and convey the necessary information for customers to make a purchase decision, this can be for a new or existing customer base.

Example of promotion: The fashion retailer now has its line of clothing and is ready to go to market. To successfully create desirability for the new line, the retailer must use the information collected about their target audience to use relevant shopping and marketing channels to increase brand awareness. For this target audience, the retailer should choose to use social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok for their geographical and demographic-based targeting.

Types of promotional marketing


The world of advertising is a great way to make a brand stand out. By placing relevant messaging and content in the right places, brands can encourage interactions with existing and potential customers.

80% of shoppers would switch stores or brands when offered a compelling promotion

Traditional forms of advertising such as TV, radio,  print, and billboards have always been great methods of targeting the masses and boosting brand awareness. The issue with these traditional advertising methods is that they don’t speak to audiences at an individual level, to fix their pain points, or make them relate to your brand’s vision.

With online and digital advertising methods it’s possible for businesses to target their content at a much granular level to influence the individual they want to reach. Tools such as email or LinkedIn and Facebook advertising, enable businesses to filter their audiences based on demographic information allowing them to keep their ads focused and the delivery deliberate.

Using PR (Public Relations)

By working with agencies, businesses can make the most of PR to find out how they are perceived by potential customers and the market itself. By getting an understanding of this position, businesses can work to shift the way their brand is perceived and best fit what consumers want by removing negative connotations and adopting more positive elements.

Positive PR efforts can have great benefits for businesses such as heightened brand awareness, creation of a positive brand image, and credibility in the market which delivers a boost in lead generation. 

While successful PR campaigns and efforts can really help businesses take off, negative coverage can bring a business’ reputation crashing down just as quickly. Bad and poor PR coverage can cause permanent damage to a brand’s reputation, resulting in losses of customer loyalty and associations with the key market solutions they look to deliver.

Direct marketing

Similar to the efforts of advertising, direct marketing focuses on building upon existing relationships with customers that have already engaged with a brand. With the cost of attracting new customers being 5 times greater than the cost of keeping existing customers, it’s a no-brainer for marketers to ensure healthy relationships are kept with engaged customers.

Discount and sales promotions

This form of promotional marketing can attract new customers and encourage existing ones to spend more. With the possibility of messages ranging from “Black Friday Sale” to “Buy 1 get 1 free” and even “Free shipping”, discount and sales promotions create a sense of FOMO for consumers.

Existing WiFi infrastructure and Purple

Purple’s Guest WiFi solution can easily integrate with existing guest WiFi infrastructure and greatly benefits businesses that look to improve their in-store experience through meaningful and timely interactions. 

With Purple, businesses can collect highly insightful information and data about their customers, allowing them to tailor messages, deliver relevant offers, and increase customer loyalty. In turn, this allows businesses to target the right people, with the right message at the right time creating a unique experience for individuals and influencing desired interactions such as return visits.

The Objective: What does successful promotional marketing look like?

Growing brand recognition

Whenever a business runs a promotional campaign, whether it be small or broad, potential customers begin to associate your brand with what is being sold. Growing the authority and recognition of a brand is an important step in differentiating from the competition and becoming instantly recognizable for a product or service.

For example; when you think of soda manufacturers Coca Cola and Pepsi are the most recognizable, for consumer technology Apple is amongst the strongest brand, while it’s Nike and Adidas for sneakers. This objective requires the most focus long-term to ensure strong brand recognition.

Promoting new and existing products

Businesses can keep their products and services top of mind as markets become saturated. Doing this reinforces brand recognition and customer loyalty.

Increasing revenue through demand

In order for businesses to thrive, they need to focus on creating unrivaled experiences for potential customers and become more personalized through data collection. By finding new ways to attract customers, businesses can create greater demand for their products and increase revenue.

Showing value over competitors

As all businesses today make use of promotional marketing, it’s important for them to continually promote the benefits and necessities of their products. By shouting about product benefits often, releasing engaging content such as comparison surveys, or even risque social media content that calls out competitors all create meaningful engagements keeping customers focused on your brand.

How does promotional marketing influence customer loyalty and purchasing decisions?

We ran a global consumer survey to find out how their brand loyalty and spending habits are influenced by different forms of marketing, and what is most important to consumers when looking to make a purchase.

Increased loyalty through tailored experiences

We found that 33.5% of consumers feel more loyal to a brand that sends them personalized offers.

Additionally, survey respondents made it clear that in-store experiences that weren’t centered around product promotion enhanced loyalty by more than 75% clearly reflecting that physical stores are a vital step in a buyer’s journey.

Influencing purchases with personalized offers and messaging

In this section we’ll look at the impact promotional marketing has when consumers shop in different retail environments, but how influential do shoppers find personalized marketing?

For most consumers, being savvy with their spending habits is a number one priority which is why Big Box and Fashion retailers’ promotional marketing is the 2nd most important attribute of a purchase decision after pricing. For Grocery shoppers promotions are a little less important with pricing and convenience being 1st and 2nd, despite this promotions have a great impact on consumer purchasing decisions in all of these retail environments, both online and offline.

We surveyed 1500 shoppers to find out if their online or in-store purchases in the last 12 months had been influenced by promotional marketing.

Big Box (Shopping centers and Malls)

Online purchases – 34%

In-store purchases – 43%

Fashion and Boutique (Clothing stores)

Online purchases – 47%

In-store purchases – 49%

Grocery Retail (Supermarkets)

Online purchases – 64%

In-store purchases – 43%

With the influence of the global pandemic many consumers began shopping online, especially in grocery retail, however, in-store purchases remained strong showing a clear indication that consumers want physical stores to survive.

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