As we all know, the marketing mix consists of Product, Place, Promotion and Price. From the outset, people believe marketing is simplistic, especially when you segregate it into those 4 main parts. However, as you inevitably discover marketing is distant from simple, there is no correct algorithm, no model answer, and no perfect mix. Perhaps that’s why it is so fascinating for marketers such as myself. We don’t always know what will work, and we can only make educated decisions based on the wants of our target audience, niche and the environment surrounding them.
The formula marketers use often changes, we need to look at the subsets of each of the P’s and see how they fit and can be installed to complete our strategic objectives. In this article will look at technique sales promotions and how you must evaluate the impact this may have on the rest of the mix, then how you utilize your sales promotion (SP) to benefit from the mix and not isolate it on itself.

What exactly is sales promotion and what can it do for your brand/business?

A sales promotion is the procedure of inducement, it is a short-term tactic used as an impetus to encourage a potential customer to buy a product, thus accelerating sales. The method is frequently employed for:

  • Introducing new products – heightening stocking or trial from consumers and suppliers.
  • Helps beat austerity in your market – Recession buster.
  • Enticing new customers.
  • Reduce seasonality – improving purchase outside the season.
  • Sustaining competiveness – enticing new users, new discounts, and better pricing, augmented products.
  • Overall customer base – more sales – more users – more customers.
  • Excelling cross selling opportunities.
  • Building your database.

(Kotler’s short- term and long-term effects of sales promotion)

I would personally argue that sales promotion, in moderation, can be a way to foster competitive advantage, holding the ability to entirely shape and develop your brand. For example, McDonalds Monopoly, this creates a sales uplift of up to 6% for the brand. This is now a seamless part of McDonalds, inducing consumer’s to come in and ‘play’… to come in and buy.

Sales promotions can come in a variety of mechanics: free samples, coupons, competitions, temporary price reductions, buy one get one free offers or free gifts. Often the mechanic you choose to implement is in accordance to the audience, for example the younger population would prefer to redeem via online, elder population via coupons and paper cut outs. Not to say the reverse isn’t possible!

How can it influence the mix?

Pic 2

The question is can I integrate all the P’s together to gain maximum effectiveness for and from my sales promotion? Firstly, let’s get ready for some marketing mix inception, a mix within a mix! Within promotion there is a promotional mix as shown in the illustration. To get maximum effect and to achieve the benefits listed above a sales promotion should not be isolated. When you are launching a promotion you must deliver a harmonized approach. A sales promotion can be promoted via advertising, direct marketing and personal selling.

Promotion (Marketing Communication’s Mix)

Personal selling-

A sales promotion can be a prime sales subject for your salesforce, focusing around your discount or add on can really drive sales and create topic of conversation between your consultant and customer making it a resource to create better relationships.

Advertising Milka

Milka’s last square campaign gave consumers the chance to express their appreciation of others. One square of the chocolate bar was missing on each promotional bar, they then had the opportunity to send it to a companion with a message via mail. This is a prime example of how sales promotion has long-term effects and how an entire campaign can be constructed around a sales promotion. This extremely popular promotion brought people closer with their love for each other as well as chocolate, bring positive connotations to the brand thus increasing the brands equity.

Direct marketing

Focus your campaign digitally. Sales promotions are no longer small squares which need to be carefully extracted from a newspaper like a surgical maneuver. We are now bombarded with sales promotions in our mailbox! Utilizing direct marketing alone will not benefit your promotion, but carefully curating content that is attractive and delivered via numerous online platforms will.

Remember, you can look at this from two angles present and future. Your business will benefit from exploiting your current database, through sending the promotion to them via e-marketing and direct mail. But you can then use your sales promotion to capture new direct marketing opportunities in the future, through the redemption process the participant will have given details and addresses in order to receive the reward, directly adding more power to your Place segment, as it can now spread information to more consumers.

Public Relations

A sales promotion could be used as a contingency if something goes wrong for a brand. Here a price cut would be the most suitable or cashback as it rewards the consumers with money. This can then be communicated via a press release or speech, to try and communicate to the consumer, we know we let you down, and here is how we can make you love us again.

How can sales promotion boost the remainder of the mix?

Place – distribution

Place considers what channels you are using to sell the product. This can be detrimental to any strategy as it allows you to target a particular consumer in accordance to age, demographic, tastes, wage this highlights the importance of this particular P, and the importance of getting retailers and distributors on board with your product.

How can sales promotion help?

Sales promotion will give you clout when trying to sell your product to your distributors. It is particularly difficult to try and get a retailer such as Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s on board with your product. A clever, unique sales promotion will give your brand an extra attribute, and since attractive sales promotion campaigns earn sales, a distributor will want your product as they take a cut! Making it win: win for both involved.

Sales promotions are often a chance for creative mastery, take a point of sale. Take this for example:



To see more innovative points of sale, see here.

This creates a whole image for your brand, product and promotion. Once more it will help your distributor sell the product, as consumers will find it more enticing thus increasing consumption rate meaning more stock piling. Another benefit is it all comes part of the brand experience making the tangible, intangible, once more creating a long-term benefit for your brand. Co-promotion will nurture more profitable relationships with distributors, making them more open to distribute your new products. This underpins how sales promotions can in fact help cross-selling opportunities B2B & B2C.

A sales promotion presents opportunity not just for your brand, but those selling your brand. Opportunity for co-promotion can arise, it encourage collaboration on advertising with a particular channel. This then gives you more supplier power, as you become more critical to the success of a particular retailer. You then have more room to leverage negotiation, creating a more profitable situation for your business/brand.

Your own distribution channel will benefit also, for example your website will generate traffic through using the sales promotion as a tactic to create more traffic – via the promotion you can guide people onto your website to receive a reward. Videos, social media and emails can also be focused around a campaign much like the Milka campaign to generate more interest around your brand.


Price is the only P that directly affects a brands revenue. Sales promotion can affect your price in various ways. If you brand is offering a gift with purchase you may be able to offer a premium price as you are adding value for your consumer. Do ensure that the product you are offering is something that represents your brands values, when you offer something alongside your brand, consider it as an extension of your personality, so be sure it is something related and of use to the consumers. This ultimately can enable you to create better relationships. You won’t just improve relations with your partners, distributors will also be happier with your additionally giving your brand more leverage to negotiate meaning you can negotiate more with suppliers for cheaper materials for products, allowing you to provide better prices.


A sales promotion can help with the introduction of a new product. It can make another product redeemable via a mechanic, for example it could be a price promotion, a mix and match promotion, a discount on another. A sales promotion can also be a way to encourage a trial for example Actimel used a 14 day taste test, if consumers did not like this they had to mail in why not in a few sentences then received a full refund.

Sales promotions can also be used as a way to personalize a product, thus creating a better brand experience. Take Nutella for example:

Nutella promotion

This shows how sales promotion, a relatively traditional tactic, can be incorporated with a new marketing phenomenon such as personalization. Here consumers had to share a life story to receive a Nutella label. A campaign such as this could be a sole reasons for consumers switching a brand!

It is clear sales promotion is influential on the success of a brand and can perfectly complement the 4 P’s.

However…. You must evaluate the effects of a sales promotion on your balance sheet due to:

Increased exposure = increased likelihood of purchase = more expenses

Can your business/brand cover these costs? If your sales promotion is a success many redemptions will occur meaning much more expenses for you. These unforeseeable costs will then affect the budget available for the rest of your marketing strategy. Are you still able to invest in that advertising campaign? If you are still paying for the excess redemptions made. This is often a reason why businesses’s opt for a fixed fee sales promotion as it eliminate risk of over redemption.

(information gathered from


Whilst some consider sales promotion as an expensive and dated marketing tactic, it is clear that with a modern spin and effective management it is an extremely effective tactic to bolster your marketing mix. The article highlights how it the method presents opportunity for exposure, data collection, sales uplift and much more, making it clear why the method has stood the test of time!

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