How Do You Promote Your Business? Answer: Promotional Marketing

You know that you need great marketing to get your company and its product and services in front of your target market or ideal customer. Creating an effective promotional marketing program will lead customers right to your door, website, inbox, or phone and entice them to purchase what you have to offer.

What is Promotional Marketing?

Promotional marketing is one aspect of your marketing program and includes the specifics of how you’re going to entice customers to take action. The advantage of a promotion is to create some buzz for your business or enterprise, to get your business to be noticed for standing apart from competition and to get your business noticed by your target market – as many people as possible.

Some businesses take promotional marketing to the next level by using promotional products (also known as advertising specialties, swag, or giveaways). What makes this type of marketing so effective is its ability to influence customer behavior, to encourage action, to create goodwill, and to be remembered long after the promotional event. Promotional marketing, if done well, has a lasting benefit beyond other forms of advertising.

Who Uses Promotional Marketing?

Every business can use promotional marketing. A company offering a bonus, gift, or additional benefits with a customer’s normal purchase is benefitting from using promotional marketing techniques.

How can we get more customers into our store? TV commercials, print ads and direct mail offers are the most common methods to offer the promotion to the target market. Think of the mailer envelopes that arrive at your home, filled with coupons and special deals. A restaurant, for example, may have TV commercials that offer a free drink with a lunch order. Or, cosmetic companies offer a free gift with purchase or a department store advertises a 50% off sale for a select type of item. The promotion calls attention to that extra element or benefit, which companies hope will encourage customers to visit who otherwise wouldn’t.

Other companies utilize a technique known as point-of-sale marketing. This helps increase the sales of products of sales that may be difficult to sell on an individual basis. For example, mobile phone companies may offer peripheral items like chargers and headsets at a reduced price if they purchase a cell phone with that item. (“Buy a phone, get a headset for half price.”) Since the customer is already there and has committed to the larger purchase (the phone), they are more likely to buy the extra item because they are enticed by the savings.

Creating Your Promotional Marketing Program

Step #1 – What is the Plan?

Careful thought and planning is the first step of making the promotion effective. What is the objective? What results are you looking for? Increasing revenues, building brand awareness, or launching a new product are just a few strategic goals of promotional marketing. Your business can also promote from within with team building, employee recognition, or safety awareness programs.

Step #2 – Who is the Target?

Before you begin, you’ll have to identify your target audience. Who is the ideal customer? Who is best suited to buy what you have to offer? What are their needs, and how can your products and/or services meet them? Then generate your sales materials with this target audience in mind. The goal of any promotional marketing program is to make people buy your product or service by creating an appealing proposition that requires timely action. You may want to come up with different messages depending on which communication methods you’re using. Remember that this is a work-in-progress, so don’t be afraid to change your strategies depending on what is working and what isn’t.

Step #3 – How to Make the Promotional Offer?

There are dozens of ways to actually get your message out, including social media, internet marketing, custom web landing pages, promotional products, and direct mail. Remember that your target audience will dictate the method of advertising. For example, if your target market is those over age 65, you may want to rely more heavily on direct mail or a print ad; however, if your market is under age 25, you’re definitely going to want to take advantage of newer technology methods, such as online marketing, social media, and text messaging.

Step #4 – What are the Results?

In order to judge the promotional campaign, it is critical to measure the program. How many did you offer to? How many actually used the offer? How much new sales revenue was generated from the offer? Without measuring the promotion, there is no way to improve and set the bar higher to make the next promotion better. Promotions are a way to test the market. Does your promotion generate more sales with a discount, a free gift, or bonus? Promoting your business helps generate excitement about a current service or launching a new product.

5 New B2B Sales and Marketing Strategies

B2B Sales and Marketing leaders should evaluate adopting these 5 new B2B strategies to achieve their goals:

DELIVER COMMERCIAL INSIGHT

The Challengerâ„¢ marketing model challenges the traditional model to align marketing and sales, creating a collaborative marketing and sales strategy that creates a cohesive and smooth customer journey without a marketing and sales disconnect.

The Challengerâ„¢ model incorporates both marketing and sales teams to enhance the efforts of both teams and provide insights at all touch points, both human and digital. Building a cohesive strategy between the two teams not only helps generate qualified leads, but moves customers through the buyer stages resulting in brand loyalty and increased revenue.

COLLABORATION BETWEEN B2B SALES AND MARKETING

We all know communication is key for bettering any relationship in your life; that stands true while communicating with your marketing and sales team. Consistent communication between these two teams is necessary to not only generate quality leads, but to deliver valuable insights along a buyer’s journey.

“No matter how the CRM industry evolves, getting the sales and marketing teams to synergize is goal number one. Every success grows from their collaboration and free exchange of ideas, because you can’t serve the customer right when your best people are working blind.”

Marshall Lager

Encouraging lead alignment sessions around the customer journey with marketing and sales leaders will help generate high-quality leads and maximize revenue growth.

B2B SALES AND MARKETING PLATFORMS JOIN FORCES

The most effective way to integrate marketing and sales teams is to leverage platforms that connects marketing leads with sales opportunities. More specifically, a platform that captures marketing leads by campaign source and then seamlessly scores, qualifies and alerts the appropriate business development representative. By integrating and configuring your marketing automation and CRM platforms, marketing and sales teams can deliver on the customer experience at every touch point along the way.

NURTURING LEADS IN SYNC WITH BUYER JOURNEY

When B2B sales and marketing strategies are in alignment with the customer’s expectations as they go through the buyer journey, there’s a greater volume of quality leads that will make their way from awareness to purchase.

However, when there’s a gap between these teams, there’s a disconnect and usually results in lost revenue. For example, “Leads that come from online marketing materials close about 25% of the time, and leads that come in from sales – without the help of marketing – close at a rate of 1.5%”. When the traditional sales funnel is swapped with a sales and marketing buyer journey, there’s room to improve sales ready leads.

CONSISTENT GOALS & METRICS

Without clearly defined and shared goals, alignment is challenging at best. It takes a commitment to collaboration, defining common goals and it takes hard work.

Begin with how you will define and measure:

  • Scoring inbound leads
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Sequencing of human and digital touch points
  • Service levels for responding to leads
  • Marketing contribution to closed won opportunities

Understanding the shifts in the buyer journey and how to adapt B2B sales and marketing strategies are critical to evolving in our world of constant disruption.

The Footprints of Fabric Wholesale: Azam Cloth Market

The shopkeepers of Azam Cloth market pride themselves on, and they like to stress this vehemently, being a part of ‘the biggest cloth market in Asia.” While snaking your way through the many winding alleys lined with shops of various sizes you do tend to lose track of both time and space. The market is a collage of many small interlinked bazaars where the daylight doesn’t always seep in and the damp musty odor of history prevails.

Situated in the walled city of Lahore, the Azam cloth market is the hub that has been handling wholesale distribution of cloth and ready-to-wear for the last six decades. From khaddar to silk, ready- to-wear to clothing fabrics, casual wear to bridal wear, the market has something for every apparel retailer.

According to Mohd Amjad Sheikh, who has been in the wholesale apparel business since 1974, the Azam cloth market caters to a wide customer based both in Pakistan and abroad. “Retailers from all over Pakistan, Dubai, and UK visit us for their stock purchases. However, the recent security issues have had their impact on the business. Our customer base from India and Afghanistan has dwindled to almost zero. We hope once the situation improves retailers from all neighboring countries will find it comfortable to visit us.”

The merchants of the market are well versed in the history of the place, and every shopkeeper can recount how when the market was created and named. There was a small market near Wazir Khan Mosque; in 1953 when a road had to be widened the market was shifted to its current location by General Azam who gave his own name to the market. Over the decades, the small market extended and now has numerous interlinked blocks or bazaars all dealing in wholesaling of various types of clothing fabrics and lines.

How many interlinked bazaars are there in the market? There is no consensus as such but gathering from the comments of various shop owners the number must be somewhere between 15 and 20

‘It’s an Institution.’

All the bazaars of Azam market are linked and managed by a board of directors. “You won’t find a more well managed institution in Lahore. We have our own constitution with a specific set of rules. Every bazaar has its own president who in turn is answerable to the president of the board. Elections of the board are held every three years to elect resident of the board. Security and administrative decisions made by the board are binding upon the market community,” the business community of the market proudly spells out details of the ‘institution.’ Fire extinguishers, security guards and clean lanes show an active involvement of the board that runs on self-help basis. Every shop owner pays monthly charges of about 200-300 rupees to form a combined pool that helps meet the maintenance expenses.

Nawab Bazaar: The oldest block of Azam Cloth Market

While it is difficult to explore every bazaar in a single visit, every first time visitor should stroll in the Nawab bazaar to get a feel of the place. Nawab bazaar is the first and the oldest block of Azam cloth market. Its open cool spaces invite the customers to linger and shop at their own pace. The shop owners are friendly and there is an overall ambiance of good cheer.

‘What’s in the name?’

Two different versions prevail in the market about the history of block’s name. One interesting story traces origins of the name to the first generation of business men who started their businesses in this market.

According to this version, this first generation of wholesalers liked to arrive late in the markets and opened their shops around noon. So people started calling them nawabs (nawab connotes a laid-back almost royal attitude) and the market came to be known as Nawab bazaar.

Javed sahib, the president of Nawab bazaar, however, strongly disagrees: “My, father, Haji Nawab Deen, was the first generation of wholesalers who established businesses in this block, and the bazaar is name after my father,” he states.

Whatever the real history of the name, the different versions add to the aura of antiquity surrounding the market.

It’s a Man’s World

The wholesale business is dominated by men. Not only there are no female shop owners but you encounter female customers. Occasionally you can run into a lone female retailer traversing the narrow alleys of the market. Razia is one such brave woman I met while combing through the glittering, colorful shops of women’s apparel.

“I have nine children and my husband is a ‘home-tailor’ who works at his clients’ places. To make ends meet, I have started this business. I purchase ready-to-wear female kurtis from this market and my husband takes them to his clients’ houses and sells them. We get to save 100 to 200 rupees on every kurta. It isn’t much but it helps,” Razia explains her ‘business model.’

First Time visitors

Whether you are a retailer, a casual visitor, or a customer who wants to get good bargains, try to heading for the market between 9:30 am to 10:30 am. This is the time when the traffic is not too heavy and it is still quiet in the throbbing, congested lanes of the market. Visiting the market early will save you half of the hassle of long traffic jams. The other half, while going back, you will have to bear. Another advantage of visiting the market early is that once you are there you can shop at leisure and will even have time to haggle with the shopkeepers. As the day advances the business activity picks up pace, the market gets too crowded.

Parking your vehicle is now easy as there is a huge parking plaza near the market. However, the plaza doesn’t have a lift and once you park the car you will have to walk all the way down and then walk all the way up to get the car. It is bit of an exertion and would help if you are in the mood for some exercise.

Azam Cloth Market is surrounded by many other wholesale and retail markets, and while you are there you can have quick round of the other markets and schedule your next visit to one you like.