Promotional Strategies

Marketers also have to select an appropriate strategy for their promotional efforts, in terms of whether it will be push, pull, or profile.

  • Push policies are aimed at the next part of the distribution chain, whether wholesaler or distributor, who will in turn sell the product on to the next part of the chain, perhaps the retail outlets.
  • Pull policies are aimed directly at the consumer, whose interest in the product will pull sales through the different channels.
  • Profile strategies deal with corporate communications – in relation to the identity, image, and reputation of the business.

The marketing message

Marketers want to communicate in order to inform, educate and also persuade people to buy.

‘The ultimate effectiveness of promotion is determined by the degree to which it affects product adoption among potential buyers or increases the frequency of current buyers’ purchases.’ Dibb, Simkin, Marketing: Concepts and Strategies, 2001

Except when making impulse purchases, buyers will often go through a predictable sequence leading up to the purchase. The process of product adoption amongst consumers is divided into several stages:


The consumer becomes aware of a problem – the dishwasher has broken down, for example. Advertising can stimulate awareness of new products or product need. In this first stage the consumer is exposed to a product or company, but may have little further information. When launching new brands – such as O₂ the mobile division spun out from British Telecom – advertising may first concentrate on raising awareness.

  • Promotional efforts will include mass media advertising and social media promotion.


The consumer searches for information about products.

  • Advertising is used to give more information or encourage consumers to seek information, and blogs/social media are also go to channels for information.


This is equivalent to a mental trial – consumers start to assess the product.

  • Personal sources – family and friends – may be influential. Have their friends engaged with or shared something about the product on social media?


Consumers try the product on a small scale in order to improve their assessment of the product.

  • Permarkets run promotions on new products to help consumers make that trial.


The consumer is satisfied with the product – or rejects it.

  • Promotional efforts may concentrate on reassurance, making the consumer feel they made the right choice.

Impersonal sources (such as mass advertising) have the most effect in creating initial awareness, whereas more personal communications such as email marketing and social media are more effective in the evaluative stages. Also should be remembered the effect of time on the adoption process – consumers can be divided up into innovators, laggards, etc.

Most people go through a predictable series of stages in the adoption process, but there are criticisms. Consumers will differ in the speed with which they can adopt a product. Also consumers may miss out stages – if the purchase does not present high levels of risk, for example.

 In next week’s blog post we will continue to look at promotion, particularly how to select the right elements of the promotional mix. For more information on the promotional mix and effective communications, take a look at our previous promotion blog post, An Introduction To Promotion.