Promotion is the delivery of messages about your company, products or services to targeted customers. Paid advertising is one of the most significant forms of promotion. However, companies make use of other opportunities such as public relations, personal selling, online and mobile channels, social media and entertainment to connect with customers.
Advertising through traditional media is one of the most controllable methods of promotion for companies. Since you pay the TV or radio station or print publication for the space or time, you have complete say over the message you present. This helps companies develop long-term branding to instill a particular image in the minds of customers.
Public relations is similar to advertising in that publicity, a major component, includes messages presented through media. The difference is that PR is not paid for, which limits your control. If a news reporter writes or reports a story about you, you have little say beyond basic legal protection as to how your brand is projected. Companies do develop PR strategies to make use of coverage options, but the risks are higher with unpaid promotion.
Interactive forms of promotion have become more intriguing in the early 21st century. These include various paid and unpaid messages, which seek immediate feedback. Direct marketing through mail, email or mobile devices is used to attract customers and generate sales. Personal selling is the most interactive method of promotion, and it helps your company directly persuade customers to buy. Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, have also emerged as a rapid way for companies to connect with customers in real time.
Branded entertainment and product placement have become popular options for companies frustrated by inattentive audiences for traditional advertising messages. This includes products or brand messages integrated within television shows, movies, video games or other forms of entertainment. The idea is to present a product seamlessly within a storyline to affect viewers. Companies often pay networks or producers for this opportunity. Product placement can be highly effective, because it displays your product in the midst of a social setting or entertainment action.