A promotional campaigned is a planned sequence of messages with a specific objective delivered to targeted customers over a period of time. It typically encompasses a variety of promotional formats, including advertising, public relations, social media, personal selling and visual merchandising. The general purpose of a promotional campaign is to accomplish a particular communication or sales objective.

Brand Recognition

One of the most common promotional objectives is building or maintaining brand recognition or awareness. Recognition simply means that if a customer is shown your brand logo, characters or other symbols, he can identify it with your company. Additionally, you want customers to identify and explain the meaning behind your brand name and symbols. Understanding and connecting with the image of your brand is critical to long-term customer loyalty and profits.

Purchase Intent

As customers become familiar with your brand, the next stage is to motivate purchase intent. Much of ongoing promotional activity has this aim, especially in highly competitive markets where you need to lure customers away from aggressive competitors. Promotional objectives in this realm include stimulating trial use, getting customers to switch from competing options and encouraging existing customers to buy more often and in larger quantities. A variety of promotional tools are used in this endeavor, including free trial offers or first-time buyer discounts. Closely related to purchase intent is the intent of increasing market share.

Sales Growth

In the long run, promotional campaigns are intended to lead to optimized profit margins. In shorter-term campaigns, the objective is sometimes to drive revenue or cash flow. New companies often have this aim with promotions to build a customer base and to collect revenue to cover start-up business costs. Established companies use sales-motivated promotions to generate business during slow periods, to collect cash on excess inventory and to expand the business into newer markets.


Commonly associated with public relations campaigns, another ongoing objective of companies is to promote goodwill with the public. Staying active in community activities and giving to charities are common promotional tools with PR. Cause-related marketing campaigns are also used by companies to emphasize the support they give to communities and social causes customers appreciate. Coinciding with building and maintaining goodwill, PR and other promotional campaigns are sometimes used to combat negative publicity already festering. Microsoft had this aim following anti-trust lawsuits in the early 21st century. Wal-Mart often uses advertising to promote positive attributes of the company in the face of criticism for some of its business practices.