What’s a Promotion?
We often think of a Promotion as a “2-for-1” or “50% off” deal, but when we talk about the 4 Ps, Promotion is much more general. Quite simply put, it’s any activity you do to promote your Product. You buy a TV spot, that’s Promotion. You Tweet, that’s Promotion. You buy LinkedIn Ads, that’s Promotion. You host a free Webinar, that’s Promotion. Anything you believe will get potential customers to notice your Product or current customers interested in purchasing again is Promotion.
Because Promotion is the way you get noticed, every company, freelancer, entrepreneur needs to get it right. The thing is, it used to be simple — you were big, you were able to buy and produce TV ads (or print ads or radio ads) and you reached most of the population. You were small so you would buy small ads in the newspaper, offer a personalized service, go door-to-door and work with neighbours. Now, in a digital world of abundance, it’s more difficult. There’s a lot of waste. A lot of things done in the name of Promotion that use up time and resources without delivering much results.
Where are we today?
Of course, like Price, Promotion has completely changed. While it’s no longer necessary to spend on advertising to get noticed, the abundance brought by the Internet has made it that much harder to reach an audience. What’s new? What has really changed? While it used to be true that to get noticed, you bought interruption from TV and radio stations, in a our digital world, it’s impossible (or much more difficult anyway) to interrupt. In a world where I can change sites in a click or fast forward TV ads, something more than interruption is needed.
Seth Godin argues what we need now is connection. What will make someone stop, listen and purchase? Connection. And that’s precisely where brands go wrong. They try to use Facebook or Twitter as interruptions tools when what they really are are connection tools. Of course as a marketer of a small shop or freelancer/entrepreneur the world has changed too.
What does that mean for you?
For the large corporation it’s changed because while, yes they can still interrupt if they spend enough, they must learn to build connections. And building a brand/person connection with clients isn’t easy, but that’s changing. For the small operation, I think it’s even trickier because while yes it’s probably easier to build person/person connections, I think many small operations forget that the goal of Promotion or connection building is ultimately to sell. So they Tweet, Facebook and LinkedIn all day. They write or shoot tons of content. They guest-post here and Webinar there because the one who can afford to give away for free is the richest person in the room. Right?
To some extent yes, you no longer need large promotion budgets to get recognized, but it’s easy to get carried away with the digital tools. Everything you do must align with what you sell. Was that last Tweet really necessary? Was the hours spent figuring out that new tool worth it? How is your Facebook Page helping you get more clients? Did that guest-post really convey that you had a Product to sell? When I land on your site, can I reach out and ask for your services?
It’s not that the posts, the Followers or Connections aren’t important, it’s simply that the “is this really working for me?” question is often forgotten.
(Photo credit: JD Hancock)