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Promotional Tools Available To A Small Business Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 1330 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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A small business will want to use various promotional methods in order to effectively communicate some kind of message to their consumers. Longenecker (2010) outlines the 4 key components in his textbook, that the communication of a promotion should typically include if it is to succeed:

When developing a promotional strategy for a small business, it’s very important to clearly define, for your own benefit, what the aim should be.

Establishing A Presence Promotion – the aim is to simply make sure potential consumers know about your business, that way they will come buy from you when the time is right.

Direct Product or Service Promotion – the aim is to inform and market a specific product or service to either potential consumers, or current consumers, or both.

General Interest Promotion – the aim is to get the consumer interested in your business. You may wish them to come visit your store, view your website, enter your mailing list, or phone in to enquire about a product.

Some businesses will find it beneficial to focus on only 1 or 2 promotional aims, while others will benefit from having one of each running at all times. Whatever the case may be, it’s important for the business to implement the correct promotional tool for their situation.

There are 3 main tools of the promotional mix available to small businesses, all of which have their own pros and cons depending on the situation.

1. Personal Selling is a promotional tool that typically involves the product, service or business as a whole being presented to a consumer usually on a one-to-one basis. It can be face-to-face communication, over the phone, via email, on social media, or simply through the way in which your employees interact with the consumers.

The advantages of personal selling is that it’s very effective when a business wishes to develop a strong personal connection with their consumers and can be used to make them more receptive to whatever you are trying to sell them.

Intentional personal selling, such as going out and approaching consumers on the street can be very costly and highly limited, therefore the best personal selling methods are often the unintentional and indirect ones.

Personal selling can happen any time. If a consumer calls in to report a problem or ask a question, and your customer service is excellent then you will strengthen your relationship with that consumer.

It’s a very good promotional tool when you need to play on consumer’s feelings or communicate a more complex promotion that cannot fit on a billboard. It’s ideal if you will need to answer questions before the consumer is willing to purchase.

2. Advertising is a more broad and “blanket coverage” type of approach to promoting a product, service or business. Advertising can be very expensive, depending on the type of media used (magazine, radio, tv, Internet, flyers…), but it is extremely effective at appealing to a much larger target market than many other promotional methods. In fact, the cost to number of consumers informed ratio is often cheaper in the long-run due to its scalability.

Advertising can be used to appeal to consumers by either informing them about something, persuading them to buy something or to simply remind them about your business and make them curious.

Even if they aren’t ready to buy right now, this is an excellent way of establishing a presence in their subconscious so that when they ever do need something, you will be the first to come to mind.

Advertising is also a great way to spread news about your business via word-of-mouth. Perhaps someone who doesn’t need or want your product can still appreciate an innovative advertising campaign and mention it to a friend who does indeed happen to be in need of your product.

Advertising is not suitable in situations where you may need to follow up with the customer or answer questions in order for the customer to purchase from you. You have one shot at making the advert work and that’s it, however having a phone number for them to call or a website to visit with easy access to additional information helps.

3. Sales Promotion is defined by Longenecker (2010) as “an inducement to buy a certain product while typically offering value to prospective customers.” Sales promotion is a very broad category and is used to describe basically any technique that encourages demand for your product or service.

Sales promotions are seen everywhere, typically as distributions of specialties – items that have your company’s brand or logo on it – such as pens, rulers, calendars or other inexpensive yet convenient items.

Any contest or discounts a company offers will either be to stimulate purchases (direct promotion) or create publicity (unrelated/indirect promotion).

Exhibits or freebies giving consumers a chance to sample the product or service and try it out for themselves are also considered a sales promotion.

These techniques are effective when a business needs to quickly increase sales or take advantage of certain events. For example, a soccer world cup could be about to start – handing our mini-soccer balls with your company logo on is a great sales promotion strategy utilising a specialty item.

Businesses should always be wary about over using sales promotions – they quickly lose their effectiveness when repeated, customers may see it as desperation and their attitudes towards your brand may sour.

On top of mastering various promotional tools, small businesses should also make sure that they understand the various psychological and sociological influences they have on their customers. If used correctly these can also be used to encourage sales as well as help businesses determine when one promotional tool is preferable over another.

For example, customers may have religious or spiritual needs that you could satisfy and easily increasing your sales by appealing to them. Add a Halaal menu to your restaurant, provide free and confidential help for alcohol addicts or a way to report domestic violence, the possibilities are endless. Appeal to people’s perceptions and attitudes towards you. If someone hears a good thing about your business, then they may be more inclined to purchase from you – same goes in reverse. Often these influences come from the small efforts and details in life that are often over looked.

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A great example of how simply deeds can increase publicity, is when a girl called Lily Robinson wrote to Sainsbury supermarket recommending they rename their Tiger Bread product to be called Giraffe Bread instead. She was only three years old and signed her name “Love from Lily Robinson age 31/2”. Sainsbury employee Chris King then made a special effort and time to reply to Lily, addressing her in a very child friendly manner and agreeing that she was right. “I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?”, “looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger, maybe they were a bit silly.” were parts of his reply. He sent the letter back with a gift card included and signed his name “Chris King (age 27 & 1/3)”. Since then, the letter went completely viral on the Internet, gaining both Chris and Sainsbury an incredible amount of publicity from such a simple and thoughtful act. It was all over the news, and even to this day there are hundreds of Facebook groups out there such as “Chris King from Sainsbury’s is a legend” with thousands of fans liking it and spreading the word. This kind of publicity is invaluable.


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