Promotion, Advertising & PR | Print |

Whatever you're selling, you'll need to communicate about it with your target buyers. Most businesses find that they need all three components of marketing communications (promotion, advertising, and public relations), in some combination.

In order for your business to succeed, you generally need to promote your products or services to the same buyers that your competitors are targeting. Even if your business is one-of-a-kind, you still need to tell target buyers that your business exists with some kind of advertising or promotional communication. Public relations (PR) activities are another way to promote the image or reputation of your product. PR is similar to promotion and advertising, but can be more indirect, since some or all of the publicity a company's products and services receive from public relations activities may not be controlled by the company.


Once a small business has determined both its business positioning strategy and the size of the promotional budget, specific promotional activities can be selected. Promotion programs provide direct purchase incentives in contrast to most advertising, which provides reasons to buy your product instead of the competing brand.

Admittedly, some types of promotions can be expensive, complicated, difficult to execute, time-consuming, and difficult to administer legally. Many small businesses are local or regional, so some types of promotional activities will be too expensive or inappropriate for the type of goods and services offered. The most important thing is to come up with a promotion that is unique and that sends the right message about your business. And it is critical to monitor the effectiveness of your promotions. If they don't generate results, they aren't worth the time or money you'll spend.

Advertising Ideas

Advertising is impersonal, usually paid communication intended to inform, educate, persuade, and remind. Advertising is a sophisticated form of communication that must work with other marketing tools and business elements to be successful. Advertising must be interruptive _ that is, it must make you stop thumbing through the newspaper or thinking about your day long enough to read or hear the ad. Advertising must also be credible, unique, and memorable in order to work.

Low and No-Cost Advertising
There are many things you can do in the way of advertising, promotion, and publicity that cost little or nothing. And when you become successful enough to be able to afford more sophisticated ad techniques, there are ways of measuring to some extent just how effective these methods are in terms of your business growth. As always, the chief concern is that the advertising do what it is intended to do: cause more people to purchase more from your business.

Public Relations Ideas

Public relations (PR) efforts, like advertising, can help to build business and product awareness among target buyers and end users, often at a fraction of the cost of advertising. Many small and large businesses consciously utilize PR as a way to obtain free advertising about their products and services. PR can be an effective way to generate valuable word-of-mouth advertising, sometimes due to the greater credibility and availability of information provided in editorial articles and interviews with your company personnel.

How persuasive is PR? Free media publicity was largely responsible for the brief (1989-90), frenetic ground swell for consumption of oat bran as an anti-cancer food. Melatonin, a naturally produced substance that aids sleep and may be an anti-aging product, is another PR craze, with newspaper, magazine, and electronic media discussing positive preliminary research results. Health food companies cash in on this free publicity, without spending funds for advertising, promotion, or public relations.

PR can leverage advertising and promotion programs.
PR events can leverage the effects of advertising and promotion programs by tying all these marketing elements together. For example, a local on-site PR event for an automotive service company could include erecting a hospitality tent for company sales personnel to entertain key buyers at a local auto race. The local chain store buyers and car-owner end users could be exposed to ad messages on billboards, from announcers, and on race cars with the company logo.

Buyers and end users could be given a free promotional sample to take home and try in their cars.

Public relations is an ongoing process
Public relations is an ongoing process and must be worked at every day on every level of your business from the way you deal with your employees to how quickly you shovel the snow from in front of your establishment. Make it a habit to constantly consider the image you are projecting.


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