In a time when customers are exposed daily to a nearly infinite number of promotional messages, many marketers are discovering advertising alone is not enough to move members of a target market to take action, such as convincing them to try a new product. In addition, some marketers are finding certain characteristics of their target market (e.g., small but geographically dispersed) or characteristics of their product (e.g., highly complex) make advertising a less attractive option. Still for other marketers, the high cost of advertising may drive many to seek alternative, lower cost techniques to meet their promotion goals. For these marketers, better results may be obtained using other promotional approaches and may lead to directing much of their promotional spending to non-advertising promotions.
In this section of our detailed Principles of Marketing Tutorials we continue our discussion of promotion decisions by looking at a second promotion mix item: sales promotion. Sales promotions are used widely in many industries and especially by marketers selling to consumers. We will see that the objectives of sales promotion are quite different than advertising and are specifically designed to encourage customer response.