Definition: The Promotional Planning is a process of optimizing the utilization of marketing tools, strategies, resources to promote a product and service with the intent to generate demand and meet the set objectives.
Promotional Planning Process
The Sales Promotional Planning Process is comprised of following steps:
- Problem Definition: First of all, the management must identify the need for a promotion and should take into consideration the following points:
- Which Product/Service is to be promoted?
- Who is the target audience?
- How much budget is allocated for the promotional activities?
- What message is to be conveyed to the prospective buyers?
- What marketing strategies are to be adopted?
- Which analytical tool is to be used?
- Establishment of detailed Objectives: The objectives are the end goals towards which all the efforts are directed. Once the target audience is identified the management must set the objectives of the promotion. The objectives could be to encourage the non-users to use the product, increase the usage of the existing customers, or enter into a new market segment with a modified product line. Similarly, the objectives for the intermediaries could be to increase the off-season sales or reduce the effect of competitor’s promotional schemes.Similarly, the objectives for the intermediaries could be to increase the off-season sales or reduce the effect of competitor’s promotional schemes.
- Design of Promotion Mix: Once the objectives are set, these provide the basis for selecting an appropriate promotional tool (advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, etc.). The management must carefully analyze all the costs and effects associated with each marketing element before making the final choice.
The objectives and the target market should be kept in mind while designing the promotion mix. As, the promotional tools for educated, urban and institutional buyers would be different as compared to the illiterate, rural and household buyers.
- Planning Sales Promotion Programme: This is the most crucial step of promotional planning that requires the management to decide the time duration of the promotion i.e. for how long the promotional tool is to be used. While deciding on the sales promotion plan the overall marketing budget along with the eligibility rules and size of incentives should be taken into the consideration.
- Pre-testing: Once the Sales Promotion Plan is prepared, it is tested in few selected market segments to identify the potentials or serious problems before its full launch. Here the management scrutinizes the cost effectiveness of the promotional plan, problems of ambiguity (if any), customer response rate, etc.
- Implementation: After the promotional plan is tested in the few selected areas, it is ready to be launched in the complete market. Here the management must take care of two important time factors, Viz. Lead Time and Sell-in Time. The lead time is the time necessary to bring the plan to the point where the incentives are made available to the public while; the sell-in time is the time starting from the date of the release until the time 90-95% of the incentives are received by the potential customers.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: After implementation, the performance of the promotional plan is checked against the set standards and objectives and the corrective actions are taken accordingly. In case the objectives are defined in quantitative terms then the measurement of the actual results would be quite easy.
During the evaluation, the management must take care of all the factors that are beyond control such as economic recession, seasonal variations, natural calamity, etc. that might influence the buying decision of the customers.
Thus, the promotional planning is an integral part of marketing wherein the management decides on a complete promotion plan which includes all the marketing strategies to be adopted during the life cycle of the product, i.e. from the introductory stage till its decline stage.