Promotion is the last of the original 4P’s in the traditional marketing mix first developed by Philip Kotler. Promotion is the process in which producers/marketers are letting potential customers know what they are selling.
In order to convince them to buy their product, marketers need to explain what it is, how to use it, and why they should buy. The trick in promoting is letting consumers feel that their needs can be satisfied by what the producers or traders are selling.
An effective promotional effort contains a clear message that is targeted to a certain audience and is done through appropriate channels.
The target customers are people who will use, as well as influence or decide the purchase of the product. Identifying these people is an important part of the market research.
In the Marketing Mix for the Common Good, promoting will let customers know not only how a product/service will satisfy their personal need but will also benefit a common good objective.
The promotional message can then be targeted not only to potential consumers who will have the need of the product/service itself but also to a market segment with a similar common good (Human Dignity, Solidarity and Social Justice, Environmental Sustainability, Transparency and Co-Determination) concern.
Depending on the promotional method chosen (advertising, PR, personal selling and sales promotions) the common good value of the company, product or service can be added to the process.
- Word of Mouth
This is the method where marketers can be most creative in their mission to get the attention of the targeted audience. In the natural marketing strategy, this will be where the product/service can be advertised and in the marketing for the common good advertising will be a tool to promote a common good value the business wants to bring awareness to.
As an example, I will give you one of Nike’s most recent ads and how through promoting the brand they have brought awareness to Human Dignity and rights.
Human dignity as defined by the European Union for Fundamental Rights is “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
A really serious matter and one that in recent years has grown as an issue that needs urgent resolvent. The #MeToo, Black Lives Matter and Fridays for Future movements are clear indications of the global violations of human rights and dignity.
The problem here is how a company can address important social issues like this without looking like it does it just to pick “good company” points from consumers? The problem gets even bigger if that same company has been accused of running sweatshops to make their footwear, an obvious violation of human rights and trampling on human dignity.
My humble opinion, may it be naïve, is that Nike has since done a good job and the ad has not made me cringe. It is not really in your face trying to say, “Hey look we made the effort to pretend we care, so buy our brand products”. I leave it to you to decide for yourselves if the ad is genuine or not.
Other examples include companies like Ben & Jerry’s. Activism is a part of Ben & Jerry’s history. As early as 1987, it developed social justice-themed ice cream flavours to lobby for change and raise money for global warming, LGBTQ+ rights, and criminal injustice—to name a few.
Airbnb also pledged to provide short-term housing for 100,000 displaced people and donate $4 million to the International Rescue Committee.
Environmental sustainability has also been part of advertisement campaigns for various businesses. The need for this has become ever more increasing due to the footprint a lot of the big companies are responsible for which lead to the drawback of loyal consumers.
Lacoste had a creative campaign addressing endangered species.
As the shirts were of a limited edition, that also translated into a message of “there are not many shirts available, but there are definitely not many sea turtles left either…”. Lacoste even wrote on their website that “the number of polos made of each species represents the number remaining in the wild.”. Profits were then split with non-profit organisations.
Coca-Cola and Carlsberg had ad campaigns for their new bottle designs to fight plastic pollution for which they are in large responsible for.
Public Relations or PR
This promotional method has mostly been already associated with a common good value.
Public relations are usually focused on building a favourable image of the business. Companies can do this by doing something good for the community like holding an open house or being involved in community activities.
Football clubs in England are very good at this. As hurtful as it may sound to a lot of football fans, the sport is now more of an industry than it is a sport. The clubs are run by businessmen and their PR departments are doing an amazing job helping local communities.
Manchester United is one of the most active teams helping their local community and also this sort of initiatives has been picked-up from official fan clubs around the globe.
The official Manchester United fan club in Bulgaria has helped raise funds to build playgrounds and football pitches for kids in the country.
Marcus Rashford, one of Man Utd’s promising homegrown stars has singlehandedly made the government of UK pledge £170 million to combat child food poverty.
The brand Manchester United has been made to represent something so much more valuable than just a sports team.
Unfortunately, the good nature of this type of public relationship sports teams has developed has opened the doors for big money to buy into it. What I mean is that not so good-natured businesspeople and even government/royal bodies are buying clubs with the idea to buy themselves a good image. A good image that they don’t have and believe they can buy. If something can’t be bought with money, can be bought with a lot of money, right?
Traditionally personal selling is where businesses use people to sell the product after meeting face-to-face with the customer. These salespersons play an important part in building customer relationships through tailored communication.
In the Common Good Marketing sense, the same salespeople could promote not only the product or service but also how that product or service will help the community or/and the environment.
Sales promotion, unlike advertising, is designed to encourage quick purchase. Usually, this involves offering a discount such as a coupon, a money-off label, buy one get one free, etc.
Similarly, this type of promotion in the common good marketing sense instead of being used as an image builder for the long-term can be used as a way of helping a current or an emergency cause.
Takeaways, like Domino’s in Ireland for example, have used the COVID-19 pandemic to help first responders. The company is offering the country’s frontline care workers the chance to win free pizza for themselves, their household, and their colleagues for a year – for being a Local Legend.
Domino’s have emailed their customers to nominate a frontline worker (Local Legend) who will have the chance to win the prize. This delivered a short engagement with consumers while doing something good for those that have taken the heaviest burden during the pandemic.
A successful product or service means nothing unless the benefit of such a service can be communicated clearly to the target market. Marketers in the last some decades have become masters of delivering such messages. We should use this platform to deliver messages not just for profit but to deliver messages for positive change.