How Effective is Promotional Marketing, Really?

With so many options for Marketing Managers nowadays, sometimes it’s difficult to decide how to spread the word about your company’s services. There’s word of mouth, networking, events, social media, promotional merchandise, and the list goes on. It can be overwhelming to figure out what works best for your consumers and what produces the highest ROI. Providing your targeted demographic with incentives is a traditional way to draw in new leads. But in these days of digital advertising, how effective is promotional marketing, really?

Image text about promotional merchandise


What is Promotional Marketing?

We’ve all heard the term thousands of times, but let’s take a step back and analyse exactly what we’re discussing. According to Marden-Kane, promotional marketing is: “Any message that includes an incentive to persuade the target audience to take immediate action, thereby driving some form of brand interaction that leads to a current or future purchase. Promotion is different from advertising and other forms of marketing in that the goal is to drive immediate behavioural change.”

In other words, promotional marketing engages with consumers. It stirs up a conversation between a company and its demographic, whereas advertising simply talks at the targeted audience. The promotion itself can range from free merchandise to VIP treatment. It simply depends on the company and the goal of the campaign.

Promotional marketing - any message that includes an incentive to persuade the target audience to take immediate action


How Effective is Promotional Marketing?

Even in this age of information and technology, the traditional approach of promotional marketing is relevant as ever. Let’s take a look at what effective promotional marketing looks like and how to achieve this level of success.

Determining the Efficiency of Your Promotion

An effective promotional marketing campaign isn’t just one that generates leads or brings money in. It needs to both outperform other campaigns you’ve done in the past and achieve the goals you set. This can be anything from creating a spike in sales during the slow season to doubling your email list.

In order to measure your promotion’s effectiveness, Sam Ashe-Edmunds of Small Business recommends the following: “…Set a variety of benchmarks to evaluate. Review your website and social media traffic during the period of a promotion to gauge its impact on customer activity. Calculate your cost to run the promotion, including your staff time, the money you paid contractors to create materials, media and printing costs and opportunity costs.” After you’ve reviewed these benchmarks, calculate your ROI. If everything outperforms previous promotions, you’ve just executed an effective marketing campaign.

Image text about effective marketing campaign

Keys to Making Your Campaign Successful

As with anything else in marketing, there are keys to making your promotion effective. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my demographic?
  • What change do I want this promotion to incite?
  • What is the main point of this promotion?

After you’ve become clear about your intentions, decide what it is that you will offer. Incentives can range from discounted products to free samples to special events. Whatever you choose, remember that it’s wise to include both digital media and promotional merchandise in your marketing mix.

Promotional marketing can only be effective if it has a high ROI in addition to achieving your goal. Before you publicise your campaign, get specific about how many new clients you want to attract. Know how many sales you want to make and where you want your company to be after the promotion is over.

Image text - before you publicise your campaign, get specific about how many new clients you want to attract


Case Studies and Statistics

For further examination, we’ll examine promotional marketing effectiveness metrics. This includes evaluating case studies and measured statistics.

In one effective campaign, Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) reached out to Red Tomato. They wanted to create promotional products printed with indigenous artwork. Their aim was to increase brand awareness by giving this merchandise out to students at national fairs and in the Northern Territory. To facilitate this process, we chose highly visible items like water bottles and reusable bags. The APA was able to spread their word while staying within their budget. The benefits of promotional products are limitless!

There are many other case studies that support the effectiveness of promotional marketing. However, let’s turn to statistics for more insight. While we fully support more traditional marketing approaches, there is no denying that digital marketing is on the rise. When researching a product, as many as 60% of people use voice search. For “purchase inspiration,” 37% of those who shop online depend on social media. But this doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all forms of traditional marketing to continue your promotions.

As Holly Millar of Talon.One points out, 34% of millennials search for discounts every week. 90% of mobile phone users have subscribed to services offering discounts. In other words, consumers are still on the hunt for promotions. It’s up to you to provide that offer and to deliver an enjoyable experience to reach conversion. Just because the marketing landscape has shifted doesn’t mean you should abandon promotional marketing campaigns. Including both digital and traditional strategies in your marketing mix is likely to provide the best results.

APA Merchandise and message about digital marketing


So, how effective is promotional marketing, really? It will only be as valuable as the clarity of your campaign. Know exactly what you want to get out of it before you invest any money. Identify your targeted demographic and create an urgent conversation with them through your promotion. Choose an incentive that is valuable for your consumers and creates a memorable experience for them. Lastly, don’t be afraid to mix traditional and digital strategies in your campaign. Promotional marketing is still an efficient, powerful marketing tactic when done correctly.

Red Tomato message - don't be afraid to mix traditional and digital strategies in your campaign

If you need help executing your next promotion, we are here to help. There is no question too small or too basic for us to answer.

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