The fourth P – Promotion

Allow me to take everyone’s favorite – Burger King, to create some fictional scenarios loosely based on real-life shenanigans.

Scenario 1: It’s just another day when you are scrolling through your Facebook & Instagram feeds when you find a masterpiece ad by BK. Remember the time when Burger King used its rival McDonald’s ad and turned it in its favor? How did it help? 

Scenario 2: Now you wouldn’t generally find a salesperson from BK arriving at your doorsteps to sell burgers to you. But think of those times when you are passing through a shopping neighborhood, and you find people from BK handing out store pamphlets to you. You’ll know that a BK outlet is in close vicinity. How does that help?

Scenario 3: Think of the times when you were “allowed” to visit a BK outlet. The first thing which you look for is the various offers, combos, coupons, & discounts – with the sole intention of having to pay a little bit less for your order. How does this help BK?

Scenario 4: If you have been active a bit on social media during the last four months, you would have come across news stating how Burger King adapted to this new normal and gave a new angle to their popular ‘Whopper’. They came out with ‘Social Distancing Whoppers’ and created large-sized crowns for people who bought a Whopper. These crowns helped people maintain distance between them – aligning themselves with the worldwide effort of maintaining social distancing. Or when they made an appeal to McDonald’s on World Peace Day to create a ‘McWhopper’ for people. How has this helped BK?

Scenario 5: Another way how BK would have probably reached out to you is through emails or text messages giving you some offer. If BK has a new store near your place, you’ll get to know it. If they have some offers on an FSA (food service aggregator – Swiggy, Zomato), you’ll get to know about it. Or maybe some combo offer? At last, how does this help BK again?

Now what is the exact point which I am trying to make with this example of Burger King?

Businesses use a combination of different tools to reach out to their customers and keep them updated. And this becomes all the more necessary, when the business is in a segment which is closely related to customers, and their buying behaviour. 

And how do they reach their customers? By something known as the Promotion Mix. 

Remember the 4P’s? Product, Price, Place, Promotion. 

Promotion Mix talks about the fourth P: promotion – which is all about initiating a sales conversion, or influence a buying behaviour, or persuading the customers – through some means or the other. 

In short, it means finding out ways to take your product to people.

These ways have been classified as:

  • Advertising: A paid form of pulling audiences to your product/service. It can be of many forms today – social, print, display, emails etc. But, the most important thing to figure out here is: you need to have something in your ads which attracts the customers to you. Take Scenario 1. You find BK’s ads on television, and social media, which gives you ideas about what their new burger would look like etc. It helps in creation of interest, and just maybe, a bit of a purchase intention being created in the consumers’ mind. 
  • Personal Selling: A kind of a face-to-face interaction between the company and their customer. Take Scenario 2. That person who was handing out the pamphlets to you, was probably the sales person of BK who was giving out information about a new BK store in your vicinity. It helped BK in gaining a chunk of hungry customers who were walking down the streets of that shopping neighborhood, and made them think “There’s no harm in having a small burger while I shop.”
  • Sales Promotion: Incentives given to the customers to increase the sales for a short period of time. Take Scenario 3. Remember going to a BK outlet and looking for the offer which gives 2 burgers for 59 rupees? Well. That is a sales promotion. Or those Work from Home combos which BK has to offer when you order online? Sales Promotion.
  • Public Relations: Building a good image in the market by creating relations with the public, and other stakeholders. After all, in businesses which are more customer-oriented, sales are directly proportional to a good image. Take Scenario 4, where BK launched a new Whopper to increase social awareness about distancing in the times of a virus. That is a kind of a PR activity on the part of BK.
  • Direct Marketing: Directly reaching out to existing/potential customers to inform about new offerings and offers. Take scenario 5. This helps BK to remind customers about their products, and this can also help in capturing people in their micro moments, eventually increasing the product sales.

Now, it may happen that each of these methods may not be suitable for every company, as it depends on the industry & domain, they are operating in.

A part true, part fictional representation of the promotional mix of Burger King

Not just BK. Every company out there in the market, is applying some means or the other to promote their product. You take any company, and you’ll come across various campaigns they have created as part of promotions – all of this yielding one consequential result. 

Never ignore the fourth P of marketing. Sometimes, it may just prove to be the most useful.

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