Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Business Management

Marketing mix



Customer awareness

There is much more to promotion than advertising. Businesses use various methods to gain publicity.

Promotion refers to the methods used by a business to make customers aware of its product. Advertising is just one of the means a business can use to create publicity. Businesses create an overall promotional mix by putting together a combination of the following strategies:

Busy Shanghai street with advertisements along the walls of the buildings. The most prominenet advert is a large lit-up Coca-cola bottle on the corner of a building.

Promotional material on a high street in Shanghai

  • Advertising: where a business pays for messages about itself in mass media such as television or newspapers. Advertising is non-personal and is also called above-the-line promotion. Advertising can be categorised into informative advertising (telling consumers about a product on TV or radio), persuasive advertising (aimed at our emotions and trying to get us to buy their product) and corporate advertising (promoting the entire company rather than specific products. Disney is one such firm that employs corporate advertising).
  • Sales promotions: which encourage customers to buy now rather than later. For example, 'Buy One Get One Free', point of sale displays, 2-for-1 offers, free gifts, samples, coupons or competitions. Sales promotions can be divided into two categories: into the pipeline promotions (aimed at wholesalers) and out of the pipeline promotions (aimed at customers).
  • Personal selling: using face-to-face communication, eg employing a sales person or agent to make direct contact with customers.
  • Direct marketing: takes place when firms make contact with individual consumers using tactics such as ‘junk’ mail shots and weekly ‘special offer’ emails.There is no one right promotional mix for all firms. The combination of promotional elements selected takes into account the size of the market and available resources. Large businesses have the resources to use national advertising. Small firms with limited resources and a local market may instead opt for leaflet drops to promote their activities.

Public Relations (PR) is a promotional technique used to gain media coverage. It is free and is generated through events, activities or news-worthy stories. Having celebrities opening a new store is a common PR activity, as is supporting a charity or community venture which generates positive publicity for an organisation.

A forumla one car featuring the logos of many different sponsors.

Formula 1 sponsorship logos on a car.

Sponsorship occurs when companies pay to have their name associated with an event or another organisation like a football club. Sponsors pay for media exposure gained through the event such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup.



Deborah Meaden

Business videos

Business tips from experts including Lord Sugar and Deborah Meaden.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.