Sales Promotion: Meaning, Definition, Objectives

Have you ever delayed a purchase until the item went on sale, or you made an unplanned purchase because you had a coupon for the product? If yes, then certainly you have come across something which is known as Sales Promotion.

Sales Promotion is a form of marketing communication used by an organization, which together with advertising, public relations, and personal selling, structures as a part of the promotional mix of the company. It can be defined as the short-term tactics used by any organization to boost the purchase or sales of a product or a service.

These are short term incentives aimed at enticing the customers and increasing their interest in a product to stimulate immediate sales.

  • Sales promotion differs from advertising in the sense that advertising gives a reason for the buyers to buy a product while promotions give incentives to buy a product.
  • Advertising is done to take the buyer to the product while sales promotion is done to take the product to the buyer.
  • Some of the common types of sales promotion are discount sales, coupons, free samples, prizes, point of purchase displays, refunds, trade fairs, contests, rebates, premiums.
  • Popular brands like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s are often seen using sales promotion tools like coupons in their marketing prominently i.e. if you have a coupon you will get a discount of X amount on the purchase. Assured Gifts on purchase at festival times or brands selling soaps and detergents claiming gold coins in it are some other well-known examples of promotions.

Sales promotion offered by a company can be classified into two categories- depending on whether it is directed towards their consumers known as Consumer Promotion or it is directed towards their trade partners (resellers or distribution channels) known as Trade Promotions.

Consumer promotions are the consumer incentives inducing consumers to buy more of a product or service while trade promotions are to build a push in the distribution channels so that the resellers sell the manufacturers products with great enthusiasm.

The main objectives of sales promotions include:

  • Introducing and selling of new products in the market
  • Enticing new customers to make on-spot purchase promptly
  • Inducing present customers to buy more of the product
  • To retain customer’s interest during the off-season
  • To attract resellers to stock more of the product

Thus Sales Promotion can be used as an effective marketing tool as a “catch-all” method to encourage sales. At the consumers’ level, it aims at enabling consumers to buy more and more of a product frequently or to introduce new uses of a product. On the dealers’ level, it aims at selling a particular product of a manufacturer while on the salesmen level, it aims at achieving more sales.


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