Live revision! Join us for our free exam revision livestreams Watch now

Study Notes

Marketing: Introduction to Promotion (GCSE)

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

It is no longer enough for a business to have great products. Lots of businesses have those too. Customers need to know about a great product and be persuaded to buy. That is the role of promotion.

Promotion is all about communication. Why because promotion is the way in a business makes its products known to the customers, both current and potential.

The main aim of promotion is to ensure that customers are aware of the existence and positioning of products. Promotion is also used to persuade customers that the product is better than competing products and to remind customers about why they may want to buy.

It is a common mistake to believe that promotion by business is all about advertising. It isn't. There are a variety of approaches that a business can take to get their message across to customers, although advertising is certainly an important one.

It is important to understand that a business will use more than one method of promotion. The variety of promotional methods used is referred to as the promotional mix.

Which promotional methods are used depends on several factors:

Stage in the life cycle: e.g. advertising is important at the launch stage

Nature of the product: how much information is required by customers before they buy

Competition: what are rivals doing?

Marketing budget: how much can the firm afford?

Marketing strategy: other elements of the mix (price, product, place etc)

Target market: appropriate ways to reach the target market

The main methods of promotion are:


Public relations & sponsorship

Personal selling

Direct marketing

Sales promotion

Main aims of promotion

Promotional activities have a variety of aims:

To inform current and potential customers about the existence of products

To explain the potential benefits of using the product

To persuade customers to buy the product

To help differentiate a product from the competition

To develop and sustain a brand

To reassure customers that they have made the right choice

Promotional methods – "above and below the line"

The way in which promotion is targeted is traditionally split into two types:

Above the line promotion – paid for communication in the independent media e.g. advertising on TV or in the newspapers. Though it can be targeted, it could be seen by anyone outside the target audience. Advertising is the main methods of above-the-line promotion.

Below the line promotion – promotional activities where the business has direct control e.g. direct mailing and money off coupons. It is aimed directly at the target audience.

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.