What different ways can companies use to promote their products or brands? Characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of each:

During the introduction of a new product in a new market, the producer has to develop product and brand awareness to inform potential customers, and there are different promotional tools to achieve it. The most important tools are advertising, public relations (PR), sales promotion and personal selling.

Advertising is the first promotional tool; there are different kinds of advertising such as word-of-mouth advertising (which is the best form of advertising because is not paid), or institutional advertising. The biggest disadvantage of advertising is that it’s very expensive for the producer and in many times it´s not profitable.

The most important element of PR is publicity, which is any mention of a company’s product in any medium. The main advantage against advertising is that it’s not paid, also publicity can have bigger impact on public awareness than advertising and people prefer to read publicity instead of advertising.

The third promotional tool is sales promotion. There are temporary tactics (such us free samples, coupons, price reductions etc.) designed to increase sales of a product. In example, free samples could improve the introduction of a new product. But the main problem is that most of the products are in the maturity stage of the life cycle so during that time, producers should use different strategies and tactics (like price reductions) to attract brand switchers. Sales promotions can also be aimed at distributors, dealers and retailers and even can be aimed at the sales force.

The last promotional tool is personal selling; the main problem is that it’s very expensive for companies because they have to recruit a lot of sales representatives, but they are also the only person from the company that costumers see so they are a extremely important channel of information.

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