A Simple Guide to Promotional Planning and Process

Learn about promotional planning and process that maximizes the use of marketing techniques, methods, and resources to advertise a product or service, build demand, and accomplish goals.


Promotional planning is becoming increasingly crucial for both large and small businesses worldwide.

A promotional plan depicts essential parts of a company's strategy and offers a roadmap of future tasks to help the organization meet its objectives.

In this post, we'll walk you through the processes of creating and implementing a promotional plan effectively.

Definition of Promotional Planning

Promotional Plan: A marketing plan and strategy for a specific product or service.

It can be defined as outlining a company's marketing techniques, methods, and resources for promoting a product or service. A promotional strategy is considered an imperative planning tool that helps to successfully launch a new product or service or determine its growth into a new market.

In other words, the promotional strategy outlines a variety of marketing strategies and activities that the company's marketing team will be accountable for following. These activities incorporate public relations, sales promotion, social media marketing, advertising, personalized advertising, etc.

Overall, depending on the nature of each marketing campaign, such as a new product launch or the company's overall marketing strategy, a marketing plan can incorporate a variety of promotional programs.

7-Stages Process of Promotional Planning

Here are the steps to make an effective campaign for any promotional activity:

1. Defining Problem

As a first step, management must determine the need for a promotion and can take into account some factors such as;

  • Which product or service should be promoted?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • How much money has been set aside for promotional activities?

  • What message is to be conveyed to potential buyers?

  • What marketing methods (strategies) and analytical tools should be used?

2. Establishment of Objectives

Once the target audience has been defined, the promotion's plans must be established. The plans could include encouraging non-users to utilize the product, increasing existing customers' usage, or entering a new market niche with a changed product line. In general, the objectives are end goals for which all efforts are made.

Similarly, the intermediaries' goals could include increasing off-season sales or reducing the impact of competition promotional plans.

Marketing schools often recommend the SMART method, referring to specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals. The SMART method helps businesses avoid the overall generalized " to increase sales" strategy as it is not translated or articulated in numbers.

3. Determining Promotion Materials

Promotional material is any tool or approach used to reach customers and persuade them to make a purchase. The promotional material selection could rely on the type of product or service being promoted, the niche market, and the communication channels the management will employ.

Common promotional materials are promotional products, point-of-purchase advertising materials such as flyers, pamphlets, posters, and other print or broadcast advertising materials.

While creating the promotion mix, keeping the objectives and target market in mind is crucial. For example, advertising techniques for educated, urban, and institutional buyers would be different as opposed to illiterate, rural, and household purchasers.

4. Developing Promotional Programs

Promotional campaigns are simply the ways to communicate with prospects or clients. It is all about what and how to convey the message of campaigns to elicit a positive response. The management team must use correct powerful words and some attention-grabbing techniques from headline to related keywords and central theme.

They should know the target audience well enough when developing an advertising message, precisely the types of people who would be interested in using the product or service. This familiarity with the target audience will help you understand how they benefit you from what you're selling.

5. Setting a Promotion Budget

The overall promotion budget must be determined in this step that involves cost breakdowns by territory and promotional mix factors. The management should spend some time analyzing allocations to assess affordability, sales percentage, percentage of ROI, competitive parity, and the number of customers you can convert.

The idea is to break down all these numbers to determine how much money can be made from a potential customer so that the management doesn’t lose money on new customers.

6. Implementation

In the implementation stage, two critical time considerations must be included. First, it must state the ‘lead time’- the time necessary to develop the program to the point where the incentive is made available to the public. The second is the 'sell in time,' when the incentive material is released, and around 90-95 percent of potential customers have received it.

7. Monitoring and Evaluation

After implementation, the performance of the promotional strategy is assessed against the pre-defined standards and objectives, and appropriate actions are taken accordingly. Measuring actual outcomes will become easier if the goals are specific and quantifiable.

During the evaluation, the management must consider all the extraneous elements such as the economic downturn, seasonal fluctuations, natural disasters, and other things that may influence customers' purchasing decisions.

In the end, it can be said that promotional planning is an essential aspect of marketing. Management decides on a comprehensive promotion strategy that covers all marketing methods throughout the product's life cycle, from the launch to the decline phase.