The goal of any promotional campaign is to engender excitement around a product or service with the ultimate aim of creating sales. Separate from a marketing campaign, a promotional campaign is a short-term initiative employing tactics that can ideally be measured. Measurement allows the marketer to determine the degree to which the promotional campaign has been successful. The promotional campaign should aim to have everyone involved in the initiative working cooperatively and efficiently toward a common sales growth goal.
Increased market awareness is a primary promotional objective. A product that's new to the marketplace will need promotion to be introduced to consumers. Similarly, an existing product that needs to reach new untapped markets can use promotion to create awareness in those arenas. A mature product that is providing something new such as a product improvement or enhancement can also turn to promotion. In all these cases, the objective is to make noise in the market that results in sales.
Getting a consumer to try a product is the first step in creating a customer who over time, will consistently contribute to the company's bottom-line through purchases of the product. Trial is especially important for a new product that goes into the market as a blank slate in terms of its perception. For an existing product with below-average development in a market, stimulating trial can be the key to unlocking hidden sales potential. The objective is to get as many consumers as possible to try the product using the tools of sales promotion - discount coupons, trial sizes, samples.
Since no brand is an island, products use promotional campaigns to thwart the activities of other products. A new product's introductory push into the market can be neutralized by an established brand who steals their thunder by doing a big push promotion of their own. An established brand might distribute deeply discounted coupons as a means to foil a competitor. Increasing advertising expenditures temporarily via a promotional campaign can help drown out the voice of the new upstart product. Similarly, a newcomer brand can strategize to win share from established brands by offering deep discounts via promotions. The goal is to eliminate, neutralize or frustrate the efforts of competitors to grab market share.
The ultimate aim of a promotional campaign is to stimulate sales. Some products have seasonal sales cycles like candy at Halloween and Easter. A candy marketer's promotional campaign during those sales cycles aims to ensure the product gets its expected sales lift during those peak sales periods, or the marketer may decide to forgo promoting at that obvious time and wait to promote during a non-peak selling time to have the candy-loving consumer audience to itself. Other products have primary flat sales year round, but savvy managers will plan several promotions throughout the year to ensure forecasted year-end sales goals are met.