Page 4: Below-the-line promotion
Portakabin only uses above-the-line methods in limited circumstances. Instead, it usually relies on below-the-line promotion. This involves a range of methods over which the business has more direct control and which can be targeted at specific groups of customers.
These offer customers incentives to encourage them to buy goods and services. In B2C markets, typical sales promotions include:
- BOGOF (buy one, get one free) offers
- price discounts (10% off this week)
- competitions to win holidays or cash prizes
In most B2B markets, however, these offers would not be relevant to the people who make the purchase decisions. Portakabin customers are making large investments. They require unique products to suit a one-off purpose. Portakabin offers solution and value-based benefits, like adding in air conditioning to a building.
This enables a business to target existing and potential customers with its sales messages. Portakabin uses this method of promotion extensively, sending out leaflets and brochures to maintain brand awareness. This means the company remains in its customers' minds the next time they need to make a purchase. Direct mailing is a productive way of promoting to existing customers for several reasons.
- Portakabin already has the names of contacts in existing customer businesses. In addition, it can easily access the names of people from other parts of these businesses who have expressed interest in Portakabinproducts, such as people who have signed up for its newsletter.
- The company can measure the response rate from a direct mail campaign and can follow up enquiries
This is used to enhance the image of a company. It involves communication with groups outside the company, such as customers, shareholders, government and the public. This can take different forms.
- Product launches businesses invite the press to the launch of new products. This may lead to free, and hopefully favourable, publicity.
- Sponsorship large companies provide finance for events such as Formula One or the Olympics in return for the right to promote their brand names during the event.
- Charitable donations businesses may participate in fundraising events like Comic Relief or Children in Need. This provides an opportunity to put the company name in front of very large television audiences.
- Press releases companies issue short news stories about their operations, which may then appear in television reports or newspaper articles. Portakabin has issued press releases announcing that it has helped create nursery accommodation at a hospital in Salford, provided a building for an incubator unit at the famous Papworth hospital in Cambridgeshire and supplied a new teaching block at York St John College in Yorkshire. These are commercial sales, but they are also good public relations stories that attract newspaper interest. The resulting articles name Portakabin, acting as free advertising and product endorsement.
Customer newsletters and magazines
These also provide strong communications channels. Portakabin can include information for customers about the market and the company. Portakabin shares information with its customers to show it is a knowledge-based business. This means that it appears open and trustworthy. These publications feature case studies highlighting products that serve particular uses. These demonstrate how Portakabin products can meet different customer requirements.
This is increasingly used by Portakabin in its promotions. Email is an inexpensive way to send product updates and news alerts. The Portakabin product range grows rapidly and email can keep customers up-to-date. Portakabin tracks every enquiry and response, and follows up potential sales leads. Research shows that 72% of business buyers rate the web as their top source of information.
The Internet is also important for Portakabin. Portakabin uses 'search engine optimisation' web tools to ensure that its website shows at the top of every relevant search results page. Portakabin also uses paid-for web advertising, such as pay-per-click on Google, to profile its business to prospective customers.