Page 4: Below-the-line promotion
Below-the-line promotion aims to reach consumers more directly through forms of
communication other than traditional advertising channels.
For example, Hi-Tec has targeted consumers through collaborations with several organisations. It has set up partnerships with the UK's National Trust (to promote a new walking boot) as well as with the Caravanning Club (an audience who might be interested in instantly comfortable and lightweight outdoor footwear).
It uses character branding to promote its products. This means that it appoints ambassadors such as Alexandre Poussin, the world explorer, and Martin Dreyer, from the world of extreme sports, to endorse its products. Hi-Tec also uses sponsorship to promote its brand. For example, it sponsors Amr Shabana, one of the world's leading squash players.
The company also uses other below-the-line activities:
- Direct mail – Hi-Tec emails customers, linking the message to the e-commerce part of Hi-Tec's website. This means people can go directly to the Hi-Tec online shop to buy goods.
- Exhibitions – Hi-Tec promotes at trade and consumer shows. These allow Hi-Tec to give retailers and consumers the opportunity to see the products first-hand.
- Sales promotions – H-Tec offers both retailers and consumers a range of sales incentives, including discounts, to encourage them to stock or buy its products.
- Branding – Hi-Tec supplies retailers with point-of-sale materials, such as packaging and store displays and provides training for retail staff within stores.
- Promotional materials - Hi-Tec's extranet website shares material such as brand photography and press releases so retailers can use this material in their own promotions. This raises the profile of the Hi-Tec brand and ensures that it is represented consistently.
Hi-Tec also uses PR (Public Relations) to create a positive public perception for its products. This includes issuing press releases, writing blogs and the use of social networking sites like Facebook.
A more recent way to take advertising to a different level is through viral marketing. This is a self-generating activity in which people pass on information to other consumers through the internet. It can spread a marketing campaign more widely and more quickly than traditional advertising. This is an example of consumers becoming advocates.