Jan 18, 2023

Promotion marketing 101: What you need to know plus 5 campaign ideas

Henry Bewicke - Content Writer

Henry Bewicke

Content Writer


7 minutes to read

Promotion Marketing 101 Talon.One

In this article, you’ll learn the basics of Promotion Marketing, why your business needs a promotions strategy and get examples of 5 Promotion Campaigns you can implement right now.

So, first things first...

What is promotion marketing: The definition

At Talon.One, we define Promotion Marketing as:

The use of targeted incentives, rewards and special offers with the goal of influencing a purchase, attracting customers and increasing brand awareness.

The foundation of successful Promotion Marketing is effective delivery of a valuable and relevant reward or incentive to the right customer at the right time.

Promotion Marketing uses methods like discounts, coupons, referral campaigns, loyalty programs and product bundling to achieve business goals.

Promotion marketing goals

An increasing number of businesses are turning to promotion marketing to achieve a variety of business goals. There are many different promotion mechanisms which, for a relatively small financial investment, can help businesses do the following:

1. Increase revenue

The ultimate goal of all promotions, either directly or indirectly, is driving sales and increasing revenue. Simple promotions, like discounts and coupons, drive sales by offering customers a more enticing deal on a product or service.

Other promotion marketing mechanisms, like loyalty or referral programs, increase revenue in a more indirect way through metrics like customer loyalty or brand awareness.

2. Source new customers

Sourcing new customers is an integral part of referral programs in particular. Referral programs use cashback and other rewards to encourage existing customers, also known as advocates, to refer their friends.

Referral programs are proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms for sourcing new customers. This applies to both cost and quality of new customers they bring in. Find out all you need to know about referral programs in our Definitive Referral Program Playbook.

3. Increase brand loyalty

Many promotion marketing mechanisms are also great for increasing brand loyalty. It should come as no surprise that loyalty programs are the most popular promotion mechanism for increasing customer loyalty. Loyalty programs offer customers rewards and other incentives depending on how often they shop or how much they spend.

But most other promotion mechanisms can help increase brand loyalty too. The more a brand offers its customers in the way of rewards and incentives, the more likely they are to continue shopping with that brand in the future.

If you’d like to know more about loyalty programs, download your own free copy of our Loyalty Playbook.

4. Increase brand awareness

Brands also use promotions to spread awareness among potential new customers. This can be through word of mouth. For example, existing customers may tell their friends about the quality of a brand’s customer service or the good deal they got on their last shop.

Brand awareness can also be through direct marketing efforts which expose potential new customers to special offers and other promotions.

5. Grow in new markets

Through a combination of all the business objectives mentioned above, promotion marketing can also help brands establish a presence in new markets. For example, a series of promotions specifically targeted towards customers in a new market can help a brand stand out from local competitors.

The 4 Ps of marketing - where does promotion marketing fit in?

Marketing activities are often broken down into a framework known as the ‘4 Ps’ or the marketing mix. This concept allows you to classify all marketing-related activities into four distinct categories - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.


Promotion marketing is an essential part of the marketing mix, and it has an important influence over many aspects of Product, Price, and Place.

It plays a role in everything, from how you merchandise your products, to positioning against competitors and even where you sell. Different promotion marketing mechanisms are used to target different segments of the 4 Ps.

For example, geofenced promotions let you choose precisely where you want certain products to be promoted. Meanwhile, product bundles act more specifically on your product offering and discounts allow you to directly alter your price positioning.

Why you should care about promotion marketing

As an online business, improving customer engagement, driving ROI, winning new customers and increasing revenue while maintaining low promotion costs is no easy task.

To achieve your promotion goals, you need a well-executed promotion marketing strategy to effectively incentivize customers. If you’re targeting all customers with your promotions, sending out thoughtless coupon campaigns and blindly giving everyone 20% discounts, you are overspending on promotions and losing revenue.

Some stats you should know:


More than 90% of consumers have used coupons in some way or another - Spendmenot

79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand. - Marketo

About a third of millennials said they “always” or “very often” use discounted offers when shopping online. - eMarketer

Research states that customers acquired through referrals are 16% more profitable than those acquired through other channels. - Harvard Business Review

Optimizing your digital marketing strategy with targeted promotions is a smart investment for any business looking to scale, reduce customer acquisition costs and increase revenue.

To get started, we recommend building your strategy with the following core promotions: coupons, discounts, referral rewards, loyalty programs and product bundling.

5 promotion strategies for each customer phase


1. Discounts to activate new customers

Promotion Strategy: If a new customer has not made a purchase, send an email offer with 20% off their first order, valid only for the next 48 hours.

Why: In a survey of US internet users, 60% of email recipients were influenced by discounts and promotions. - eMarketer

2. Coupons to improve engagement

Promotion Strategy: If a customer has not made a recent purchase, give them a coupon code for 10€ off their preferred item category.

Why: 34% of internet users look for online coupons on a weekly basis. - eMarketer

3. Referral to acquire new customers

Promotion Strategy: If a customer makes a successful referral by sharing a link on social media, give them a 10€ coupon when their friend makes the first purchase.

Why: Conversions increase 133% when mobile shoppers see a review that is positive before making an eCommerce purchasing decision. - Conversion Sciences

4. Loyalty to increase retention

Promotion Strategy: If a customer makes 5 purchases, offer them a special VIP discount for a partner service (e.g. restaurant gift card, shopping center voucher, movie tickets).

Why: 79% of both Millennials and Gen-Xers want a strong loyalty or discount program. -JWT Intelligence

5. Product bundling to drive revenue

Promotion Strategy: If a user selects 2 or more products from category "X" with a cart total greater than 50€, give them a free product.

Why: 81% of emotionally connected consumers will not only promote the brand among their family and friends, but they will also spend more. -Capgemini

Promotion marketing Best Practices

If you want to see just how effective promotion marketing can be, simply look at some of our hand-picked star promotion campaigns from well-known brands.

Most of the brands you shop and interact with every day will have their own promotion marketing campaigns. These brands can give you ideas for your own promotions, and they also offer valuable insights for Best Practices.

McDonald’s Monopoly

McDonald’s Monopoly has become a worldwide phenomenon since it first launched over 30 years ago. The yearly promotional campaign reaches millions of paying McDonald’s customers with collectable game stickers on select meal items.


Credit: McDonald's

McDonald’s Monopoly makes use of a number of gamification mechanisms to turn the regular dining experience into an engaging promotional game for McDonald’s customers.

Customers can win a huge selection of prizes, from free McDonald’s menu items, all the way up to the top prize of $1 million. The promotion is so popular, it’s now run in 23 countries worldwide, acting as a blueprint for a wildly successful corporate promotion marketing campaign.

Uber Referrals

Uber is well known for its referral program which offers riders and drivers bonuses when they refer new users. Uber’s referral program has been hailed as one of the most successful and widely used referral programs of recent times.


It’s a simple idea, but Uber’s referral program, with its dual-sided bonuses, played a big part in the company’s rapid growth. At one point, it offered up to $30 to new and existing users for a successful referral. The driver referral program was even more generous, allowing drivers to earn up to $1,000 when they referred a friend.

The budget for Uber’s referral program is far out of most companies’ reach. But it’s proof that referral programs can be a huge driver for growing businesses.

KFC’s Christmas promotions in Japan

KFC is one of America’s most iconic fast food brands. But thanks to some clever promotion marketing it’s also established itself as a cultural icon in Japan.


Credit: KFC

KFC received a cold reception when it first set foot in the Japanese market. Japanese consumers weren’t fans of American fried chicken at first. At least not until KFC started promoting it as a traditional dish that American families enjoyed at Christmas.

With the introduction of KFC’s special Christmas Pack and Party Barrel, Christmas sales skyrocketed. KFC is now the most popular fast food brand in Japan, feeding 3.6 million families each Christmas. It’s one of the best examples of what a bit of product positioning and cleverly packaged bundle deals can do for a brand.

What do you need to start promotion marketing?

There’s no specific set of tools or software requirements needed to run promotions. Some common promotion marketing mechanisms can be set up without any digital infrastructure whatsoever, i.e. in-store discounts.

But setting up digital promotions for your business requires significant investment if you decide to build your own solution in-house. To avoid additional costs and time constraints, many brands opt for a third-party promotion solution instead.

Talon.One’s Promotion Engine was built for this exact purpose. It provides a fully-customizable software platform that businesses can use to set up any promotion they’ll ever need. This includes referral programs, loyalty programs, geofenced promotions, coupons, discounts and much more.

What is a Promotion Engine?

To launch these types of campaigns, your business should ensure it has a flexible and secure promotion infrastructure in place to power a variety of use cases.

With a Promotion Engine like Talon.One, you can create, manage and track all your discounts, coupons, referral campaigns and loyalty programs in one holistic solution.

Once you have a Promotion Engine integrated, you can effectively scale your promotions to achieve your business goals. You can then monitor, analyse and adjust your campaigns in real time to fit specific customer segments and market conditions.

Promotion marketing recap

Let’s quickly go over the promotion marketing basics we’ve covered in this blog post:

  • What is promotion marketing? Promotion marketing uses various promotion mechanisms, including discounts, coupons, loyalty & referral programs, and much more, to incentivize customer behaviour and purchases.

  • Promotions help businesses work towards all sorts of objectives, including brand awareness, customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, increasing sales and increasing customer base.

  • Promotion marketing plays an integral role in all corners of the marketing mix, and can help businesses with each of the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion).

  • Different types of promotion are better suited to different business goals. Knowing when to use each promotion is an important part of getting your promotion strategy right.

  • Look towards big brands and the promotions they run for inspiration and Best Practices. There’s no better way to learn than from the experts.

  • To stand the best chance of running a successful promotional campaign, whether it’s loyalty or referrals, you need the right tools at your disposal.

You’ve now covered the basics of promotion marketing, and even got some campaign ideas. It’s time to start thinking about how you could tailor promotions to meet the specific needs of your business and its digital marketing strategy.

If you’re still struggling to manage your promotions effectively, wasting precious resources and wasting your promotion budgets, 2021 is the year to fix it.

We’re (hopefully) moving away from the worst of the pandemic and heading slowly back towards our normal way of life. Promotion marketing could be just the thing your business needs to become stronger going forward.

For more ideas, why not take a look at our content library, which contains promotion ideas for everything from referrals to loyalty.

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Isabelle Watson

Loyalty & promotion expert at Talon.One

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