All activities aimed at making the potential customer aware of your startup, business, product, service or
brand are termed as marketing & promotion. When you promote your product or service, you try to develop the potential customer’s interest in your business offering and make your brand popular or positively well known. Most widely used activities & tools used for promoting a business in Pakistan are personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and advertising.
Below is a brief account of all these promotional activities that can be performed to market your business in Pakistan:
Personal selling is done through verbal presentations and demonstrations. These presentations may be face to face, by phone or internet. Personal selling involves; internal activities to train, motivate and mobilize your firm’s sales staff, as well as external promotions of your product or service to potential customers. Both sets of activities aim towards generating sales.
Examples for internal activities include training and incentive programs for the sales team, sales presentations, telemarketing and samples etc. A property dealer selling a house and a sales agent selling a car are both examples of external activities of personal selling.
- Prepare your selling pitch by highlighting key product features.
- Keep the language you use simple and easy to understand.
- Maintain follow up with your target customer for feedback and review.
Sales promotion involves activities undertaken to increase sales of a product or service for a defined period of time. Examples include samples or trials, coupons, trade shows, exhibitions, contests etc. For more ideas explore seasonal discounts on clothing brands, prizes or discounts offered by Shopping Malls like Emporium or Hyperstar, for specific periods to stimulate sales. Also service providers like gyms, restaurants etc. regularly offer special discounts for limited time periods.
No gift is a free gift. Prepare budgets for sales promotions carefully. You don’t want to spend more money than what you expect to earn.
Public relations (PR) in a commercial organization (business) is information about its products or services or activities usually provided through a third party. This information is presented such that it reflects favorably on the organization, and it is meant to stimulate public interest. Examples include newspaper and magazine articles, charitable contributions, seminars, speeches, etc.
Notice how Uber and Careem regularly offer discounts and even free rides during times of crises or during national celebratory events as part of their PR campaigns. Most businesses use a mix of advertising, personal selling, referrals, sales promotion and public relations to promote their products or services.
You should take part in at least some P.R. related activities, such as appearing to celebrate national holidays such as Independence Day or Eid and other religious and cultural festivals.
Advertising involves activities of calling public attention to a product, business or need, usually by paid announcements in the electronic, print and broadcast media or through outdoor channels such as bus stands, billboards etc. For example large clothing brands like Gul Ahmed often use a combination of advertising channels including television, radio, print (magazines & newspapers) and billboards.
The objective of advertising is to increase sales by:
- Making your business and product name familiar to the public
- Creating goodwill and building a favorable image
- Educating and informing the public
- Attracting customers to explore your product or service
Consider the following four key points when planning any advertising activity:
Aim: What is the main purpose of the advertisement? Is it to inform, sell, produce listings or improve the image of your business?
Target: Who is the target and what are their set of demographics? From which sector of the public are you trying to achieve a response? For example is it male, female, adult, teenager, child, mother, father etc.
Media: Keeping your aim and target in mind, which of the media options available to you appears most suitable i.e. TV, radio, press or Internet?
Competitors: What are your competitors doing? Which media channel do they use? Are they successful? Can you improve on their approach and beat them in competition?
In order to create a good advertisement, we need to make sure that it attracts attention, arouses interest and delivers sufficient impact in the message, creates a desire to learn more or crave ownership, and it prompts an action which leads to the achievement of the advert’s original objective.
Remember to keep your branding and message consistent across all media. This includes the colors, logos, design elements and fonts used.
List of Advertising Mediums in Pakistan
There are many media options available to advertisers and often a combination of these can be used to good effect. Following is an introduction to some commonly used advertising media available to startups in Pakistan:
1. Promoting Your Business Through Office Stationery
Stationery includes letterheads, envelopes and business cards. It is a means by which your business image or name is projected. Good quality stationery, used with care and attention and with a high standard of presentation, is an everyday means of presenting your business image.
Start with visiting cards designed through a printing agency. As your business grows or requires, you can have other stationary items developed.
2. Using Window Display For Branding & Marketing
The external presentation of your business, office or shop is one of the principal ways of establishing your business image. An attractive, well maintained exterior with clear, bold sign writing is an essential start. People on the street, passing by your business location are all potential customers who if attracted by your window display, may step inside for a closer look, which is exactly what you want.
Windows should be bright, attractively presented, scrupulously clean and well lit at night. The display should be arranged neatly and aimed at projecting an attractive business image or an incentive to enter the premises.
3. Using Magazines & Press Advertising
Includes advertising in all press such as newspapers, magazines and journals. Press advertising is suitable for image building, information dissemination and sales campaigns. Real estate dealers and builders often advertise new housing schemes and societies in large advertisements printed in newspapers. Contact your local newspaper for prices as well as the options for newspaper advertising that they offer.
4. Use Radio for PR & Marketing
Radio advertising involves spot adverts (usually 15-30 seconds long), promotions or DJ discussions. Most local radio stations provide significant airtime to advertisements. DJs regularly distribute gifts as prizes for quiz winners on their shows, these gifts are typically offered by businesses for promotional purposes. Contact your local radio station and ask for potential advertisement opportunities that you can avail.
Remember to know the type of programs & shows your target audience listens to (if any) and consider advertising only during those shows.
5. Advertising Over Television in Pakistan
Television is a powerful advertising medium, however the cost of producing the advertisement and obtaining sufficient airtime to allow the campaign to work often makes it un-affordable for small businesses. Local cable operators, however, allow cheaper airtime and should be explored. All advertisements including commercials as well as banner ads shown on TV fall within this category.
Explore the possibility of small popup banner adverts if your cable operator offers such a facility, and if such advertisements are suitable for your business.
6. Direct Mail & Email Marketing in Pakistan
This is a broad category covering direct communication with the consumer through email & post. It can include brochures, catalogs, leaflets, pamphlets, newsletters and letters. To minimize cost physical catalogs & newsletters may be dropped by business representatives at nearby locations. Distant customers can be reached through Pakistan Post.
Yes, use Pakistan Post as it is the most wide & the cheapest postal or courier service available in Pakistan!
7. Outdoor Advertising
This is any type of advertising which is done outdoors, including static advertising such as billboards, backs of street benches and bus shelters or advertisements displayed on buses, trains, taxis or towed signage etc. The usefulness and impact of outdoor advertisement depends on how often your potential customers get exposed to those adverts and pay attention to them. This is why the cost of outdoor advertisements can vary from location to location.
Advertising on the backs of rickshaw’s and business vehicles can be effective and yet relatively less expensive.
8. Digital & Online Marketing in Pakistan
Online advertising is very suitable for startups in Pakistan due to its relative low cost. The options for online advertising continue to grow rapidly, which include advertising through your website, advertising on other websites, social networks and forums as well as email marketing. For example: If you create a webpage for your business you can easily advertise your products and promotions on that page. Many local websites will also provide advertisement space to businesses for a fee.
A cheaper option is the use of social media like Facebook. If you have a Facebook profile you will notice advertisements on the right side of your display panel, these advertisements are clickable and lead you to the advertiser’s official Facebook page. You can advertise your business and products on Facebook similarly. It is also recommended that you create a Facebook page for your business as well.
For Facebook marketing, you actually don’t need any company to do that for you. You can simply do it yourself; Login to your Facebook account, click the small button at the top right side of the page and a panel will open with options like “Create Page”, “Create Ads” and “Advertising on Facebook”. Do explore these options. Facebook will guide you through the processes.