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What’s the best way to promote my complex product?

Two large considerations impact a complex products marketing strategy: the type of advertising appeal and pricing.

Type of advertising appeal

The type of product that a company promotes has a large effect of the type of promotions that may be more effective. These products fall can fall into two categories: high and low involvement. High involvement products have a longer buyer’s journey and require more thoughtful consideration on the part of the buyer. The buyer weighs multiple features and benefits, as well as conducts research prior to purchase. Low involvement products can be characterized by less thought about the purchase and can include impulse buys.

More complex products generally fall into a high involvement purchase. A common example of a high involvement purchase would be buying a car or home. IT is another typical high involvement purchase for businesses. 

There is a general rule of thumb for promotions that separates high involvement and low involvement products. For high involvement purchases, generally a more detailed approach to a promotion that includes features and benefits, can be beneficial. For example, individual product advertisements for HPE are more tech specific, like the one for HPE Synergy.

There is some deviation from the generalization of promoting high involvement products with features. In order to transcend the product being a bundle of features, companies can prioritize benefits. Some companies may shift to an emotional appeal, common to low involvement products, because it better highlights their benefits over features.

Google does a great job of using an emotional appeal to their benefit. I love the Google commercial “Dear Sophie” because, rather than selling an audience on the largest search engine or their advancements in other areas outside of search, Google speaks to the individual.

Some other examples of complex or high involvement products using an emotional and benefits appeal: Re/MAX commercials speak to consumer benefits, and HP spots talk to the consumer.

So where does cost fall in the realm of promotions? How often should companies involved in complex purchases be using price as motivation for consumers to buy?


Price wars can be costly business. By promoting lower and lower prices, it is necessary to have a unique advantage over the competition to guarantee that you will remain the low cost leader for your consumers. Amazon has developed a unique advantage in distribution that allows them to keep lower prices than their competitors. Coupled with a large product selection and convenience, Amazon is thriving in the current competitive landscape.

A great example of commercials that sell complex products, while utilizing price as a means of consumer comparison point, are phone service providers. Their commercials can sometimes be formulaic: demonstrate the extensiveness of their network, maybe mention their advantage over competition, followed by their specifications for monthly coverage prices.

Some of the commercials have entertainment value, like the above Verizon Wireless spot, but they reflect benefits and emotions less. By mentioning several different numbers, in relation to coverage, data, and price, they are also making their message harder to remember.

So what should you as a marketer be considering?

Think about a your audience and what benefits they are looking for.

By highlighting the benefit, you can help convince the individual that their investment in your product is worthwhile. Features without benefits will not provide the additional convincing for wary consumers.

Consider what type of purchase this will be for your customer.

If it is a business purchase, think about how to best highlight its savings as well as benefits. Individual customers care about price, but they may be more motivated by additional factors like convenience.

Price as a motivator may only be a temporary advantage.

Using price as a motivator works when you are the low cost leader and can maintain that position.

Choose specific features to highlight.

By focusing in on a specific advantage, especially if it is unique to your product, may help consumers understand your product’s advantage. A laundry list of features may only serve to confuse prospects further since they may arrive with too many options to weigh. People are more likely to remember one specific message, rather than a list. As the list of points grows, retention drops.

What else do you consider when promoting a complex product?

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