The term "sales promotion" refers to a type of marketing that is either targeted toward the distribution channel (by providing incentives for sales) or directly at the consumer. It is a tactic for introducing new items, emptying inventories, building traffic and giving sales a little boost.
Sales promotion is just one of the seven elements of a promotional mix, along with advertising, personal selling, corporate image, public relations, direct marketing and exhibitions. Marketing tactics go to work for a set time to spike consumer demand or make the product more available. Common examples include coupons, contests, premiums and other short-term offers.