The modern organisation does not carry out its marketing programmes in an uncoordinated manner. It make efforts at all times to make an effective use of the tools at their disposal. Therefore, the company’s personal selling, advertising and other promotional activities should form a coordinated programme within the marketing plan. When the activities are Fragmented, they are capable of having many damaging effects on the entire marketing efforts of the organisation. For example, advertising director and sales managers may conflict or differ over resources. This would not happen if the clements comprising sales promotion were part of IMC, the integrated marketing communication effort. This is a strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute and evaluate coordinated communication with the organisations public.
The IMC begins with the strategic planning efforts designed to coordinate promotion with product planning, pricing and distribution to achieve an effective and excellent set of marketing objectives. For example, promotion is influenced by how distinctive a product is from that of the competitors and whether its planned price is above or below the competitive market price. In IMC approach, the organisation adopts the position that a customer or prospect is exposed to many bits and pieces of information about a company or brand. Some of which comes from the marketer while majority comes from other sources. These sources include among others:
i. Personal experience
ii. The opinion of others like peer groups in mentor on personality
iii. Comparison made by competitors in their advertisements.
On the basis of all these sources of information, the individual makes evaluation and forms an opinion to make his decision. The marketer who obviously has little control over the information available to the consumer and how he uses the information, must package a promotional efforts that is highly coordinated and complementary to the information the consumer can access and which will at the same time have impact on such consumer.
Therefore, the marketer needs to utilize several promotional methods with high degree of combination that will give appropriate messages to the consumers within the available “windows of opportunity” about the company or brand and effectively communicate the appropriate message.
The IMC Elements
These are the variables which the organisation bears in mind in packaging their promotional programmes in an effectively coordinated manner. For an organisation to effectively adopt the IMC philosophy, it should have:
i. An awareness of the target audience information sources as well as their media habits and preferences.
ii. An understanding of what the target audience knows and believes which relate to the responses expected from them by the marketer.
iii. The use of promotional tools having specific objectives that leads to a common overall goal.
iv. A promotional effort in which personal selling, advertising, sales promotion and public relations are coordinated in order to communicate a consistent message.
v. A carefully timed continuous flow of information adapted to the audience information need.
Evaluating the IMC
IMC pre-supposes that the well thought out marketing programmes should from time to time be carefully evaluated in order to ensure that it achieves the desired result and set goals. A promotional programme carried in a manner consistent with IMC is expected to have: ‘Advertising programme consisting of a series of related well timed, carefully placed advertisement that reinforce personal selling and sales promotional efforts. A personal selling effort that is coordinated with the advertising programmes, that is the sales force would be informed of advertising theme, the media used to carry the advert and the schedule of appearance of the adverts. This is for the sales force to follow up and explain where possible to the potential customers. Sales promotional efforts like points of purchase display must be coordinated with the other selling efforts’.
Public relations efforts should be scheduled to coincide with the other mix components which all are to result in:
i. Awareness of a company or its brands
ii. Interests in its product or brand
iii. Decision action on usage of the product.
1. You have learnt in this module that marketing mix consists the overall variables available to the organisation within which it can manipulate in a preferable combination and variable in order to edge out its competitors. The mix variable is made up of the traditional 4Ps of Product, Price, Promotion and Place/distribution and of course the additional 3Ps for marketing of service products namely People, Process and Physical evidence.
2. The product is defined as a bundle of utilities consisting various product features and accompanied services.
3. Price focuses on the value placed on the product; price is that amount which both the buyer and the seller are willing to exchange value for value.
4. Place otherwise called distribution is the level of availability of a product. It is the extent of the sacrifice which the consumers are prepared to make in order to have the product.
5. Promotion is the act of transmitting information for marketing purposes. It is the process of establishing communication relationship with the target audience. The embrace of marketing by the service sector brought about the development of the service mix ingredient of peoples, process and physical evidence.
6. Integrated marketing communication (IMC) describes a coordinated promotional effort that includes planning, developing, executing and evaluating communication with an organisations public. An IMC approach to promotion adopts a customer’s perspective in order to have an effective promotional activity.
You will agree with me that marketing activities take place because there is a product or service that can satisfy the needs of the people. If no product or service exists, no marketing activities will take place. Since no society can exist without the availability of goods and services, no individual can produce all that he/she needs. It becomes necessary for exchange to take place and this is the bedrock of marketing. This article will introduce you to one of the four traditional Ps of marketing. You will be able to know what constitutes a product, the various classifications of product, product features and characteristics.
Product can be defined as something that satisfies a need or fills a want or solves a problem (Nichels, 2002). Kotler & Keller (2007) see product as anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption and can satisfy a need. It includes physical objects, services, person, places, organizations and ideas. Product can also be described as asset of tangible and intangible attributes including packaging, colour and place, which the buyer may accept as offering want satisfaction. From the various definitions, the following key attributes can be identified:
Satisfaction of needs
Anything that can be offered to the customer
Can get attention
Can be acquired
Usable or consumable
Tangible or intangible
You have now understood what a product is, it is not necessarily tangible, therefore this session will give you a clearer picture of how products can be classified. There are different ways by which products can be classified. Products can be classified according to usage i.e Personal or organization usage, hence products can either be consumer or industrial products. Consumer products are products that are acquired 19 satisfy individual or household needs. These products can either be tangible or intangible. They are tangible if they can be held physically e,g, bread, cloth, car and they can be intangible if they are services such as purchase of insurance, banking, cinema etc.
Classifications of consumer product and service according to shopping habits
The consumers buy many types of products and these products can be classified according to the shopping habits displayed in the process of purchase, Shopping habits are the extent to which a consumer will be willing to search the market in order to make a purchase decision. These habits are identified as:
Convenience goods: These are products that consumers want to buy with little or no possible effort as they are often bought most frequently. Selection of such products is characterized by routine buying behaviours. Such products are bought without consumer seeking information about them and examples include petrol, soaps, haircuts etc. The convenience products can be further divided into two namely:
Staples: These are goods consumer purchase on regular basis eg, margarine/butter, pepper, tea, sugar etc.
Impulse goods: These are products that are purchased without any planning or search efforts. They could be new products that are just coming to the market which consumer just want to try for the first time. It could be the purchase of a newspaper as a result of the headlines.
Emergency goods: These are purchased when an urgent need arises for example, if an unexpected rain begins.There is the tendency for an emergency purchase of a rain coat or an umbrella.
Shopping Products and Services: Nichel, Mchugh, & Mchugh described shopping products and services as those products or services that the consumer buys only after comparing value, quality, style, and price from a variety of sellers. These products are sold largely through shopping centres where consumers can shop around. Since consumers carefully compare such products, marketers are conscious of the quality, price and their service offering to ensure competitive advantage. According to Perreault & McCarthy (2003) Shopping product can be divided into two namely. Homogeneous ping products and
Heterogeneous Shopping Products: The Homogeneous shopping products are defined as products the consumer sees as basically the same and wants at the lowest price e.g. computers and computer accessories, television sets, washing machines, cars etc.
Heterogeneous shopping products on the other hand are defined as products the consumer sees 25 different and wants to inspect for quality and suitability e.g. furniture, clothing and automobile.
Specialty Products and Services: These are products for which there are no acceptable substitutes in the mind of the consumer, hence the consumers are willing to search for long and hard until they find such brand. The product in this category also appear a relatively small segment but have a special attraction to consumers who are willing to go out of their way to obtain them. The brand name is extremely important in the product chance of the consumer e.g. automobile, expensive wrist watch, computer brand, etc.
Unsought Products and Service: These are products and services that consumers are unaware of, have not necessarily thought of buying, or find that they need to save unexpected problem e.g. service of a towing vehicle as a result of an unexpected break down.
You should be able to recall the various classifications of consumer products and give examples of two products in each class.
Convenience goods; Impulse goods; unsought products; Shopping products and services
Classifications of consumer product according to Life expectancy
Products can also be classified into four groups according to life expectancy.
Durability and Non-durability: Durable products are usually tangible products that can be used or enjoyed for a fairly long time. The consumers do not have cause to change or purchase them frequently. Products that fall under this category include refrigerators, Television, automobile and furniture. While non durable products are tangible products that do not last for a very long time. They are often consumed in one or few uses, hence there is need to buy them more frequently e.g. soaps, engine oil, gas and stationeries.
Perishable and non Perishability: Products can also be classified according to their life span in terms of how long or short is the life span. Some products have fairly long life span while others have a very short life span. Products like furniture, electronic equipment, automobile and building have a very long life span, while food related items particularly cooked food item may have a very short life span e.g. fried rice, pawpaw etc. The life span of a product is usually one of the considerations for choosing appropriate channels of distribution.
Necessities and Luxuries: Products can also be classified according to whether they are necessities or luxuries. A product becomes a necessity if the survival of the consumer or its business is attached to it. Although there is no consensus on what constitutes necessity apart from the human basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and sex. It is equally obvious that the level of individual socio-economic status will determine what constitutes a necessity and what constitutes a luxury. The possession of a laptop and Internet facility may be a necessity to tertiary institution lecturers, while it might be a luxury to a road side mechanic.
Sensitivity to price: The products can also be classified according to their sensitivity to price. The ability of a marketing manager to recognize product sensitivity to price will enable such manager to know when to reduce or increase price to increase revenue. For example, if the price elasticity is elastic, it pays the seller to reduce price in order to boast revenue, while it will pay the seller to increase price if the price elasticity is inelastic.