In this article, you will learn how an organization can create awareness about its products or services. Promotion strategy is also one of the four Ps of marketing. You will also learn a number of concepts because promotion has so many other elements or tools used to create awareness. You will learn about advertising, personal selling, public relation, sales promotion and publicity. Each of these tools can be used to create tools that are used to create awareness, persuade or inform both customers and prospect. In addition to the five elements such as direct marketing, database marketing, corporate identity and image, traditional elements listed above, you will also learn about other contemporary promotional elements such as direct marketing, database marketing, corporate identity and image sponsorship, exhibition/trade fair, merchandising, packaging and word-of-mouth. These elements are going to be discussed briefly in this article.
Definition of Promotion strategy
The role of promotion in any organization is to communicate with individuals, households or organizations with the aim of directly or indirectly creating an awareness about the products of the company to the market and also to facilitate exchange by informing, educating and possibly persuading the target audience to accept the company’s offerings in the form of products, services or ideas. Stanton defines promotion strategy as the combination of advertising, personal selling and sales promotion to reach the goals of marketing. Kotler refers to promotion as marketing communication which consists advertising, sales promotion, publicity, public relation and personal selling. Based on the definition of Kotler, promotion and marketing communication will be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. Promotion Strategy can be broadly classified in to two namely:
It refers to promotional efforts geared towards stimulating the demand of the ultimate consumer and which exerts pressure on the distribution channel. It is a conscious effort to increase the product consumption and usage to the extent that distributors will always be under pressure to request for more supplies. Under the pull strategy the marketing communication is targeted to flow directly from the manufacturer/producer to the consumer while products still pass through the marketing intermediaries. Advertising and sales promotion are important tools that can be effectively used for pull strategy.
This strategy relies heavily on personal selling. The objective of the push strategy is the promotion of the product to members of the marketing channel rather than the users. In other words, generous offers are given to the intermediaries to encourage them to stock more of the company’s products. Since the generous offer will enhance higher profitability for the marketing intermediaries, they will then encourage and recommend to the users to buy the brand. This can be done through trade discounts, cooperative advertising allowances and other dealer supports to the marketing intermediaries. This strategy is best used for products that are fairly new in the market.
• Differentiate between pull and push strategy
• Pull strategy refers to promotional efforts geared towards stimulating the demand of the ultimate consumer and which exerts pressure on the distribution channel. Push strategy on the other hand relies heavily on personal selling. The objective of the push strategy is the . promotion of the product to members of the marketing channel rather than the users. In other words, generous offers are given to the intermediaries to encourage them to stock more of the company’s products.
The Promotion objectives
Pride and Ferrel (1995) identified the following as the possible objectives of promotion:
Create awareness: One major objective of promotion is to bring the target audience or the society at large from the state of unawareness to a state of awareness about a particular product or service. Awareness creation usually focuses on product features, quality, usefulness, uses, location and possible cost implications.
Stimulation of demand: The ultimate aim of promotional activity is to increase the level of demand. The promoter desires to ensure there is an outward shift of demand from its original position before the promotion.
Encourage product trial: Some promotional activity aimed at the society to try a particular product sometimes at no cost to the consumer. As will be seen later, sales promotion, one of the promotion tools is employed to achieve this type of objective, for example, the use of free sample.
Retain loyal customers: Repeated promotional activities build confidence of customers on the brand, hence such customer may not be willing to give up on such products.
Combat competitive promotional efforts: Promotion activities are used to combat competition. In any competitive environment each organization becomes sensitive to what their competitors are doing. The customers are constantly kept on alert and on their toes.
Reduce sales punctuation: Sales promotion is often used to stimulate more sales especially during sales decline or off season.
Promotion mix elements
The five promotion mix elements which are also tools of promotion are:- advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, publicity and public relations. Each of these elements will be discussed briefly.
Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) defined advertising as a form of communication through mass media about products, services or ideas paid for by an identified sponsor. It can also be described as a controlled persuasive communication, paid for by a known sponsor about products, services or ideas and disseminated through one of identified sponsor. more media to a defined audience.
Characteristics of advertising
Advertising must be paid for
It is non personal
It has identified sponsors
It must protect products, service or idea
It must be financed by an identified sponsor
It must be targeted towards the attention of specific audience
Objectives of Advertising: The ultimate objective of advertising is to sell whatever products or service that is produced by the organization. Generally, it is agreed that advertising must
Inform – build awareness
Persuade – create favorable attitudes
Reinforce – maintain loyalty to company product.
Osuagwu & Eniola identified seven specific objectives of advertising as:
Support personal selling
Reach consumers/clients inaccessible to salesmen
Improve dealers relation i.e attract new dealers by showing them how profitable it is to carry the manufacturer’s products.
Enter a new market segment or attract a new group of customers.
Introduce a new product, service or idea
Increase sales of products services or ideas
Expand the company sales and market shares
Adeleye identified some broad advertising objectives as
Sales objectives: measuring advertising in terms of unit or naira sales or specific lead.
Behavioural effects objective – defining advertising in terms of final sales some type of behavioural activity customers display in requesting for the brand, the increase in the number of enquires etc.
Communication – effects objective: It measures advertising objective in terms of either awareness, knowledge, preference or some other mental effect on the consumer.
Image – building objective: It aims at making clients to associate positive things with the organization by speaking good things and willing to do business with the organization.
Stages for Developing and implementing Advertising Campaign
Identification and analysis of advertising target
Stage 2 Definition of the objectives of the advert campaign
Stage 3 Creating the advert platform i.e. information to be included
Stage 4 Determining advertising budget
Stage 5 Specifying the characteristics of medium (media) under consideration
Stage 6 Specifying the characteristics of the medium audience
Stage 7 Developing advertising messages
Stage 8 Executing campaign
Stage 9 Evaluating advert effectiveness
Challenges of Media Selection: The following are the challenges faced by marketing decision makers in selecting the appropriate media for the organization products or services
The extent of coverage required to reach potential buyers and the effectiveness cost of reaching them.
The comparative communication effectiveness of various media is, the comparability of advertising or editorial material with media audiences. An advertisement designed popular press might be totally unsuitable in a learned journal
Consideration of the ways in which competitors allocate expenditure to various media
Size, position and timing of advert
Sales promotion consists series of irregular occurring scheme, designed to give an extra boost to sales by special inducement to customer for limited periods e.g. special price sales contests etc. Sales promotion is used to solve short term problems which are nevertheless ever present.
Consumer and Trade Sales promotions: The consumer sales promotion technique encourage or stimulate the consumer to patronize a specific retail store or try a particular product, while trade sales promotion is directed towards stimulating the wholesaler or retailer to stock a particular product.
Consumer Sales promotion methods: These include but are not limited to:
Money-off or special offer: It is system whereby a firm reduces the price of product within a limited period so as to increase sales within the stipulated period.
Bonus packs/gifts: It is a method whereby something of value or useful is attached to the product at no extra charge to the consumer, for example, a tooth brush package with toothpaste.
Prizes/Competition: it is a method where consumers are asked to respond to a question on the wrapper or collection of a number of wrappers that will entitle the consumer to a raffle ticket or a gift item.
Free samples: It is a method used to stimulate customers to try a product. It is often used for new products or products that have gone through a m fundamental change.
Trade Sales promotion: These include but are not limited to the following:
Buying allowance: It is a system of allowing temporary rebate for reseller who buys a minimum quantity.
Sales contest: It is a way to motivate distributors, retailers or sales personnel by recognizing and rewarding outstanding sales achievement.
Free merchandise: Free products are sometimes offered to wholesalers who purchase a specific quantity of the same or different products. Some companies have extra quantity for every fixed quantity bought.
Reasons for Sales promotion: Following are the reasons why organization may want to use sales promotion as a tool:-
i. Stimulating a new use for a product
ii. Encouraging more frequent use of a product
iii. Appealing to a special segment of the market
iv. Boosting sales in particular geographical areas
v. Off-setting price competition
vi. Assisting sales force presentation
vii. List any four tools of sales promotion
viii. Money-off or special offer, Bonus packs/gifts; Prizes/Competition; Free samples
Personal selling involves direct face to face communication between a seller and a potential customer. In other words, personal selling is a process of using personal communication in an exchange situation to inform customer and persuade them to buy.
Basic Selling process
Prospecting and evaluating – identification of potential customer and the evaluation of his/her ability to buy
Preparing/pre-approach: It is a way by which a salesman obtain information about potential customers and their needs, getting to know about the product of the organization, learn how to logically present his sales talk to potential customers, and method of booking an appointment with the potential or existing customers.
Approaching the customer: It is the manner or procedure through which a contact is established with a potential customer. Note that potential customers are also known as prospect
Making the presentation: It is the situation of interaction between a sales personnel and prospect with the former attempt to hold the latter’s attention, stimulate interest and sparkling desire for the product. counter objections from prospect about the product.
Overcoming objections: in-depth knowledge of the product is required by the salesman to counter objections from prospect about the product.
Closing: it is the stage when the sales person requests the prospect to buy the product or asking the prospect the quantity required for a start.
Follow up: repeated service to already won customer and persistency to make a prospective become a customer. It is generally a way by which the sales person ensures customer satisfaction.
Personal qualities of Sales personnel: Personal selling involves face-to-face communication with the prospective buyers. The sales person’ approach and his personality are very important. The qualities required for sales personnel could be divided into two broad categories namely:- Physical factors and personal factors
Physical factors include
Relaxation: to maintain one’s concentration and enthusiasm, one must learn to relax not looking agitated or worried.
Voice: do not shout, at the same time, the voice must be low-pitched, clear and resonant. Speak in such a way that one will be understood.
Dressing code: a well dressed person makes better impression, one’s dressing should be attractive. The way you dress, the same way you will be addressed is a popular saying. A well dressed person will be respected and such a person can quickly gain attention.
The following capture the personal qualities of a good salesman:
Mastery of presentation before meeting prospects
Types of Sales Personnel: In determining the type of sales personnel an organization requires, two objectives must be noted:
1. The duties and responsibilities of sales personnel
2. The performance measure required for the job
Sales personnel differ from organization to organization as a result of differences in the marketing strategies as well as differences in the products/service on offer by the organizations. Sales job can take any of the following varieties:
Trade selling: Sales persons secure customer and repeatedly service the customer as long as possible.
Technical Engineering salesmen: Sales personnel handle equipment where specialized knowledge is required in order to be able to advise and assist customers e.g industrial generators.
New business selling: This sales job objective is to find new customers i.e to convert prospects into customers.
Missionary selling: The main job is to increase the company’s sales volume by assisting customers with their selling efforts.
Service salesman – He sells services as opposed to tangible goods e.g insurance policies, banking or financial products, service salesmanship is a specialty in nature.