Promotion is very important because if the entrepreneur has got his goods produced without anybody buying them, he has not succeeded in achieving anything.
The entrepreneur gets his products or services to his consumers by creating an awareness that makes them know of these products or services. Promotion is one of the four elements in the marketing mix-product, price, promotion and place, promotion is perhaps the one most often associated with marketing. Although it is no guarantee of success, the promotion does have a profound impact on a product’s performance in the market place.
What Does Promotion Exactly Means?
The term is defined in many ways, it is persuasive communication that motivates people to buy whatever an organization is selling goods, services, or ideas. Promotion may take the form of direct, face-to-face communication or indirect communication through such media as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, direct mail, billboards, and other channels.
Promotional activities have three basic goals to inform, persuade and to remind. Whereas informing, persuading, and reminding are the main goals of promotion, every promotional effort also seeks to achieve specific objectives. These include attracting new customers, increasing usage among existing customers, aiding distributors, stabilizing sales, boosting brand name recognition, creating sales leads, and influencing decision-makers.
Although there is little doubt that promotion serves many useful functions, critics argue that its goals are self-serving. Some contend that sellers use promotional tools to convince people to buy unnecessary or potentially harmful goods like anti-aging creams, sweetened cereals, liquor, and cigarettes.
Others argue that promotion encourages materialism at the expense of more worthwhile values; that it exploits stereotypes, and that it manipulates the consumer on a subconscious level. Still, others argue that the money spent on promotion could be put to better use, inventing new products or improving the quality of existing items.
What is Your Own Opinion?
Within the framework of these ethical guidelines, marketers use a mix of four activities to achieve their promotional objectives.
The activities are:
These elements can be combined in various ways to create a promotional mix for a particular product or idea.
In this article, we will discuss the first two elements of promotion and the third and fourth elements, which are advertising and personal selling (or salesmanship) will be given a full detailed for in another article for detailed analysis.
There are two basic categories of sales promotion:
- Consumer promotion
- Trade promotion
Consumer promotion is aimed directly at final users of the products, while trade promotion is aimed at retailers and wholesalers.
Normally, the promotional mix depends on whether the entrepreneur plans to focus the marketing effort on middlemen or final users. If the focus is on middlemen, the entrepreneur uses a push strategy. This is a strategy designed to motivate wholesalers and retailers to push an entrepreneur’s products to end-users.
If the marketing focus is on end-users, the entrepreneur uses a pull strategy. This is a strategy that stimulates consumers’ demand, which then exerts pressure on wholesalers and retailers to carry a product.
Consumer promotions usually used to stimulate repeat purchases and to entice new users.
- Trade Allowance: This is a discount on the price of merchandise which enables the distribution or retailers to pass on a price cut to the ultimate consumer and, at the same time, earn a higher profit margin on the item.
- Trade Show: This is the industry gathering in which producers set up a display and demonstrate products to potential customers. Most of those who attend trade shows are hot prospects. In addition to trade allowances and trade shows, producers use several other trade promotion techniques, including display premiums, dealer contests or sweepstakes, and travel bonus programs, all designed to motivate the distributor or retailer to push the producer’s merchandise.
- Point-of-Purchase Display: This is a device for showing products in a way that stimulates immediate sales g., the racks of gum and mints at checkout counters.
- Coupons: Aim to spur sales by offering a discount through redeemable coupons. Coupons are distributed on packages, in newspapers and magazines, through freestanding markets, etc.
- Specialty Advertising: The entrepreneur that offers a gift to its customers is engaging in specialty advertising. Free calendars, pens, key holders, and the like remind the buyer of the company and build goodwill.
- Premium: This is the merchandise offered free or at a bargain price to encourage sales of a particular item. Often the premium is given away with the product at the time of purchase. While in specialty advertising, the promotion seeks to put the name of a product or company in front of potential consumers by affixing it to some given away item, the premium is any merchandise offered to encourage the sales of a particular item, it normally does not carry the name of a company.
- Refund Offers or Rebate: This is another promotional technique used to lure the consumer. A certain percentage discount or rebate is normally given to customers who purchase the item.
- Sweepstakes and Games: This is yet another promotional play to woo business through games or sweepstakes e.g to launch a new hotel, the management may decide to offer a return ticket to any state for a customer who stays for 5 nights in the hotel may decide to organize a game contest like golf, football contest or basketball tournaments.
- Trade Promotion: Trade promotions are designed to induce wholesalers and retailers to stimulate sales of a producer’s products. Examples include trade allowances, trade shows, display premiums, dealer contests, and travel bonus programs.
Objectives of Sales Promotion
The basic objectives of sales promotion are either identical or very similar to the objective of advertising and personal selling, which are aimed at promoting products, directly or indirectly.
The following are the six specific objectives of sales promotion:
- To Attract New/Additional Customers: Effective marketing executives are constantly on the lookout for ways to attract additional customers. In most cases, new customers must be won away from other firms. Samples, premiums, contests, and similar devices are used to encourage consumers to try an unfamiliar brand or shift their patronage to a new retail establishment.
- Introducing New Products: Sales promotion is often used to motivate consumers to try a new product or to induce business buyers to accept it for resale. Giving away free samples is a sales promotion technique frequently used to introduce new products to consumers. A company may offer money and merchandise allowances to induce business buyers to stock a new product.
- Increase Sales in Off-Seasons: One of the important aims of many sales promotion campaigns is to encourage the use of the product in the off-season.
- To Enable the Company to Remain Competitive: A company needs to engage in sales promotion to stay competitive. For example, when a major company in the area comes up with a new device, such as coupons, other companies in the area are compelled to follow suit with similar sales promotion devices.
- To Induce Present Customers to Buy More: Producers of pound cake and other food products use promotions to make consumers think of more ways and occasions for using a product.
- To Increase the Inventories of Business Buyers: One of the major objectives of many business sales promotions is to increase the size of the retailer’s inventories. Theoretically, the more units of a good a retailer have in stock, the more aggressive he or she will be in selling it to consumers.
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