Business battle fiercely, making an enormous variety of products to meet different customers' needs. In many businesses, promotion is the key to a new product success. Promotion is any technique designed to sell a product to a customer. To sell a product, promotional techniques must communicate the uses, features, & benefits of the product. Here we will look at different reasons for & approaches to promotion, When & why companies use particular tools & strategies, & the special promotional problems & solutions of small business.
Promotional Objectives, Strategies, & Tolls
In developing a promotional plan, marketers must consider the company's basic promotional objectives. They must develop promotional strategies to reach those objectives. Then, as a part of their strategies, they must choose among various promotional tools that may be used alone or in combination
You may think that the ultimate objective of any type of promotion is to increase sales. You're right. After all, the goal of any business is to make money, & companies make money by making sales. However, marketers also use promotion to communicate information, position products, & control sales volume.
Communication of Information.
A very basic objective of promotion is to communicate information from one person or organization to another. Consumers cannot buy a product unless they have been informed about it.
Information may advise customers about the availability of a product. It may educate them on the latest technological advances. Or it may announce the candidacy of someone running for a government office.
Information may be communicated in writing (newspapers & magazines) It may be communicated verbally (in person or over the telephone) Or it may be communicated visually (television, a match book cover, or a billboard). Today, the communication of information regarding a company's products or services is so important that markets try to place it wherever consumers may be.
Another objective of promotion, Product Positioning, is to establish an easily
identifiable image of a product in the minds of consumers. For example, by selling only in
department stores, Lauder products have positioned themselves as more upscale than cosmetics sold in drugstores. Given all the brands & trademarks in the marketplace, it is impossible for an individual to remember each one. Therefore, marketers seek a unique position in buyer's minds.
Positioning a product is difficult because the company is trying to appeal to a specific segment of the market rather than to the market as a whole. First, the company must identify which segments of a market could would be likely purchasers of its product & who is competitors are. Only then can it focus its promotional strategy on differentiating its product from the competition's, while appealing to its target audience.
Controlling Sales Volume.
Another objective of promotions is sales volume control. Many companies such as Hallmark Cards, experience seasonal sales patterns. By increasing its promotional activities in slow periods, the firm can achieve a more stable sales volume throughout the year. As a result, it can keep its production & distribution systems running evenly. Promotions can even turn slow seasons into peak sales periods. For example, greeting card companies & florists together have done much to create Grandparents' day.The result has been increased consumer desire to send cards & flowers to older relatives in the middle of what was a dry for these industries.
Once a firm's promotional objectives are clear, it must develop a promotional strategy to achieve these objectives. Promotional strategies may be of the push or pull variety. A company with a Push strategy will aggressively push its product through wholesalers & retailers, who persuade customers to buy it. In contrast, a company with Pull strategy appeals directly to customers who demand the product from retailers, who in turn demand the product from wholesalers.
Makers from industrial products most often use a Push strategy And makers of consumer products most often use a Pull strategy. Many large firms use a combination of the two strategies. For example, General Foods uses advertising to create consumer demand(pull) for its cereals. It also pushes wholesalers & retailers to stoke these products. Once the promotional strategy has been determined, it guides the company's choice of promotional objectives & the types of promotional communicational tools that will be used.
Picking the Right Tools for the Promotional Mix
Based on these strategies, the firm must select the right promotional tools. There are four basis types of promotional tools: Advertising, Personal selling, Sales promotions, & Publicity & Public relations.
The best combination of these tools-the best promotional mix - depends on many
factors. The company's product, the costs of different tools versus the promotional budget, & characteristics in the target audience all play a role.
The product. The nature of the product being promoted affect the mix greatly. For example, advertising can reach a large number of widely dispersed consumers. Thus it is used by makers of products that might be purchased by anyone, like sunglasses, radios & snack foods. Companies introducing new products also favor advertising because it reaches a large number of people very quickly & can repeat a message many times. Personal selling, on the other hand, is important when the product appeals to a very specific audience, such as piping or pressure gauges for industrial accounts.
Cost of the Tolls. The cost of communication tools is also important. Because personal selling is an expensive communicational tool, it is most appropriate in marketing high-priced goods like computers for industrial customers & homes for consumers. In contrast, advertising reaches more customers per dollar spent.
A promotional mix that is good for one company is not really good for another. For example, Frito -Lay can afford to spend millions of dollars on advertising & consumer promotions to promote Ruffles Cajun Spice potato chips nationally. But Zapps Potato Chips of Gramercy, Louisiana, the innovator in Cajun flavor potato chips, must rely on personal selling & publicity to promote its Cajun Craw-taters locally.
Promotion & the Buyer Decision Process. Another consideration in establishing the promotional mix is the stage of the buyer decision process that customers are in. Customers must first recognize the need to make a purchase. At these stage marketers need to make sure the buyer is aware that their products exist. Thus, advertising & publicity, which can reach a large number of people very quickly, are very important.
At the next stage, customers want to learn more about possible products. Advertising & personal selling are important because they both can be used to educate the customer about the product.
During the third stage, customers will evaluate & compare competing products. Personal selling is vital at this point because sales representatives can demonstrate their product's quality & performance in direct relation to the competition's product.
Next, customers decide ton a specific product & purchase it. Sales promotion is effective at these stage because it can give consumers an incentive to buy. Personal selling can also help by bringing the product to convenient location for the consumer.
Finally, consumers evaluate the product after buying it. Advertising, or even personal selling, is sometimes used after the sale to remind consumers that they made wise & prudent purchases.
Advertising strategies most often depend on which stage of the product life cycle their product is in. During the introduction stage, Informative Advertising can help develop an awareness of the company & its product among buyers & can establish a primary demand for the product. For example, when a new textbook is being published, instructors receive direct-mail advertisements notifying them of the book's contents & availability.