Quiz 13: Promotionintroduction to Integrated Marketing Communications
While the HVC marketing plan does not specifically state promotion objectives, they can be inferred. The table on the following page outlines some possible objectives and the promotion activities. Students may be able to generate many additional ideas for promotion. An instructor might use some of the conceptual organizers in the book to demonstrate how they can prompt ideas. For example, remind the class of the three types of promotion: 1) personal selling and customer service, 2) mass selling with advertising and publicity, and 3) sales promotion. Exhibit 13-2 lists a number of promotion activities that may be directed at consumers.
Promotion is the method through which the producer or the seller conveys information about the product to the target consumers. It is the communication between the seller and the potential customers or other people in the channel of communication, which influences their attitude and behaviour. The purpose of promotion is to inform the customers about a product or service or to persuade them to buy a product or service. There are three basic promotion methods available to a marketing manager. They are:- • Personal selling • Mass selling • Sales promotion Personal selling is the process of promotion where there is direct interaction between the customers and sales person. The companies send their sales agents directly to the customers, meeting them face to face and sell their products. They go house to house or firms to firms and persuade customers to buy the product. Personal selling is mostly seen for products like household appliances, cosmetics etc. The major advantages of personal selling are:- • Since it is a face to face and two way communication, the sales people get immediate feedback from the customers and hence they can adapt their strategies accordingly. • Flexibility is one of the strengths of personal selling. The sales agent can tailor his presentation to the needs, attitudes, and behaviour of individual consumers as soon as he gets reaction from them. • Unlike advertising which is a mass promotion method where people outside the target market is also addressed, this method is focused only on the target market and hence avoids wastage of time, money and effort. • Since it is face to face, it is a kind of persuasive technique. The customer cannot easily dismiss the sales person and hence they will at least listen to him. • Sales agent is also a multi-tasker, who can deal with not only selling but also payment, billing, return, refunds, repair and acts as a source of marketing and product feedback information. • This method is very necessary in case of places where other methods cannot be used or cannot be accessed. The major disadvantages of personal selling are:- • It is a very expensive method since it involves huge travelling and lodging costs along with salaries of sales person. • Because of the high costs involved, companies resort to other techniques like direct mail, telemarketing, toll free numbers, online promotion etc. • It is a labour intensive technique where a lot of sales personnel are required. • This method cannot be used to reach a large amount of people. • The success of this method completely depends on the capability of sales person. Hence companies have to spend a lot on the training and mentoring of sales people. • The attitude of sales agents towards customers is very important. In case of any negative attitude from them reaches customers, it will bring bad reputation to the entire company. Mass selling is the method of promotion used by companies to reach a large number of target customers at the same time. Advertising and publicity are examples of mass selling where companies use various medium like television, radio, newspapers, magazines etc. to reach out to mass public. The advantages of mass selling are:- • In less amount of time, the information about the company and product reaches to a large population. Hence the scope is large. • It is less expensive than personal selling since it involves addressing to a large target market. • It is good for creating a brand recognition and brand name. • Advertisements and publicity efforts creates a deeper image in the customer's minds and is more memorable. The limitations of mass selling are:- • Even if it is cost effective compared to personal selling, it involves significant amount of money because the ad slots in famous television channels and newspapers costs really high amounts. • Since it is addressed to a large population, this method cannot create the same effect in all kinds of people. Some may be interested and some not. All customers have different needs and desires. • Sometimes over advertising and over publicity can make customers feel bored about seeing a product name everywhere. • It is not suitable for small producers whose product is limited to a particular geographical area or whose target audience is small. Sales promotion is those promotion activities other than personal selling, advertising and publicity which can trigger some kind of interest, stimuli and motivation to buy and trial among the customers or other members in the channel of communication. Sales promotion can be intended towards customers, intermediaries and the employees of the company. Contests, trade shows, coupons, bonus offers, samples, gifts etc. are some form of sales promotion techniques. The major strengths of sales promotion are:- • Compared to other promotion methods, sales promotion can be applied quickly and can get results as soon as possible. • It is the best method to create an awareness about a new product. Example- distributing samples. • Using customer reward programs and loyalty programs, this method can be used to develop a long term relationship with the customers. • This method can also be used to boost sales turnover and quick reduction of inventory through offers. Sale of products near to expiration date, stock clearance etc. can be done easily through sales promotion technique. • This method is a demand creator which persuades customers to make impulse purchases and immediate action. • It is applicable to middlemen and employees, so that they are incentivised to sell a product or service. The major limitations of sales promotion are:- • Sales promotion cannot be used as a primary method. It is only a supplementary method. • Application of sales promotion methods to customers require the support of distributors and retailers. All retailers may not be that much supportive. • The effect of sales promotion lasts for a short time only and hence the demand for products may fall as soon as the offer ends. • Over use of sales promotion may tamper the brand image and perception of brand quality in the minds of customers. They may believe that the products are of inferior quality. • Once the customers get used to the discounted price and offer price, it is very difficult to bring them back to the regular price. Each promotion method has its own advantages and limitations. They must be used in combination so that they complement each other. It is the duty of promotion managers and marketing managers to use a perfect blend of all the promotion methods.
Promotion is the method through which the information about the product or service is being communicated to the potential customers. There are many promotion techniques available to a marketing manager. It is his discretion to decide which technique to be used at what time and what scenario. The major promotion methods used by a firm are personal selling, mass marketing and sales promotion. • Personal selling is direct spoken communication between the sales person and the customer. It is a contact process through which direct feedback is available from the customer to the seller but it is bit expensive. • Mass selling involves marketing of product to a large audience at the same time. Major mass selling methods are advertising and publicity. Advertising is a paid form of promotion whereas publicity is a non-paid form. Advertising can be passed to the customers through various media like internet, TV, radio, magazine etc. But time slots in popular programmes and using celebrities for advertising can be costly. Publicity can be done through PR personnel or even customers give word of mouth publicity. But this publicity can be both positive and negative. • Sales promotion tools enables the company to generate instant and quick sales and also encourages point of purchase transactions. Coupons, discounts, sweepstakes, deals, samples etc. are customer oriented sales promotion techniques. There are promotion methods like price deals, promotion allowances, sales contests, calendars, catalogues etc. for the dealers and contests, bonus, sales aids etc. for the sales team. Each method of promotion has an apt scenario where it should be applied. If applied at the wrong time and wrong place, then it will have negative consequences on the firm. Hence the right proportion and application of promotion methods result in what is called integrated marketing communication. Integrated marketing communication is the result of effective blending of all forms of promotions used by a firm to convey the right information to the potential customers. Advertising is to be used for addressing to a large audience while to boost immediate sales promotion techniques can be used. In those geographical areas where advertising and sales promotion cannot be used, the firm should employ personal selling. Hence there must be a suitable blend of all the marketing promotion methods to do effective promotion of the product or service. Integrated marketing communication is the intentional coordination of all the communication efforts from the firm to the target customers which should convey a consistent and complete message. As we know different promotion methods has different aim and job to do. They are also used in different situations. But a total sum result of all these methods should give a consistent result. Here the messages must be complementary to each other along with consistent to each other. For example, if the quality is the highlight of the brand, then all promotion methods should uphold this quality aspect. Deep discounts offered through sales promotion should not pass an image of inferior quality among the customers. The advertisements and publicity should highlight the high quality of the product. The sales agents should also uphold this unique selling proposition. Hence all promotion methods should convey a consistent message. Since every promotion method is intended to communicate a message to the target customer, the message should be complete along with consistency aspect. When an advertisement and other promotion methods are made to convey a message to the customers, the message should be clear and complete without leaving any kind of confusion and ambiguity among the customers. For example, after seeing an advertisement a potential customer should not have confusions in his mind. He must have a complete image about the product or service rather than lack of clarity. Even the sales persons should not leave too much to the customers to interpret. The information that they pass to the customers should be complete and correct, and it should create an interest and desire among the customers to try the product. Each promotion method is handled by different persons with different levels of expertise. There are chances that the communicated messages may get inconsistent with each other and may remain incomplete. It is the duty of promotion managers and marketing managers to create a perfect blend of promotion methods forming an integrated marketing communication mix, which should communicate complete and consistent messages.