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
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
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
Another objective of promotion, Product Positioning, is to establish
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
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
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
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.
As products become established, advertising stages must change.
During the growth stage, Persuasive Advertising can influence customers to
buy the company’s products, not those of its rivals. For example, during
its growth stage, Advil used this approach to attract buyers of Tylenol &
other pain relievers. Persuasive advertising is also important during the
maturity stage to maintain the product’s level of sales. In addition,
Comparative Advertising may help to steal sales away from the competition.
After proclaiming that «most people in Ford country drive Chevy pickups»,
the ad then discusses specific features of the two brands, in a classic
example of the comparison approach.
Finally, during the latter part of the maturity stage and all of the
decline stage, Reminder Advertising keeps the product’s name on the tip of
the consumer’s lips. And so Atari continues to advertise its home video
games, even though attention has shifted over to a newer competitor,
Whatever the product’s life cycle stage, advertising strategies must
consider timing. Should the organization advertise throughout the year on a
continual basis, or seasonally? Companies such as commercial banks space
ads evenly throughout a year.
In developing advertising strategies, marketers must also consider
Advertising Medium for their message. IBM, for example, uses
television ads to keep its name fresh in consumers’ minds. But it uses
newspaper & magazine ads to educate consumers on the product’s abilities &
trade publication to introduce new software. Each advertising medium has
its own advantages & disadvantages.
Newspapers. Newspapers are the most widely used advertising medium,
accounting for about 27 % of all advertising expenditures. Newspapers offer
excellent coverage, since each local market has at least the daily
newspaper & many people read the paper ever day(Like you are).This medium
offers flexible, rapid coverage, since ads can change from day to day. It
also offers believable coverage, since ads are presented side-by-side with
news. However, newspapers are generally thrown out after one day, often
cannot print in color, & have poor reproduction quality. Moreover
newspapers don’t usually allow advertisers to target their audience very
Television. Television accounts for about 22% of all advertising
expenditures. In addition to the major networks, cable television is
becoming a major advertising medium. Cable ad revenues have increased from
$58million in1980 to $1.4billion in1988, & are projected to be over
Television allows advertisers to combine sight, sound, & motion, thus
appealing to almost all the viewer’s senses. National advertising is done
on television because it reaches more people than any other medium.
One disadvantage of television is that there are too many
commercials, causing viewers to confuse products. Most people for example,
can’t recall whether a tire commercial was for Firestone, or Goodrich.
Viewers of VCR tapes of shows often fast-forward past the ads. Another
disadvantage, is that the normal «Commercial spot» lasts only a short
time(usually 30sec), & then its gone. If the viewer is not paying
attention, the impact of the commercial is lost. Brevity also makes
television a poor medium in which to educate viewers about complex
products. Finally television is the most expensive medium. A 30sec
commercial during the Super Bowl costs about $750.000!
Direct Mail. Direct Mail advertisements account for 17% of all
advertising expenditures. As the name implies, direct mail often involves
fliers mailed directly to consumers’ homes or places of business. Direct
Mail allows the company to select its audience & personalize the message.
Consumers are also exposed to far less direct mail than to other
advertising media. Moreover, although direct mail incurs the largest
advance costs of any advertising technique, it also appears to have the
highest cost effectiveness. These features have helped to make direct mail
a fast-growing advertising medium.
Radio. About 7% of all advertising expenditures are for radio time. A
tremendous number of people listen to the radio each day, and radio ads are
very inexpensive. In addition, since most radio is programmed locally, this
medium gives advertisers a high degree of customer selectivity. For
example, radio stations are already segmented into listening categories
such as rock & roll, country & western, jazz, talk shows, news & religious
Like television however, radio ads are over quickly. And radio
permits only an audio presentation. Also people tend to use the radio as a
background while they’re
doing their things, paying little attention to the advertisements.
Magazines. Magazine advertising accounts for roughly 5% of all
advertising. The many different magazines on the market provide a high
level on consumer selectivity. Magazine advertising also allows for
excellent reproduction of photographs & artwork that not only grabs buyer’s
attention, but may also convince them on the product’s value. And magazines
allow advertisers plenty of space for detailed product information Another
advantage of magazines is that they have a long life & tend to be passed
from person to person, thus doubling & tripling the number of exposures.
The problem with magazine advertising is that ads must be submitted
well in advance to be included in a certain issue. Often there is no
guarantee of where within a magazine in ad will appear. Naturally, a
company would prefer to have its advertisement appear near the front of the
magazine or within a feature article.
Outdoor. Outdoor advertising - billboards, signs, & advertising
buses, taxis, & subways - makes up a little more than 1 % of all
advertising. These advertisements are relatively inexpensive, they face
little competition for customers’ attention, & they are subject to high
repeat exposure. Unfortunately, companies have little control over who will
see their advertisement.
Types of Advertising
Regardless of the media used, advertisements fall into one of several
categories. Brand Advertising promotes a specific brand, such as Kodak126
film, Head & shoulders shampoo, & Nike Air Jordan basketball shoes.
Advocacy Advertising promotes a particular candidate or viewpoint, as in
ads for political candidates at electon time and antidrug commercials.
Institutional Advertising promotes a fir’s long-term image, as when AT&T
assures customers that it is ``the right choice.
Advertising to Specific Markets’
Advertisements also differ in to whom they are directed. That is,
advertisement depend on the company’s target market. In consumer markets,
local stores usually sponsor retail advertising to encourage consumers to
visit the store & buy its products & services. Larger retailers use retail
advertising on both a local & national level. Often retail advertising is
actually cooperative advertising, with the cost of the advertising shared
by the retailer & the manufacturer.
In industrial markets, to communicate with companies that distribute
its products, some firms use trade advertising publications. And to reach
the professional purchasing agent & managers at firm buying raw material or
components, companies use industrial advertising.
Regulation of Advertising
Advertising affects nearly every American. Because it can be used to
deceive as well as inform buyers, advertising has increasingly come under
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