elements used in promotion are as follows :advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relation!
The promotion element of marketing mix is concerned with activities that are undertaken to communicate with customers and distribution channels to enhance the sales of the firm.
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The promotional communication aims at informing and persuading the customer to buy the product and informing him about the merits of the products.
It refers to all the decisions related to promotion of sales of products and services. The important decisions of promotion mix are selecting advertising media, selecting promotional techniques, using publicity measures and public relations etc.
There are various tools and elements available for promotion. These are adopted by firms to carry on its promotional activities. The marketer generally chooses a combination of these promotional tools.
Following are the tools or elements of promotion. They are also called elements of promotion mix:
Advertisement can be defined as the paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of idea, goods or services by an identified sponsor.
It is an impersonal presentation where a standard or common message regarding the merits, price and availability of product or service is given by the producer or marketer. The advertisement builds pull effect as advertising tries to pull the product by directly appealing to customer to buy it.
From the above definition we can find that the three distinct features of advertising are:
The sponsor has to pay for advertising he has to bear a cost to communicate with customers.
There is no face to face contact between customers and advertiser. It creates a monologue and not a dialogue.
Advertisement is given by an identified company or firm or individual.
Advertising can reach a large market. As through various media of advertising there is benefit of mass reach for example, any message given on All India Radio or TV can reach in different corners of the country wherever TV and Radio network is available.
There is wide variety of media available for advertising for video, audio, visual audio, print media etc. Under each category large variety is available for example, in print media we can select from magazines, newspaper, banner etc. This variety or choice helps the marketer to select the media, keeping in mind the target customer.
In advertisement the messages regarding the product or service are given publicly to customers so there is always a proof for it and customers believe that publicly the company will not give false information of the product. The customer feels comfortable to buy a product which is widely advertised.
Advertising provides enough opportunities to marketers to dramatize the message with the help of drawings, colours, pictures, music, dance
etc. They can easily express the use of product through various techniques, and can add multimedia effect also.
It is always felt that advertising increases the cost of product or service but advertising is considered economical as compared to other promotional techniques because it reaches masses and if we calculate cost per customer it is very low or nominal.
(vi) Enhancing Customer Satisfaction and Confidence:
Customer feel more assured about quality and feel more comfortable if sponsors claim these benefits in advertising.
(i) It is an Impersonal Communication/Less Forceful:
In advertising there is no direct communication between the customer and marketer. The marketer assumes that the message is communicated but the audience or customers do not pay any attention to impersonal messages conveyed through advertising. The response of customer cannot be known in advertising.
In advertising there is only one way communication i. e., communication from seller only, but two way communication is always more effective as in two way communication the customer gets chance to clarify his or her queries. Sometimes customers have many doubts regarding the use of product, these doubts can be clarified only when there is two way communication.
In advertising various media are available. Each media have its own advantages and disadvantages. So the effectiveness of advertisement depends to a great extent on the right choice of media. When choice of media is faulty or wrong no matter how good the advertisement is it will not reach the target customer.
It is very difficult to change advertisement as companies use standardised messages which cannot be changed according to the need of customers.
The evaluation of effectiveness of advertisement is very difficult as there is no immediate and accurate feedback given by the customers.
Advertising has been subject to lot of criticisms. The following are main objections raised on advertisements by a group of people. Along with objections the answers to these objections are also mentioned below:
(i) Effect of Advertising on Values, Materialism and Life Styles:
The major objection on advertisement is that it promotes materialism. The advertisements inform people about more and more products, the use of existing products and the new products are shown dramatically to attract the customers.
This knowledge about more and more products induces the customers to buy more and more products. They start demanding the products which they dont even require. If there was no advertising we would be less aware of material things and we can be more contented.
We do not agree with this objection as it is wrong to say that a person who is least informed is most contented or satisfied. The advertisement increases the knowledge of customers by informing them about various products along with their utilities.
The advertisement only informs the customers, the final choice of buying or not, lies with the customers only.
(ii) Advertising Encourages Sale of Inferior and Dubious Products:
The advertisements show all types of products irrespective of their quality. With the help of advertising anything can be sold in the market.
The objection to sale of inferior goods is not correct because what is inferior and what is superior depends upon the economic status and preference. Every one cannot afford to buy superior quality expensive products but it does not mean they should not use the product.
The lower income group people satisfy their needs with low cost inferior goods for example; those who cannot afford to buy shoes of Nike or Reebok have to satisfy with local brand only. So it is not advertisements which encourage sale of inferior goods; it is ones pocket or financial capacity which decides this.
The real criticism of advertisement is that it encourages sale of duplicate products. Some producers exaggerate the use of products and innocent consumers get trapped in and buy duplicate products.
(iii) Advertising Confuses Rather than Helps:
The number of advertisements shown in TV and Radio are increasing day by day for example, if we take TV, there are so many advertisements of different companies shown such as LG, Onida, Sony, BPL, Samsung, Videocon etc. each brand claiming they are the best. These claims by different companies confuse the customer and it becomes very difficult for him to make choice.
We do not agree with this objection because advertisements give wide choice to customers and todays customer is smart enough to know and select the most suitable brand for him.
(iv) Some Advertisements are in Bad Taste:
Another objection to advertisements is that advertisements use bad language, the way they are speaking may not appeal everyone, sometimes women are shown in the advertisements where they are not required for example, a woman in after shave lotion and in advertisements of suiting etc. Some advertisements distort relationship between employer-employee, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law etc. for example, in advertisement of Band Aid, Detergent Bar, Fevistick, etc.
Although those types of advertisements should be avoided but it cant be an objection because good or bad taste differs from person to person. It is a matter of personal opinion as to what was not accepted by yesterdays generation is accepted by todays generation and they may not find it of bad taste.
(v) Advertisement Costs are passed on to the Customers in the Form of Higher Price:
The most serious objection to advertisement is that it increases the price of product because the firms spend a huge amount on advertisement and these expenses are added to cost and consumer has to pay a higher price for the product or service.
This objection is also not correct because with advertisements the demand for product increases which brings increase in sale and this leads to increase in production. With increase in production the companies can get the economies of scale which reduces the cost of production and thus the increase in cost due to expenses on advertisements gets compensated. So if advertisement is used properly it brings reduction in cost the in long run.
Sales promotion refers to short term use of incentives or other promotional activities that stimulate the customer to buy the product. Sales promotion techniques are very useful because they bring:
(a) Short and immediate effect on sale.
(b) Stock clearance is possible with sales promotion.
(c) Sales promotion techniques induce customers as well as distribution channels.
(d) Sales promotion techniques help to win over the competitor.
Some of the sales promotion activities commonly used by the marketer to increase the sale are:
It refers to selling product at a special price which is less than the original price for a limited period of time. This offer is given to clear off the stock or excessive inventory for example; coke announced 2 liter bottles at Rs 35 only.
This refers to reduction of certain percentage of price from list price for a limited period of time. The discounts induce the customers to buy and to buy more. Generally at the end of season big companies offer their products at discounted price to clear off the stock e.g., seasons sale at Snow-White Jain Sons, Paul Garments, Bhuvan Garments, etc.
This refers to refund or part of price paid by customer on presenting the proof of purchase for example, Rs 2 off on presentation of empty pack of Ruffle Lays.
(iv) Premiums or Gifts/or Product Combination:
These are most popular and commonly used promotion tool. It refers to giving a free gift on purchase of the product. Generally the free gift is related to product but it is not necessary for example, Mug free with Bourn vita, Shaker free with Coffee, Toothbrush free with Toothpaste, etc.
It refers to offer of extra quantity in a special package at less price or on extra purchase some quantity free for example, buy three get one free e.g., this scheme of buy three get one free scheme is available on soaps.
It refers to distribution of free samples of product to the customers. These are distributed when the seller wants the customer must try the product. Generally when a new product is launched for example, when Hindustan Level launched Surf Excel it distributed the samples as it wanted the customers to try it.
It refers to participation of consumers in competitive events organised by the firm and winners are given some reward for example, Camlin Company organizes painting competition, Bourn vita quiz contest and some companies organise contest of writing slogans and best slogan is awarded prize.
(viii) Instant Draws and Assigned Gifts:
It includes the offers like scratch a card and win instantly a refrigerator, car, T-shirt, computer etc.
In this draws are taken out by including the bill number or names of customers who have purchased the goods and lucky winner gets free car, computer, A.C., T.V., etc. Draw can be taken out daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
This includes offers like Purchase goods worth Rs 5000 and get a holiday package or get a discount voucher, etc.
Many marketers offer 0% interest on financing of consumer durable goods like washing machine, T.V. etc. e.g., 24 easy installments 6 paid as front payment and remaining 18 with post-dated cheques. In these types of scheme customers should be careful about the file charges etc.
In this type of sales promotion the free gift is kept inside the pack. The gift is kept in limited products but the excitement of getting the gift induces the customer to buy the product for example, gold pendant in soap, gold coin in Tata tea etc.
This refers to use of special container or boxes to pack the products which could be reused by the customer for example, Pet Bottles for Cold Drinks. This bottles can be used for Steering Water, Plastic Jars for Bourn vita, Maltova, etc. which can be reused by the housewives in kitchen.
The incentives offered in sales promotion attract attention of the people.
The sales promotion techniques are very helpful in introducing the new product as it induces people to try new products as they are available at low price or sometimes as free sample.
3. Synergy in Total Promotion Efforts:
Sales promotion activities supplement advertising and personal selling efforts of the company. Sales promotion adds to the effectiveness of advertisement efforts.
Sales promotion technique makes other promotion techniques more effective. Salesmen find it easy to sell products on which incentives are available.
If firm is offering sales promotion techniques again and again it indicates that there is no demand of product which can create crisis situation.
Use of sales promotion tool may affect the image of product as buyer feel that product is of low quality that is why firm is offering incentives.
Personal selling means selling personally. This involves face to face interaction between seller and buyer for the purpose of sale.
The personal selling does not mean getting the prospects to desire what seller wants but the concept of personal selling is also based on customer satisfaction.
In personal selling the buyers and sellers have face to face interaction. This closeness allows both the parties to observe each others action closely.
In personal selling the sellers give information about the product, at the same time the buyer get a chance to clarify his doubts. It is suitable for sale of complex products where buyer wants to interact with the manufacturer.
When seller is personally explaining the utilities of product to the customers then customer do pay some attention and listen to the information.
When the seller and buyer come together this may improve relation between the customer and seller. Salespersons normally make friendly relations with the customers.
Personal selling is most effective form of promotion because with this the sales person can convince the buyer by demonstrating the use of product and making changes in the product according to the need of customer.
The qualities which are commonly found among effective salesman are described below:
A salesman must have good health and pleasing personality. He must be well built and free from physical defects. A pleasing and charming personality boosts self-confidence. Good grooming, appropriate dress, clean and tidy appearance and a good posture will go a long way in creating a first impression. More importantly, a salesman must always have a cheerful smile on his face.
A salesman must have good manners, courtesy in dealing with customers. The practice of greeting and thanking customers, using polite expression are necessary for success in personal selling. He should not be shy or reserved but an extrovert and a good listener. He must have the ability to say the proper things and do the right thing without offending others.
A good salesman must have a high degree of intelligence, initiative and foresight. He must be intelligent and imaginative enough to understand the customer quickly and read his mind accurately.
Salesman must have two basic qualities i.e., empathy and ego drive. Empathy means he must have ability to understand the problem from customers point of view. Ego drive means salesman must pursue sale not just for money but for recognition and personal success. A good salesman must have presence of mind and good common sense.
The salesman must have full technical knowledge about the product.
Other qualities, a salesman must possess, are:
(i) A salesman must have a good power of memory and observation.
(ii) A salesman must be honest and should not try to win the customer through false and misleading representation.
(iii) A salesman must be a man of sound character, loyal and dependable. He must perform his duties sincerely.
(iv) The salesman must have wide knowledge about the product he is selling and company he is representing.
(v) He must have capacity to inspire trust.
Personal selling plays a very important role in marketing of goods and services. It is important tool for businessmen, customers and society.
Personal selling is an important tool to increase the sale. It is important for businessman due to following reasons:
Personal selling is an effective tool to increase the sale of product. Salesmen explain the merits of products to customers.
Personal selling efforts can be changed according to the type of customer salesmen are attending. They may change the offer in varying purchase situations.
As compared to other methods of promotion in personal selling the wastage of efforts is minimum.
Through personal selling it is easy to get the attention of customer as there is face to face interaction between salesman and customers.
Personal selling helps to create lasting relationship between customers and sales-persons which help in increasing sale.
Through personal selling salesmen can create personal support with the customers. This can improve competitive strength of organisation.
(vii) Very Effective to Introduce New Product:
Personal selling is very effective to introduce a new product as salesman can explain the merits, show the demonstration and clarify the doubts of customers.
Personal selling is very important from customers point of view, as customers can get required information about the product from customers. Customers are benefits by personal selling in the following ways:
Salesmen help the customers to discover their needs and wants and they also help customers to know how these needs and wants can be satisfied.
In personal selling salesmen provide information regarding the new products available in market, uses of those products etc.
Customers can get expert advice and guidance in purchasing various goods and services.
Personal selling induces customers to buy products for satisfying their needs.
Personal selling brings following positive effects for society
1. Converts Latest Demand into Effective Demand:
Personal selling creates effective demand which results in increasing sale and more income. With more income there will be more products and services which in turn bring economic growth.
Unemployed youth can work as salesman and earn their livelihood.
Personal selling offers attractive career with job satisfaction and security.
Sales people move from one place to other, this promotes travel and tourism industry.
With the help of personal selling there can be uniformity of consumption by supplying standardised products.
Apart from four major elements of marketing mix, another important tool of marketing is maintaining Public Relations. In simple words, a public relations means maintaining public relations with public. By maintaining public relations, companies create goodwill.
Public relations evaluate public attitudes; identify the policies and procedures of an organisation with the public interest to earn public understanding and acceptance.
Public does not mean only customers, but it includes shareholders, suppliers, intermediaries, customers etc. The firms success and achievement depends upon the support of these parties for example, firm needs active support of middle men to survive in market, it must have good relations with existing shareholders who provide capital. The consumers group is the most important part of public as success of business depends upon the support and demand of customers only.
Public relations are significant in the following ways:
1. Help to convey the policies and programmes of the organisation.
2. Help to collect information about public opinion about the organisation, management activities etc.
3. To overcome the complaints and dislikes of public.
4. To mould peoples attitude in favour of organisation.
5. To maintain goodwill and understanding between organisation and public.
6. To build an image of the organisation.
The companies can use the following tools to improve their relations with public:
Sometimes companies get involved in such kind of activities or make such policies so that they get some positive coverage in news. For example, a companys name may be covered in news for reservation of jobs for women or for introducing new technology etc.
The speeches given by the leaders of corporate sectors influence various members of public specially banks, shareholders etc. Public relations department creates occasion when the speeches are delivered by the leader of company.
Events refer to organizing press conferences, multimedia presentation, matches, stage shows etc.
Sometimes written materials such as Balance Sheet, Annual Reports, Special documents, Brochures etc. are circulated to various parties to improve and maintain public image of the company.
Big business houses often associate themselves with various social service projects such as women welfare programmes, charity shows, up-keeping of parks, planting trees on road side, training schools, running schools, colleges, hospitals etc.
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