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Promotion As A Component of Marketing Mix

PROMOTION

Promotion as one of the components of marketing mix is usually combined with other components to enable attainment of organisation goal. The other components are product, price, and distribution. The parties involved in promotion are the markets, media and the consumers. Marketers want their product known and acceptable to the public. This leads to engaging a powerful force to persuade and convince the audience through promotion.

The product concept suggests that if a good product is produced with a good price, no matter where it is, people would go to buy it. This philosophy failed because of its ignorance of other marketing activities. In today marketing, information plays a greater role; without good information, no product can successfully meet its target sales or even a profitable sales volume.

Promotion is a part of the marketing mix and takes an active role in the marketing process. It is the process of communicating with individuals, groups or organisations directly or indirectly to facilitate exchanges by influencing them to accept the company products or ideas.

According to McCarthy et al (1990) “promotion is communicating information between seller and potential buyer to influence attitudes and behaviours”.

Boone and David (1989) defined promotion as the function of informing, persuading,, and influencing the consumers’ purchase decisions.

The Communication Process

Promotional strategy is closely related to the process of (, communication.  A standard definition of communication is the

Marketing communications, then are those messages that deal with buyer ^ seller relationships.

The understanding of promotion is generally based on communications theory. Thus a manager must have a clear understanding of the communication process to formulate an effective promotional strategy. Various situations of communication use the basic elements or models of the communication process. These include: source, encoder, message channel, decoder, receiver, and feedback. All types of communication are based on this simple model of communication. These six basic elements must be present in order for effective communication to take place.

The sender is the source of the communication system, since he or she seeks to convey a message (a communication of information, advice, or request) to a receiver (the recipient of the communication). The message must accomplish three tasks in order to be effective:

(i)       It must gain the receiver’s attention.

(ii)      It must be understood by both receiver and sender.

(iii) It must stimulate the receiver’s need find suggest an appropriate method, of satisfying them.

The three -tasks are related to the AID A concept (attention – interest – desire – action) proposed by E.K. Strong over sixty years ago as an explanation of the steps an individual must go through before making a purchase decision. First, the potential consumer’s attention must be gained. The promotional message seeks to arouse interest in the good or service. The next stage is to stimulate desire by convincing the would-be buyer of the product’s ability to satisfy his or her needs. Finally, the advertisement attempts to produce action, in the form of a purchase or a more favourable attitude, that may lead to future purchase.

The message must be   encoded, or translated   into understandable terms.   This process of selecting and arranging the words to be used in a message is called ‘encoding’.

In communication, message – channel conveys two important dimensions – namely, message and channel. The message is the communication itself, the idea or the information that is send to the customer. The channel through which we communicate with the customer are: spoken words, print media, electronic media, direct mails, posters, etc.

Decoding is the receiver’s interpretation of the message. That is to say that when messages come through, the message channel, receivers decode or interpret the words using their own frame of experience.

The receiver’s response, known as the feedback, completes the system. When we communicate with customers we expect some response, which could be either positive or negative. The feedback is the process of monitoring the receiver’s response. Without the feedback element-communication will not be a process.

Throughout the process, noise can interfere with the transmission of the message and reduce its effectiveness.

The Promotional Mix

Like the marketing mix, the promotional mix involves the proper blending of numerous variables to satisfy the needs of the firm’s target market and achieve organisational objectives. While the marketing mix is comprised of product, price, promotion and distribution elements, the promotional mix components are advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relation and publicity.

Advertising

Advertising as a form of mass communication is aimed at changing the behaviour of the audience (the receiver of the message) to enable him or her to prefer the advertised product or service. Nwokoye (1981) defined advertising as any form of non-personal communication through the mass media that is paid for by an identified sponsor. Skimmer (1980) says “advertising is an attempt at controlling human behaviour by appealing to human conscience and emotions”. The production worker, Skimmer contends, perceives advertising as having the impetus to provide and sustain the job. To the government official and politicians, advertising is a tool for mass mobilization.

To the advertising practitioners council of Nigeria (APCON) “advertising is a form of communication through mass media about products, services or ideas paid for by an identified sponsor”.

In a study of the consumers’ view of advertising carried out in 1974 by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, more than half of the respondents described advertising as a channel of information from manufacturers to consumers. More than a third of this representative sampling of consumers defined advertising as a form of salesmanship or persuasion. Some defined advertising as manipulation, propaganda and misleading, media, such as newspapers, billboards, etc.

Advertising effort is therefore geared towards persuading customers to take positive action favourable to the company and its product or service. For advertising to convince and influence a consumer to change his or her mind, it should have some characteristics that make it unique and different from other promotional tools. According to starch (1966) “advertising must be seen, read, believed, remembered and acted upon for it to have an effect on the consumer.

Essentially advertising means spreading of information. The word ‘advertisement’ originated from the Latin term ‘advertise’ meaning to turn to.

Advertising is a paid form of publicity. Secondly, it is non-personal. They are directed at a mass audience and not directly at the individual as is in the case of personal selling. Finally, advertisements are identifiable with their sponsor or originator which is not always the case with publicity.

Advertising Objectives

The purpose of advertising is nothing but to sell something – a product, a service or an idea. The real objective of advertising is effective communication between producers and consumers. The following are the main objectives of advertising:

1. Preparing    Ground    For    New     Product: Advertisement may be used for introducing a new product in the market.   New products needs introduction because potential customers have never used such product, hence the advertisement prepare a ground for the new product. Most of the advertisement in cinema halls, or at radio and television serve this purpose.

2. Creation   of   Demand:   The   main   objective   of   the advertisement   is   to   create   a   favourable   climate   for maintaining or improving sales.    Customers are to be commonly reminded about the product and the brand. It may induce new customers to buy the product by informing them of its qualities.

3. Facing The Competitors: Another important objective of the advertisement is to face the competition.    In other words, advertising in modern days is undertaken not only to inform the people about a product, but is used also to maintain and increase the demand  of the  product by changing people from rival products in the market.  Under competitive conditions, advertisement helps to build up brand image and brand loyalty and when customers have developed brand image and brand loyalty, it becomes difficult for the middlemen to change it.

4. Creating or Enhancing Goodwill: Large scale advertising is often   undertaken   with   the   objective   of  creating   or enhancing the goodwill of the advertising company.  This in   turn,   increases   the   market   recepti.veness   of   the company’s   product   and   helps   the   salesmen   to   win customers easily.

5. Informing    The    Customers     About    Changes:     The advertisement is made with the purpose of informing the consuming public about changes.  Whenever, changes are made in the prices, channels of distribution or in the product by way of any improvement in quality, size, weight, brand, packaging, etc; they must be informed through advertisement.   Incidentally, such advertisement may be used to maintain or improve sales.

6. Neutralising Competitor’s Advertising: Advertising is unavoidable to compete with or neutralize competitor’s advertising. When competitors are adopting intensive advertising as their promotional strategy, it is reasonable to follow similar practices to neutralize their effects.

7. Advertising  supplement  or  support  the  effort  of the salesmen by introducing the product before the arrival of the salesmen.

Advertising Media

We live today in what can be described as a “media surround society” – where there is an overwhelming intrusion of media into our lives comprising radio, television, newspapers, magazines, satellites, direct mail and billboards, to mention a few. It is through these different types of media that we get information, education and entertainment. For advertisers, the media are of special significance. The media are akin to the blood vessels through which advertising messages pass to the various audiences. They close the gap between the producer and the consumer.

However, the more orthodox, frequently used media for advertising can be grouped as follows:

Print Media:
(a) Publication Media – (i) Newspapers (ii) Magazines

(b) Direct Advertising – (i) Direct Mail (ii) Specialities

Electronic Media:
(a) Radio

(b) Television

(c) Cinema

(d) Cable satellite

(e) Internet

Point – of – purchase Advertising
Other Media
(a) Advertising on Film/Home Video

(b) Directory Advertising

(c) Exhibitions

Out – of – Home Media
(a) Outdoor Advertising

(b) Non-Standardized Signs

(c) Transit Advertising

The media listed represent the vast opportunities available to businesses in reaching out to their prospects. The guiding principle however is selecting the right medium or media mix that can reach the right market and meet predetermined advertising objectives most effectively. Obviously, a pre-condition to using anything at the best advantage is the possession of knowledge about it. Hence, the need to examine media characteristics, ways by which media may be compared, when making a decision about media choice.

Media Qualities

Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses, its potentials and limitations, and to use it effectively, there is need to understand the strong points and the weak points. Some media are best suitable for certain campaign whilst some are poor vehicles for other campaign. An understanding of media characteristics then is the logical beginning choice for a campaign. Some of the criteria for judging media appropriateness are as follows:

1.      Selectivity or the Reach of the Medium: The ability of a medium to reach a particular audience is based on the audience’s geographical location.   Thus the target of the advertising and the ability of the media to reach them at the point they want to be reached are important questions to be given consideration in deciding media choice.

2.      Penetration or Coverage: This expression covers not only the composition and location of the media audience but also the size a medium can generate plus the number of individuals in each of the various categories. Focus will be on:

(i) How many people of a given sex, age and socio -economic group receive the advertising message within a described area.

(ii) The word coverage is used to mean the ability of a medium to reach a certain percentage of homes in a given area, or persons within a particular segment.

3. Flexibility and Speed: Flexibility refers to the ease and amount of time required to place or stop an advertisement in a medium.  On the other hand speed considers speed of operation rather than when and how an advertisement message   is   delivered,   as   some   media   must   receive bookings well in advance.

4. Cost: Cost works in two ways:

(a)  as absolute cost, and

(b)  as relative cost.

Absolute cost is the charge imposed for a certain amount of time or space in a medium. Relative cost relates benefits to be gained by an advertiser to the cost of running such an advertisement.

5. The medium and Environment:  This quality is called editorial environment.  An advertiser may be awake to the prestige and integrity of a medium thus selecting it.

The form the advertisement takes also influences the media choice. Television gives the benefit of movement, music and human voice to the advantages. Both come in colour. Posters have colour and size but not movement. Most newspapers guarantee black and white printed advertisement. In magazines, colour can be obtained and this shows products in their natural colours.

6. Competitive Activity: The principle governing media selections are: first, check if rival manufacturers use the medium regularly and with what frequency. Second, consider the general weight of advertising and third, examine which companies advertise in the medium and therefore determine which company you are keeping by using the medium.

Advertising Budget or Appropriation

The advertising budget, otherwise known as the appropriation is the amount of money set aside for advertising purposes. Before fixing the appropriation, the management, through the advertising manager has to consider several factor before deciding the amount to be spent on advertisement. Such variables are population, income trend analysis, the economic situation and competitive behaviour, product development, sales force, etc. It is also essential to be thoroughly conversant with the company and its image. Often, this determines the type of advertising to be used and the media selection. The product’s history should be well known. These include its uses, manufacturing methods, raw materials used, and previous records. For this, purpose, the cost factor should be the determining factor to determine the right proportion of media. A planned cost analysis of different media of advertisement and its effectiveness should be considered while preparing the advertisement budget.

Methods of Appropriation or Budget

Since making profit is the most important objective of business, one rule in determining advertising budget is never to spend more than is required to achieve a given sales level. Most common methods of fixing advertising budget are:

1.      Availability of funds or affordable approach

2.      Percentage of sales methods

3.      Return on investment method

4.      Competitive parity methods

5.   Objective and task method

Availability of Funds or Affordable Method: In this method, the company considers what funds are available or what it can afford for advertising. A small business concern therefore, cannot spend much on advertising because its capacity to spend is limited. Availability of fund is the only criterion for deciding the amount to be spent on advertisement.

Percentage of Sales Methods: Under this method, the amount to be appropriated is arrived at as a fixed percentage of the sales. Preceding years sale figure or estimated sales figure of the current year may be taken as a base for calculating the percentage. A company executive might say, “last year, we spent N0.05 Million and we did pretty well, we could hike it up to N0. 10 this year”. This method is the least precise but often used because it is easy to apply.

Return on Investment Method: In this method, advertising expenditure is considered as an investment which no doubt correct as the return one gets from advertising. The advertising budget is then prepared by taking into consideration the increased profits generated by an increase in sales and goodwill through” advertising”.

Competitive Parity Method: Another method of appropriation fixing is to .compare company expenses with competitive firms on advertisement. With this method, an advertiser of a product assesses the total advertising expenditure of all the firms in that group per year.

Objective and Task Method: Probably the task approach is the best approach. It fixes the advertising appropriation on the basis of what the advertising campaign is required to achieve. This method, therefore, considers carefully the advertising objectives prescribed and then determines what is necessary in terms of the type of media, frequency of advertising and so on, with a view to accomplish these objectives effectively.

Classification of Advertising

Advertising may be classified as follows:

1. National   Advertising:   The   main   goal   of national advertising is to create a favourable climate for a product rather than  stimulate  immediate  sales.     This can also be  called “manufacturer advertising”.    It does not tell the consumers where to buy the product but it stimulates interest of the buyer.

2. Retail Advertising: Unlike national advertising which aim at long term -favourable attitudes, retail advertising is focused on immediate results. This advertising informs the consumer about where the product can be purchased. It provides information about the products and uses price as a gimmick to get the consumer to buy.

3. Mail Order Advertising: As the name implies, this is an approach whereby the advertiser places his advertisement in printed media and invites prospective consumers to place order for the product through the post. Significantly, the entire transaction is carried out by post.

4 Travel Advertising: This type of advertising takes various forms and a large percentage of it is holiday type. For example, during summer, the Nigerian Airways and other airlines could offer some incentives to Nigerians going abroad by advertising that, “we are offering a ten percent discount on any return journey ticket bought this summer”.

5. Government Advertising: This is otherwise known as public service advertising.   This type is used by government mostly to educate and mobilize citizens.   Through advertising government is able to enlighten citizens on the need for safety on our roads; the danger of the dreadful Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the need for family planning, environmental sanitation, and during electioneering campaign.

6. Job (Recruitment) Advertising:  This  is  advertising built around employment.   It may involve inviting people to apply for jobs or placement in both private and public sector of the economy like the Nigerian Police. In this form of advertising information concerning the job, the type of people and qualifications need as well as methods of application are usually spelt out.

7. Classified Advertising:    Sometimes called want advertising,  is   mostly   used   by   private   individuals.     The advertising are done on very small spaces towards one of the last pages of most newspapers. It is used by individuals wanting to sell cars, houses and recruit lower cadre of staff.

8. Institutional Advertising: This is also referred to as corporate advertising.  It is an attempt to improve the image or reputation of firms via advertising. It is basically designed to promote goodwill for an organisation in the eyes of its immediate public. For example, a full-page advertisement of a company in the area of environmental protection is a corporate advertisement for the company.

9. Business Advertising: It is also termed as “commercial advertising. It is solely meant for effecting increase in sales. It includes:

(i) industrial advertising which is directed at industrialists or

industrial producers,

(ii) trade advertising which includes advertising directed at the various types of middlemen,

(iii)professional     advertising    undertaken     by     doctors, engineers, etc.

10. Non-Commercial Advertising:      Some     of     the advertisements  run  by  federal,  state  or  local  governments, charitable organisations and institutions, religious organisations or political groups fall under this category. Such advertisements may have many objectives such soliciting donations, support for a candidate for a political office etc.

11. Charity Advertising:  All  advertisements  that solicit help or assistance for the poor or the needy can be grouped under charity advertising. It could be monetary in form, material in kind such as food for the handicapped children.

12. Cooperative     Advertising:     When     manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers jointly sponsor and share the expenditure on advertising; it takes the form of cooperative advertising.

Personal Selling or Salesmanship

Often these two terms — personal selling and salesmanship are used without distinction. However, there are vital differences between the two words. Personal selling is a broader concept and involves oral presentation in conversation with one or more prospective buyer for the purpose of making sales. Salesmanship may be employed both in personal selling and advertising. It is one of the skill used in personal selling. In salesmanship, the art of personal persuasion is employed by the salesman to induce the prospect to buy what he has to sell. Moreover, the two terms can be used synonymous to each other. The American Marketing Association defined personal selling as “oral presentation in conversation with one or more prospective purchaser for the purpose of making sales”. Stanton (1981)    stated    that    personal    selling    involves    personal communication between  a  sales  person  and  the  prospects. Richard Buskirk said personal selling consists of contracting prospective buyers of a product personally.

In all these authorities, notice that personal selling consists of individuals personal communication in contrast to the mass medium, impersonal communication of advertising, sales promotion and publicity. Personal selling has the advantage of being more flexible than the other promotional activities in that, sales persons can tailor their presentation to suit the needs, motives and behaviour of various customers.

Personal selling is, however, of greater significance for marketers of industrial good than for consumer goods.

Importance of Personal Selling

The important role which personal selling plays in the communication process cannot be overlooked. There is no amount of investment in other promotional tools that can be as strong as personal selling in actualizing the exchange transaction need to keep the industry healthy. A salesman is a friend and a guide of the customer and an aid to the producers.

A salesman informs the customer about new products introduced in the market. If the customer has any doubt about the product, its use, etc; he can ask the seller about such doubt.

A salesman makes search for new customers and convince them to buy and use the product. A salesman helps in interpreting the sentiments of the market because he serves as a communication link between producer and the consumer.

Personal selling helps the society in accelerating the rate of production by bringing about improvement in the standard of living.

Personal selling or salesmanship has made the large scale production and sales possible.

Personal selling has great application to-the marketing or industrial goods and services because conditions in the industrial market can be managed well by salesmen.

Qualities of a Successful Salesman

Selling no doubt is not an easy task. It involves a great deal of training, hard work and determination. Therefore, there are some desirable personal qualities of a successful salesman. These qualities are grouped under four categories of: physical, mental, moral and social, and vocational attributes.

I. Physical Attributes: Amongst the physical attributes of a successful salesman are:

(i) Personality: It is a composition of various characteristics of man such .as personal appearance, habits, manners, way of dressing, posture, etc.

(ii) Sound Health:  Being free from any physical handicap like stammering, limping, etc.

(iii) Stamina:   Not  getting  exhausted  quickly   and easily. Attributes:

2. Mental   attributes: Mental attributes includes the following:

(i) Alertness: Being very alert, attentive and active so that he may be able to counter objections and remove apprehensions.

(ii) Presence   of Mind:   Being  quick   to   grasp  a situation and handle it according to the needs of the time.

(iii) Imaginative and tactful to tackle a customer is unresponsive, silent and undecided.

(iv) Persuasive and convincing nature.

(v) Self-confident: This require thorough knowledge of the product, its uses and misuses,

(vi) Initiative is needed in prospecting, approaching, and convincing the buyers even without prior direction,

(vii) Sharp  Memory:   A  capacity  to  recognize  his customer,

(viii)   Intelligent and must have a good common sense, a general awareness and positive attribute.

3. Moral and Social Attributes:

(i) Ability to get along with the people

(ii) Tactful to deal with the people — patient listener, frank, humorous, etc.

(iii) Convincing Conversationist and should be able to present his proposition pleasantly, sweet voice, clear pronunciation, good vocabulary, apt use of words and fluent expression are essential ingredients of convincing prospects.

(iv) Likeable disposition, such as politeness, good manners, cheerfulness, good humor, and pleasant habits make a man likeable.

(v) Honesty and sound character: A salesman should be truthful, frank, straightforward, sincere, earnest and honest in his statement.

(vi) Cooperative and Helpfulness: Cooperation with the customers, fellow salesmen and the employers is required.

4. Vocational Attributes: These attributes are:

(i) Aptitude: He should posses a special aptitude, a special discipline of mind, body and heart. He should be creative and self-satisfying.

(ii) Enthusiasm: He should be able to face the inconvenience and reverse in the efforts happily and enthusiastically.

(iii) Discipline: He should be discipline in his talk, manner and treatment with the customer.

(iv) Training in effective sales methods.

The Personal Selling Process

Scholars differ in their opinion of the number of stages that constitute the selling process. B.usch and Houston (1985) identify seven processes which include: prospecting, pre-approach, approach, presentation, answering objections, closing the sale, and followup.

1.   Prospecting: Prospecting is the seeking of customers for salesman’s products or service.    Prospects come from many sources including old customers, friends, social and professional contacts, business associates, present users, neigbours, non-sales employees, etc; or it could be by publicity through mass media.

2.   Pre-approach: This is the process of obtaining information on prospects in order to know their likes and dislikes. This will enable the sales person to understand the prospect he is about to meet.

3.   Approach: In the approach, the salesperson tries to attract the prospect.    How you approach the prospect is very important. The approach varies from  salesperson  to salesperson. At this stage, the salesperson has gained success   to   the   potential   customers   by   getting   their attention, stimulating their interest on the product and thereby making smooth presentation for trial and actual purchase.

4.   Presentation: The goal at this stage is the creation of the desire for the prospect to want to buy the product. The salesperson tells stories or describes the characteristics of his product or service he is presenting to the prospect. Here the salesperson is required to present all necessary information concerning the product and the benefits which the product has over other competing brands.

Product demonstration by the salesperson may also be needed at this stage. It often helps when a salesperson demonstrates how the product is used, as this enable prospects to know how to use the product.

5.   Answering Objections: Many objections may arise both during the presentation and demonstration. Objections are ways whereby the prospect might try to avoid buying the product, or.looking for additional information that would stimulate   purchase or offering the salesperson the opportunity to expand his presentation.

6.   Closing the Sales: This is the stage in the selling process at which the sales person after convincing prospects tries to sell the product. The salesperson assumes the prospect has accepted the product.   The salespersons asks whether the prospect want to buy on credit or pay cash, what quantity he may require, and whether he will be sending the order. If the prospect accept the product he give it a trial by, placing order and could convert to become a regular ‘customer.

7.   Follow-Up: Sales do not end with the purchase of the product by the customer.   There must be a follow-up to determine the reaction of the customer.   Such follow-up will enable the salesperson to know the problem the customer may be having and that may lead to repeat purchase. In the selling process a follow-up may also lead to an assessment of the salesperson’s performance which might have led to the successful or unsuccessful closure of the selling sequence.

Sales Promotion

The battle for supremacy along with stiff competition for increased market, especially among various soft drink brand in Nigeria, notably Coca-Cola and 7Up has elevated sales promotion into prime product marketing strategy. In the early 1990’s, intense competition was witnessed in the Nigerian market between Coca-Cola and 7Up which resulted in the use of powerful promotional gimmicks by the two brands.

The first promotion was the Naira (14) Rain, in which consumers win cash prizes ranging from N20, N50, N100, N250, to 14500 enclostered in the cork of the soft drink.

The term sales promotion is widely and rather loosely used in marketing. Sales promotion is a miscellaneous selling tool not categorized as advertising or personal selling. This agree with the definition of the American Marketing Association which defines sales promotion as those activities, other than personal selling, advertising, and publicity, that stimulates consumer purchasing and dealer effectiveness, such as displays, shows and expositions, demonstrations and various non current selling efforts not in the ordinary routine.

John Windier refers to sale’s promotion as “frantic efforts to persuade consumers to buy one brand rather than another”. To Bovee and Arens, sales promotion is a direct inducement offering extra incentives all along the marketing route from manufacturers through distribution channels to consumers to enhance the movement of the product from the producer to the consumer.

Sales promotion centres on some form of special purchase incentives offered to the consumers or dealers and it is short termed. The special offer itself may be for only a period of thirty, sixty or ninety days. Three important things should be remembered about sales promotion:

1.   Lt is an acceleration tool designed to speed up the selling efforts.

2.   It is normally concentrated at point-of-sale and through direct inducement (such as money,, prizes, extra products, gifts   or   specialized   information)   that   provides   extra incentives to buy, visit the store, request literature or take some other actions.

3.   It is applicable anywhere along the marketing route – from manufacturer to dealer, from dealer to consumer or from manufacturer to consumer.

Objectives of Sales Promotion

Several reasons exist why firms engage in sales promotion activities. According to Kotler (1998) sales promotion objectives include encouraging more usage and purchase of large size units by users, building trial among non-users and attracting trial by other users.

Other sales promotion objectives are:

1.   Providing information: The producer generally provides information regarding the quality, uses, different uses of the  products  and  the  prices  to  the  customers   while introducing the product.

2.   Increase   in   sales:   The   main   purpose   of   all   sales promotional activities is to increase sales of the firm’s product.

3.   Reducing   Seasonal   Decline:    In   slack   season,   the promotional activities help in maintaining the sales of the product.  Customers and middlemen are offered attractive discounts and free gifts along with their products to induce sales of their products.

4.   To Keep The Memory Alive: One of the objectives of sales promotion is to keep the memory of the product alive in the minds of the present customers.

5.   To Induce Middlemen to Purchase More: The middlemen – wholesalers and retailers are induced to purchase more stock by offering more facilities such as credit facilities, cash discount, etc.

Sales Promotion Tools

There are a lot of sales promotion tools in the field of marketing. Some are aimed at middlemen, while others are aimed at the ultimate consumers. The sales promotion strategies aimed at the middlemen especially retailers are known as trade promotion (push strategy) while those that are aimed at the consumers are known as consumer promotion (pull strategy).

Trade Promotion (Push Strategy) Techniques

Trade promotions are usually designed to improve distribution, encourage a buildup of stock or assist special selling efforts. They are directed mainly at wholesalers for two major reasons:

1.   To stock products.

2.   To promote them to their customers.

The general notion here is that, if the dealer is given incentives and loaded up with stock, there will be compulsion to sell by all means to the customers. In developed countries, where the practice of marketing is standardized and more pronounced, retailers are heaviest users of sales promotion. In developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, most sales promotion programmes are embarked upon by manufacturers.

Some of the devices under trade promotion (push strategy) include:

*    Point of Purchase Materials: These include printed cards, stickers and posters which appear on counters, windows and on the wall of retail stores.

*    Special Allowances on Goods: This is direct reduction in the prices of goods only to wholesalers and retailers.

*    Display Allowance: Allowance offered to any retailer who displays the logo or brand name of the product in their stores.

*    Push Money: This comprises of incentives offered so as to push salesmen to want to make more sales as prizes are offered for each unit sold.

*    Sales Contest: It is a device used to stimulate and motivate distributors, dealers -and their sales staff.    They will be offered cash prices for those who will win the sale contest.

*  Money Refund: This is the refund of money after product is purchased. It could be by mail, or otherwise and proof of purchase must be established.

Consumer Promotion (Pull Strategy) Techniques

One reason directing a sales promotional effort to consumers is to get them to try the product, specifically, some special incentives are usually offered to attract the consumers to the product.

Sometimes, sales promotion are not meant to generate direct sales but simply to build traffic in retail outlet and thereby give the salesmen an opportunity to present the product.

Basic offers in consumer promotions (pull strategies) are:

*    Premium: Premium is offered to the general public as an inducement to make a purchase.  It is mostly used in selling goods which have not attracted brand loyalties.    Usually, undifferentiated products of low unit value that are bought frequently are used as premium. Premium can be simply put as an item offered to customers for buying a particular product. The premium may be kept inside the pack or attached to the pack.

*    Sampling: Sampling offers the potential customers a free trial of the product with the ultimate aim of converting the potential consumer into a regular consumer, if the product satisfies him or her.   Sampling involves free distribution of the product to ultimate consumers This is suitable for introducing a new product.

*    Price – Off (Money – Off): When seller or a producer decides to reduce price, this is referred to as price – off.   It offer the buyer a sort of saving off the regular price of the product, flagged on the label or package.

*    Coupons: A coupon is a certificate that entitles the consumer to a specified saving on the purchase of a specified product. The manufacturers through the retailers usually issue these coupons. The retailers are re-embursed the value of coupons by the manufacturers.  Coupons can be mailed, enclosed in, or they may be inserted in  magazines and newspapers advertisement.

* Branded Packs: Two or more packs of different products are wrapped together for sale at a reduced price. Mostly, such products are complementary to each other.

* Trading Stamps: The retailers or manufacturers in proportion to their purchases issue such ‘trading stamps’ to consumers. The consumer goes on collecting stamps until he-has sufficient quantity to obtain a desired merchandise in exchange of the stamps. Its use or adoption in Nigeria is very uncommon.                                *  Sponsorship: This is when the manufacturer partly or wholly involves in the funding or general organisation of an event other than its conventional business. Sponsorship could be of sporting events, the arts and other contests that are directly beneficial to the consumers.

* Trade Shows or Exhibitions: Trade shows and-exhibitions is an opportunity for the manufacturers to display their products to potential buyers at relatively low price. It promotes corporate image. In some countries, there are state owned exhibition centres located at busy city centres. In Nigeria, most trade shows or exhibition centres are owned and managed by state governments.

* Contest and Sweepstakes: At times contests and sweepstakes are arranged with a view to attract new users to the company’s product. Contest is when skill is required, the participating consumer is asked to do something that will be judged, and prizes are awarded for superior performances. While in sweepstakes, the consumer is pooled with the names of all entrants. The winner is selected at a random, a kind of chance consideration of winner. Demonstrations: This is promotion activity involving the practical illustration of how a product is used, the quality, and the general features of that product. Demonstrations are arranged in store, at fairs and exhibitions, festivals or even on a door to door basis. It can be applied or used for products like automobiles, household appliances and new beverages.

* Money Refund Offer: This offer is generally stated in media advertising that the manufacturer will return the price if the product fail to meet the customer satisfaction, and the offer is within a stated period of time.

Public Relations and Publicity

Publicity relation is an essential loot of promotion that is usually neglected. The meaning and importance of public relations is not always properly understood.

However, Kotler et al (1996) see public relations as building good relations with the company’s various publics by obtaining favourable publicity, building up a good “corporate image” and handling of unfavourable rumors, stories and events.

According to the Institute of Public Relations (1PR) London, public relation is defined as “the planned and sustained efforts to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”.

Therefore public relations can be simply put as “the relationship”between a firm and its numerous public”. It is a promotional activity concerned with creating and maintaining favourable relationship between an organisation and its publics, such as customers, employees, shareholders, investors, stockholders, community and government. Public relations is an activity planned to shape the attitude and behaviour of its publics. A firm’s public influence positively or negatively the ability of the firm to accomplish its goals. This collaborate with the definition of Etzel et al (1997) which defined public relations as “a management tool designed to favourably influence attitudes towards art organisation, its products and its policies”. While Offonry (1985) defined .public relations as “management function which attempts to create goodwill for the organisation and its product, service or idea with groups of people which can affect present and future welfare”.

Objectives of Public Relations

The objective of public relations campaign depends on the particular public at which the public relations message is directed. Public relations is about a firm blowing its trumpet. The most advance type of public relations not only create goodwill for the organisation as it exists, but also helps formulate policies if needed, which will of themselves result in favourable action.

The objectives of public relations efforts are:

1.   Employees: To encourage employees to have pride in the company and its product.

2.    Government:   To   inform and   educate   the   public   on government legislations, regulations and all matters that affect the daily lives of citizens.

3.    Consumers: To disseminate information on the production and distribution of new or existing products.

4.    Suppliers:   Provide   research  findings   for  use  in   new products and to sustain sales.

5.    Stockholders/Shareholders:    Public    relations    conveys information to the shareholders and stockholders on the future plans of the organisation, company prospects, and past and present profitability.

6.    Community: To the community at large public relations promote    soeial    responsibility    as    well    as    convey information on all aspect of building a sense of unity between the company and the community.

Functions of Public Relations

We  are  already   aware  of the  objectives  of public relations in an organisation or government.   The following are the main functions of public relations.

1.   Press Relations: This is in the form of press releases or news release /story with the media, to attract attention to a person, product or service, etc.

2.   Product Publicity: This is the use of news media and other means to publicise specific products and events related to the products.

3.   Lobbying: This is an attempt to defeat unwanted government legislation and regulation or to influence the appropriate public.

4.   Counseling: Provision of useful advice to the company on the happenings in the society and on what the company might do in any of its policy changes.

5.   Corporate    Communication:     Corporate    communication involves internal and external communication designed to give attention and understanding to the firm. The purpose is to build awareness and favourable attitudes toward the whole firm. Examples are corporate advertising, corporate identity, sponsorship and promotion of special events, fund raising, etc.

Publicity

Publicity is a major promotional tool in use by firms and non-profit making organisations. Publicity is an unpaid form of promotion. In contrast to advertisement which is paid for by the organisation.

Publicity may be defined as “news worthy” item about products or company in the form of editorial material in the print or radio, television, etc. MaCarthy and Perreault (1990) stated that “publicity is any unpaid form of non-personal presentation of idea, goods or services”.

According to Nwokoye (1981) Publicity is information about company and its products that is conveyed to the public by the mass media because such information is news worthy.

The advantage of publicity over other means of communication to a firm’s publics is that the messages are typically more believable because of their news-story format. Publicity is mainly information.

Publicity, as a form of promotion has certain characteristics:

*    It is Free: Publicity messages appearing in the media are not paid for by the organisation.

*    Publicity messages are more reliable and credible.

* The organisation has less control over the publicity than other forms of promotion.

*    Off-Guard:   In   off-guard   publicity   can   reach   many prospects that might avoid sales people and advertisement.

*    Dramatisation: Publicity like advertising has a pattern for dramatising a product or company.

Publicity if well-thought out with other promotion mix elements can be extremely effective. Product publicity in the media is a strategy often used by organisation to reach a large audience, create awareness and supply information on possible inquiries about a product which customers may perceive that could solve their problem. It can also be used to overcome negative images,

Types of Publicity

There are several types of publicity mechanisms. They include:

1.    News Release; This is a single page of typewritten copy containing fewer than three hundred words.  A news release also gives the firm’s name, its address and phone number, and the contact person.

2.   Feature Article: A feature article is longer (up to three hundred words).

3.   Captioned Photograph: This is a photograph with a brief description that explains the picture content. Captioned photograph is usually used to illustrate a new or improved product.

4.    Press Conference: A press conference is a meeting usually used to announce major news events.  In a press conference media personnel (journalists) are invited and are supplied with written materials and photographs, films and tapes may also be distributed to broadcast stations in the hope that they may be aired.

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