With specific market situations and communications objectives, the advantages of advertising make it more effective in the early stages of the response hierarchy (for example, in creating awareness and interest), whereas personal selling is more likely to be used in the later stages (for example, stimulating trial and getting the order). Thus, each may be more or less appropriate depending on the objectives sought. These elements can be combined in the promotional mix to compensate for each other's weaknesses and complement each other.
Consider a new product introduction. Given an adequate budget, the initial objective might be to reach as many people in the target market as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Since the primary objective is awareness and a simple message will suffice, advertising will likely be the most appropriate medium.
Now suppose specific benefits must be communicated that are not very obvious or easy to comprehend, and a product demonstration would be useful. Or consider a situation in which the objective is to ask for the sale and/or to establish a relationship. Here personal selling is a more appropriate tool than advertising. In common marketing situations like these, you can see how well advertising and personal selling work together to attain the objectives sought.
A number of studies bear out this complementary relationship. A study by Theodore Levitt showed that sales reps from well-known companies are better received than those from companies that do not spend advertising dollars to create awareness.14 (Once they are in the door, however, the buyer expects the salesperson to perform better than those from lesser-known companies.) If a salesperson from a lesser-known company can get in to see the buyer, he or she is as likely to make the sale. But in risky situations, the well-advertised company rep has the advantage. Gateway recently embarked upon a $50 million IMC campaign (Exhibit 18-4) using advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, and the Internet to create awareness that Gateway is interested in companies' business (Gateway has been perceived by many as being a consumer PC). The campaign is designed to position the company as a solutions provider and to assist and enhance the sales force's efforts.
In other studies, John Morrill found that selling costs were 2 to 28 percent lower if the buyer had received an advertising message before the salesperson's arrival.15 McGraw-Hill Corp., in a review of 54 studies, concluded the combination of advertising and personal selling is important since "less than 10 percent of industrial decision makers had been called upon by a salesperson from a specific company about a specific product in the previous two months."16
The studies suggest that combining advertising and personal selling is likely to improve reach, reduce costs, and increase the probability of a sale (assuming the advertising is effective, a concern reflected in Exhibit 18-5). Unfortunately, many salespeople do not understand the role that advertising plays and the contribution it can make to supporting their sales efforts. Some view the impact advertising makes with skepticism and/or believe that the monies would be better spent on commissions, price reductions, and so on. Ted Pollock, writing in The American Salesman, dis-
cusses the fact that advertising contributes to the sales process, and he enumerates 12 ways salespersons can use advertising to help them sell more (Figure 18-6).
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