Sales Promotion Techniques Of

The questions posed above relate to some of the key issues that marketers must address when designing a marketing communications strategy. Modern marketing calls for more than just developing a good product, pricing it attractively, and making it available to target customers. Companies must also communicate with their customers, and what they communicate should not be left to chance.

To communicate well, companies often hire advertising agencies to develop effective ads, sales promotion specialists to design sales-incentive programmes, direct-marketing specialists to develop databases and interact with customers and prospects by mail and telephone, and public relations firms to develop corporate images. They train their salespeople to be friendly, helpful and persuasive. For most companies, the question is not whether to communicate, but how much to spend and in what iMry.s.

A modern company manages a complex marketing communications system (see Figure 18.1). The company communicates with its intermediaries, consumers and various publics. Its intermediaries communicate with their consumers and publics. Consumers have word-of-mouth communication with each other and with other publics. Meanwhile, each group provides feedback to every other group.

A company's total marketing communications mix - called its promotion mix

• consists of the specific blend of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and public relations tools that the company uses to pursue its advertising and marketing objectives. Let us define the four main promotion tools:

• Advertising. Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor.

• Personal selling. Oral presentation in a conversation with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making sales and building customer relationships.

• Sales promotion. Short-term incentives to encourage the purchase or sale of a product or service.

• Public relations. Building good relations with the company's various publics by obtaining favourable publicity, building up a good 'corporate image1, and handling or heading off unfavourable rumours, stories and events.2

in recent years, direct communications with carefully targeted individual consumers to obtain an immediate response arc gaining importance as a communication tool. Unlike a salesperson confronting a customer face to face, arguably the most direct sort of marketing, the new direct approaches, typically

Figure 18.1

The marketing communications system called direct marketing, involve the use of mail, telephone, fax, e-mail and other non-persona/ tools to communicate directly with specific consumers or to solicit a direct response. Because of its rising importance;, modern marketers have frequently referred to it as the fifth element of the communications mix. However, direct marketing techniques are not just communication devices, they are also safes channels in their own right. For example, many companies use direct channels to sell their products. A wide range of products and services, including computers, software, financial services, clothing and household appliances can be purchased by phone, mail and even the Internet.

Within these categories are specific tools. For example, advertising includes print, radio and television broadcast, outdoor and other forms. Personal selling includes sales presentations, fairs and trade shows, and incentive programmes. Sales promotion includes activities sueh as point-of-pnrchase displays, premiums, discounts, coupons, competitions, speciality advertising and demonstrations. Direct marketing includes catalogues, telemarketing, fax. the Internet and more. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, people can now communicate through traditional media, such as newspapers, radio, telephone and television, as well as through newer types of media (e.g. fax machines, cellular phones, pagers and computers). The new technologies have encouraged more companies to move from mass communication to more targeted communication and one-to-one dialogue.

At the same time, communication goes beyond these specific promotion tools. The product's design, its price, the shape and colour of its package, and the stores that sell it - all communicate something to buyers. Thus, although the promotion mix is the company's primary communication activity, the entire marketing mix - promotion and product, price and place - must be co-ordinated lor greatest communication impact.

In this chapter, we begin by examining three questions. First, how does the communication process -work? Second, what are the main steps in developing effective marketing communication? Third, how should the promotion budget and mix be determined? We then look at recent dramatic changes in marketing communications that have resulted from shifting marketing strategies and advances in computers and information technologies. Finally, we outline the legal, ethical and social responsibility issues in marketing communications. In Chapter 19, we will look at mass-communication tools - that is, advertising, sales promotion and public relations. Chapter 20 examines the sales force as a communication and promotion tool. Given the 'hybrid' role of direct marketing, we will review developments in direct and online marketing and address the implications for the firm's communications as well as distribution strategies in Chapter 22.

direct marketing

Marketing through •various advertising media that interact directly teith consumers, generally catling for the consumer to make a direct response.

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