Promotion Mix: Factors and Elements of Promotion Mix!
Promotion is one of the four elements of marketing mix (product, price, promotion and place). It is the communication link between sellers and buyers for the purpose of influencing, informing or persuading a potential buyer’s purchasing decision. The ‘promotional mix’ is a term used to describe the set of tools that a business can use to effectively communicate the benefits of its products or services to the customers.
Different types of products require different promotion mix. In case of consumer goods, advertisement is considered to be the most important because the goods are non-technical and produced on a large scale. But for industrial goods, personal selling is regarded as the most important tool because the products are technical in nature and costly, and persuasion is considered essential for their sale.
If the number of customers is quite large and they are spread over a vast area, advertisement is more helpful because it can reach people everywhere. However, if the number of customers is not very large and they are concentrated geographically, personal selling and sales promotion may be more effective.
The promotional mix depends on the stage of the product in product life cycle. During introduction, heavy expenditure is incurred on advertisement followed by personal selling and sales promotion. During the growth stage, customers are aware of the benefits of product. Hence, advertisement along with personal selling is more effective. At the maturity stage, competition is more intense. Sales promotion becomes the most important tool to boost sales.
Funds available for promotion also decide promotion mix; for example, advertisement is a costly tool. If sufficient funds are not available, this tool may not be adopted. Personal selling involves continuous spending. Thus, budget is a deciding factor for promotion mix.
When firms push the product to middlemen, they in turn push it to consumers—this is known as ‘push’ strategy. In this case, personal selling or display should be more effective. Pull strategy refers to the policy of a company to strive to build up consumer demand without recourse to middlemen. Generally, advertising is considered more important in case of pull strategy.
Advertising can be defined as any paid form of non-personal communication about an organization, product, service, or idea by an identified sponsor. The non-personal component means that advertising involving mass media (e.g., TV, radio, magazine, and newspaper) that can transmit a message to large groups of individuals, often at the same time. Advertising is the best-known and most widely discussed form of promotion, probably because of its pervasiveness.
It is also a very important promotional tool, particularly for companies whose products and services are targeted at mass consumer markets. Advertising is an important part of many marketers’ promotional mixes as it can be a very cost-effective method for communication with large audiences.
The next variable in the promotion mix is sales promotion, which is generally defined as those marketing activities that provide extra values or incentives to the sales force, the distributors, or the ultimate consumer and can stimulate immediate sales.
Sales promotion is generally broken into two major categories:
1. Consumer-oriented activities:
Consumer-oriented sales promotion is targeted to an ultimate user of a product or service, and it includes giving coupons, samplings, discounts, premiums and various point-of-purchase materials.
2. Trade-oriented activities:
Trade-oriented sales promotions are targeted towards marketing intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors and retailers. Promotional and merchandising allowances, price, deals, sales contests and trade shows are some of the promotional tools used to encourage the trade to stock and promote a company’s product.
The next element of an organization’s promotional mix is personal selling. It is a form of person-to- person communication in which a seller attempts to assist and/or persuade prospective buyers to purchase the company’s products or services or to act on an idea.
Unlike advertising, personal selling involves direct contact between buyers and sellers, either face to face or through some forms of telecommunications such as telephone sales. Personal selling involves more immediate and precise feedback because the impact of sales presentation can generally be assessed from customer’s reactions.
Public relation is defined as ‘the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedure of an individual or organization with the public interest, and executes a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance’.
When an organization systematically plans and distributes information in an attempt to control and manage its image and the nature of the publicity it receives, it really engages in a function known as public relation.
Publicity refers to non-personal communication regarding an organization, product, service, or idea not directly paid for or run under identified sponsorship. It usually comes in the form of news story, editorial or announcement about an organization, or its product and services. An advantage of publicity over other forms of promotions is its credibility.
Direct marketing is one of the fastest-growing sectors in which organizations communicate directly with target customers to generate a response or a transaction. Companies such as L.L. Bean, Lands’ End, and J. Crew have been very successful in using direct marketing to sell their clothing products. DELL computers and Gateway have experienced tremendous growth in the computer industry by selling a full line of personal computers through direct marketing.
A well-designed product can influence or induce the prospect to buy the product. Packaging is considered to be the face value of the product. It plays an important role as it provides information of the product, protects the product while transportation and makes it attractive.