In today’s competitive world, a good product sold at an attractive prize is not sufficient for successful business. It is essential to communicate the products USP [Unique Selling Proposition/Point] to the potential consumers and customers. This task in marketing is known as promotion.
Promotional [or communication] mix is basically a company’s total marketing communication program. It can be done using various methods like:
· Personal Selling
· Sales Promotion
· PR and Publicity
· Word of Mouth
· Direct Marketing
· Events Management
· Interactive Marketing
Advertising is a paid non personal presentation of views, facts, ideas etc. with an identifiable sponsor. Message and the medium are two main aspects of advertising, aimed to inform. Some points are to be considered for formulating an effective advertisement viz.
· Establishing advertising objectives and goals, if it is for sales, brand awareness, recognition, building etc.
· Determining advertising budget, it can be done by
1. Arbitrary allocation or affordable method
2. Percentage of sales method
3. Competitive parity [equivalence] method
4. Objective and task method
· Copy testing and development [message formulation]
· Media decisions
· Measuring and controlling
In advertising the repetition of main brand and product positioning helps build customer trust. It is effective at reaching a wide audience and good for brand awareness. But being impersonal it can not answer all customer questions and not helps the customer in making the final buying decision.
Personal selling refers to the oral communication being done with a customer aimed at making a sale. Initially it may appear to be focused on building a relation with the potential buyer, but the ultimate aim is to make a sale. Personal selling is marked by following characteristics
· As it is very interactive lots of interaction between the seller and the buyer takes place and it answers all customer queries.
· It is also very effective in communicating complex or detailed product features.
· It is comparatively costly affair as a large selling force is required which comes with many hidden costs alongwith wages.
· Targeting a large number of potential buyers is very difficult.
Sales promotion refers to providing incentives to customers [consumer sales promotion] or to the distribution channel [trade sales promotion] to stimulate demand for the product. Consumer sales promotion can be done by
· Price reduction for temporary period of time like happy hours.
· Loyal reward program, redeeming credits of purchase for rewards.
· Price packs deal, offering a certain percentage more of the product for the same price.
· Free-standing inserting [FSI] a complete coupon booklet delivered through newspaper or other means.
· Contests/games/sweepstakes, consumer is automatically entered into the event by purchasing the product.
Sales promotion is a good short term tactical tool which generally stimulates quick increase in sales. But if increased over a long period of time customers get used to it and its over use can adversely affect the brand’s image.
Public relation is the communication of a product or business by placing information about it in the media without paying for the media space or time directly. It refers to managing the flow of information between an organization and public. It can be used to build rapport with the employees, customers, investors or the general public. Some common methods are
· Speaking at conferences
· Winning industry awards
· Working with the press
If the publicity is achieved through right media it is very cheap and considered more reliable as the information comes from a third party e.g. magazine, newspaper etc. But there is also risk of losing control as it cannot be controlled what others write about you.
. . . to be continued