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 there should be controlled direction to those communications. Promotion provides the primary communication function. As one of the four major elements of the marketing mix, promotion uses advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing to achieve the company’s communication objectives. Place, the last of the 4 Ps, makes the product available to customers. Distribution channels are identified as being a set of independent organizations involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by the consumer or business. Making decisions involving distribution channels are among the most complex and challenging decisions facing the firm.
There is a need for developing effective integrated marketing communications. Marketers know that as mass markets have fragmented, a shift is underway away from mass marketing. In addition, vast improvements in information technology have sped the movement toward segmented marketing. The result of these two trends is that companies must now blend promotional elements into an integrated marketing communications mix that carefully coordinates all the elements of the promotion.
Advertising and Public Relations
Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, and services by an identified sponsor. There are five important tasks to be accomplished as the marketer attempts to organize and direct the advertising function, including setting objectives, budget decisions, message decisions, media decisions, and campaign evaluation. The marketing firm can undertake the advertising function itself or it can contract with an advertising agency to accomplish its advertising objective, planning, and implementation.
Public relations is an attempt to build good relations with the company’s various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good corporate image, and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, or events. The organization has a variety of tools at its disposal for accomplishing this feat. One of the overriding tasks of public relations is to control the exposure and relationship with the mass media. By focusing on consumer attitudes, awareness, and knowledge of the organization, the company is better prepared to succeed.
Personal Selling and Sales Promotions
Robert Louis Stevenson once noted that everyone lives by selling something. Today, most companies use salespeople to bring their company’s offering to the consuming or business publics. The salesperson’s role is a key one in the organization. The high cost of maintaining a sales force means that management is especially interested in how to efficiently organize this vital element. The following six basic steps or decisions are important to the sales management process: designing sales force strategy and structure, recruiting and selecting salespeople, training salespeople, compensating salespeople, supervising salespeople, and evaluating salespeople.
As an element of the marketing mix, the sales force is very effective in achieving certain marketing, communication, and promotion objectives. The formal steps in the selling process that aid the accomplishment of these objectives are prospecting and qualifying, pre-approach, approach, presentation and demonstration, handling objections, closing, and follow-up. If the salesperson follows these steps, he or she is more likely to be viewed as a problem-solver rather than a hard-sell salesperson by the consumer.
Great salespeople have drive, discipline, and relationship-building skills. Relationship marketing is the process of creating, maintaining, and enhancing strong, value-laden relationships with customers and other stakeholders. Relationships are more important than mere transactions. Transactions can be completed quickly whereas relationships can last a lifetime.
Sales promotion is a process of providing short-term incentives to encourage purchase or sales of a product or service. Sales promotion offers the buyer reasons to buy now. In addition, sales promotion is also intended to stimulate reseller effectiveness. Sales promotion has grown rapidly in the recent past because of pressure to increase sales, increased competition, and the declining efficiency of the other mass communication methods.
Each channel system creates a different level of sales and costs. Unlike flexible elements of the marketing mix, once a distribution channel has been chosen, the firm must usually stick with its choice for some time. In addition, the chosen channel strongly affects, and is affected by, the other elements in the marketing mix; furthermore, a firm needs to identify alternative ways to reach its market.
Channel design begins with assessing customer channel-service needs and company channel objectives and constraints. The company then identifies the major channel alternatives in terms of the types of intermediaries, the number of intermediaries, and the channel responsibilities of each. No system, no matter how well it has been planned, is without conflict. Managing distribution conflict is a necessity if quality service and low cost are to be delivered.
In today’s global marketplace, selling a product is sometimes easier than getting it to customers. Therefore, physical distribution and logistics management are receiving increased attention from strategic planners. The task of physical distribution systems is to minimize the total cost of providing a desired level of customer services while bringing those services to the customer with the maximum amount of speed.
Be encourage and always be dynamically evolving,