Promotion is a complex activity, to which most entrepreneurs are not attuned. However, you can begin to understand promotion by realizing that it is based on communication. Promotion is worthless unless it communicates.
Therefore, let us look at how promotional decisions need to be built on a correct understanding of the communication process and the purpose of a company’s product promotion is to stimulate the potential customers into being interested in their product and making a purchase and to encourage old customers to continue to buy the product.
Nature of Promotion
Promotion is the last element in marketing that gave rise to the study of marketing communication that is an application of basic principles of general communication to achieve wider customers, clients, stakeholders as well as interest groups’ common understanding of any pre-conceived idea, opinion, information, thought, feelings, etc. this is also referred to as marketing promotion.
Promotion is the act of making customers aware of a particular product. In a sense, it involves some effort. Promotion and selling can be regarded as synonyms but the two do not connote the same meaning. Promotion is attempting to provide information whereas selling is an act of exchange.
Promotion entails both personal and non-personal selling elements and they are used to familiarize prospective customers with the products being sold or the service being rendered. The non-personal selling elements of promotion include advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and publicity.
They set the stage for personal selling while personal selling is the final step in the promotion effort both personal and non-personal selling is used to accomplish the goal of the promotion program.
Definitions of Promotion
Stanton (1975) described the promotion as an exercise of information, education, persuasion, and influence.
Shumba (1995) defined Promotion as coordinated sellers-initiated efforts to establish channels of information and persuasion to faster the sale of a good or service or the acceptance of an idea or point of view.
Ahmed-ogundipe (2001) described promotion as part of marketing activity as communication with the target market. This is to inform the public of the existence of the company’s products and the likely benefits to be derived from their usage.
Ezumah and Anekeoku (2008) defined promotion as the efforts by a firm to design and disseminate information about its product’s existence, features/terms, and benefits to the target market using different media.
Ebue (2000) suggested that a company’s communication responsibilities do not end with the target customer. He opined that the company must communicate with other parties in its task environment, particularly its dealers and suppliers.
Everyone communicates in some way each day. However, it is important to realize that communication is a process with identifiable components. As shown in the diagram below, every communication involves a source, a message, a channel, and a receiver. The diagram represents a small business communication a company communicating with a customer.
Promotion consists of marketing communications that inform, persuade, and remind consumers of a firm’s total product offering. Small businesses use promotion in varying degrees, with any given firm applying some or all of many promotional tools.
Communications objectives organize and coordinate company resources toward common objectives. They specify the target to be reached, the message to be conveyed, and the response to be expected from the target. They are also useful in determining how the promotion target is to be reached with a message strategy and a media strategy.
Communications objectives serve four main functions:
- They act as the initial step in planning communications strategy and facilitate the accomplishment of all subsequent steps, such as control and evaluation.
- They set the meaning to be conveyed to the promotion target, as well as the number of receivers to be reached.
- They establish expectations and help to ensure the coordination of the communications program with other marketing activities.
- They provide the means for program evaluation.
Some examples of communications objectives might be these:
- To increase awareness of Brand names from 10 percent to 15 percent among middle-income-group.;
- To establish a quality brand image for our product among married men with teenage daughters at home; and
- To secure an increase in package recognition from the present 25 percent to 40 percent among low-income earners e.g. gardeners, and housekeepers.
The Role of Promotion/Communication
The role of promotion/communication is very essential and this will be viewed from a marketer’s perspective. The relative importance of these roles varies according to the circumstance faced by the firm. Promotion/communication serves three roles these are:
It informs (educates) Persuades and Reminds
The Importance of Promotion/Communication
The importance of promotion/communication is as follows:
The importance of marketing communication can be traced from its extent of contribution towards the attainment of overall marketing objectives.
Promotion/communication aims at identifying consumer needs and satisfying the needs at the time place and form desired by the consumers and at an affordable price must be informed, persuaded reminded, and reinforced by using suitable communication appeals that touch felt the need.
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The promotion/communication strategy must be capable of supporting the overall product, distribution, and price strategies.
Marketing promotion/communication is generally accepted as a useful and necessary function because of the following points.
It can be used to communicate wants-satisfying attributes of the products or any special additional services a firm may offer or any reduction in the price of the product.
It can be used in remarketing certain products through tactical withdrawal of the promo tools.
It can be used to keep existing products popular and even reposition their images.
It is used in market segmentation by directing the message to a specific target through a medium that is accessible to the target audience.
An effective promotion/communication plan can increase the market share of the firm It generates interest among the members of the distribution channel.
It is sometimes educative and entertaining
It offers employment opportunities to both media people and advertising agencies as a form of revenue generation.
In summary, the purpose of marketing communication or promotion is to inform prospective customers, client consumers, buyers, and agents about the existence of the product and what problem it can solve by persuading the customers to maintain their brand loyalty or to brand-switch through reinforcing their existing buying behaviour and reduce or eliminate any possible cognitive dissonance and remind them their experience (satisfaction) with the brand.
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