Big ideas for small business managers : Meaningful persuasive advertising and promotion have become

15 June 2015 03:16 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Promotion is the method you use to spread the word about your product or service to customers, stakeholders and the broader public. Once you’ve identified your target market, you’ll have a good idea of the best way to reach them, but most businesses use a mix of advertising, personal selling, referrals, sales promotion and public relations to promote their products or services. Different companies have different expectations from their promotional activities. These expectations are developed into objectives, which then shape the selection and execution of these activities. Some possible objectives of promotion for any company may include:


Build awareness: Sometimes, you may need to create an identity for your product within the market. For the most part, this applies if you are managing a new company, a new brand or a new product. But often it may also be needed in times of rebranding or building up a failing product. The aim then is to select those promotional activities that help you inform your customer about your company and the product.
Create interest: If your customer is already aware of your product or has been made aware through some activities, it becomes necessary to move them along to actual purchase. Creating interest is highly essential because awareness or attention is usually temporary. Unless attention is arrested in the product, sale would not materialise.  



Provide information: Perhaps, you may just need to provide the necessary information regarding the product, its benefits, features or usage to your prospect. Unique features or benefits may need to be explained. In other cases, a new feature on an existing product may need to be highlighted. In some cases, such as in instances where the environmental impact or health scares may be in play, information about a change in business practices and company policy may need to be communicated.



Stimulate demand: If your sales have been lower than usual, then your aim need to be to get them back up to target level by re-engaging old customers and encouraging new ones to try a product out. In other instances, your aim may be to increase sales further at certain times of the year such as near a major holiday. You could use free demonstrations or special deals to reach these ends.



Differentiate product: In situations where there are many competitors in the market, you may seek to use promotional activities to differentiate its product in the market and make it stand out from the crowd. The focus here remains on those features, functionalities or benefits that may not be offered by a competitor or may not be offered so well.



Reinforce the brand: One basic aim of a promotional activity may be to further strengthen the brand and its place in the market. This helps you turn a first time purchaser into a lifetime purchaser. This can also help create advocates for the product from within the customer base.




Major targets 
Any promotional activity is usually designed with a specific target audience in mind. The activity is therefore created using messages, cues and information that they will respond to. Realistically, the major portion of any promotional budget is aimed at this specific targeted audience. 

However, there may be important fringe groups who may have an influence over the intended target or stake in the product. Some of these fringe groups may include:


Actual audience – These are the current customers of the product as well as former customers and any potential new customers. The activity is created for these people specifically.



Influencers – People or organisations that may have their own sphere of influence over the target audience make up this category. If a positive impact is made on these people, they may then use this influence to encourage sales. The media, opinion leaders, trade associations and special interest groups such as architects or engineers are some of these influencers.



Distribution channel members – Your product may be handled and provided to the customer through this channel making them an important category of targets. The retailer may choose to display a certain product in a more prominent position than the others if they believe in the product and its benefits.



Other companies – You can communicate with certain other companies managing allied products or have strong distributer network and seek opening up opportunities to collaborate on joint ventures.



Five elements 
There are five methods that make up a promotional mix. Your company may choose to use one or more of these in harmony to ensure a clear, effective and direct message reach the customer. The selection of the portfolio of activities may depend on the company’s marketing and sales strategies and budget allocations. These five methods are:


Advertising – This mode of promotion is usually paid, with little or no personal message. Mass media such as television, radio or newspapers and magazines is most often the carrier of these messages. Apart from these, billboards, posters, web pages, brochures and direct mail also fall in the same category. While this method has traditionally been one sided, advertisement over new media such as the Internet may allow for quick feedback.



Public relations and sponsorship – PR or publicity tries to increase positive mention of the product or brand in influential media outlets. These could include newspapers, magazines, talk shows and new media such as social networks and blogs. This could also mean allowing super users, or influencers to test the product and speak positively about it to their peers. This type of advertisement may or may not be paid. For example, sponsoring a major event and increasing brand visibility is a paid action. Sending free samples to a few opinion leaders and depend on their discretion and opinion and is not usually swayed by payment.



Personal selling – Opposite of the one directional promotional methods, direct selling connects company representatives with the consumer. These interactions can be in person, over the phone and over email or chat. This personal contact aims to create a personal relationship between the client and the brand or product.



Direct marketing – This channel targets specific influential potential users through telemarketing, customized letters, emails and text messages.



Sales promotions – These are usually short-term strategic activities which aim to encourage a surge in sales. These could be ‘buy one get one free’ options, seasonal discounts, contests, samples or even special coupons with expiration dates.




Planning guidelines for business plan
Evaluate your efforts directed at each market segment or distribution channel based on the following: expenditures, creative strategy, social media and types of promotion or communications unique to your industry.

List functions performed by your company’s (or distributer’s) sales force. Indicate their effect on various market segments. Comment on ‘push strategy’ (through distributors or a ‘pull strategy’ (through end-users).

List key accounts and their levels of performance. Comment on their contributions to long-term growth, sales and profits. Add any comments related to providing special sales activities to retain them. Identify your company’s past and present communication strategies by product and market segment and describe trends in these areas, Identify other support programmes (publicity, educational, professional, trade shows, literature films/videos, social networks) that you have used and evaluate their effectiveness. 

Identify and evaluate competitive trends in the same categories as above. 

(Lionel Wijesiri, a corporate director with over 25 years’ senior managerial experience, can be contacted at lionwije@live.com)
See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

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