Influences on Promotion Mix Development
Factors that influence which elements will be used in a promotion mix and their relative emphasis include (l) the marketer, (2) the target market, (3) the product, and (4) the situation.
Marketers can use a push or a pull strategy. A push strategy is a sales-building strategy in which the producer actively promotes its product to intermediaries, which actively promote it to final buyers. For example, the producer promotes the product to wholesalers, the wholesalers promote it to retailers, and the retailers promote it to consumers. (See Figure 15-2.) The producer might sponsor sales contests for company salespeople and dealer contests for wholesalers and retailers as part of the push strategy.
A pull strategy is a sales-building strategy in which the producer focuses promotion efforts directly on the final buyer, rather than on wholesalers or retailers. For a consumer product, the goal is to stimulate consumers to ask retailers for the product, retailers to ask wholesalers for the product, and wholesalers to ask the producer for the product. (See Figure 15-2.)
Marketers often use both push and pull strategies. For example, a cookie producer is using a push strategy when its salespeople encourage supermarkets to give its cookies more shelf space. It might also advertise to consumers a pull strategy.
The Target Market
The target market affects the choice of elements in the promotion mix. If the target is consumers, such nonpersonal forms of promotion as advertising tend to be favored. Personal selling gets more emphasis in promotion mixes targeted to organizational buyers.
The product’s stage in its life cycle also affects the promotion mix. During the introduction stage the basic goal of promotion is to inform. This helps create awareness of and interest in the product. Advertising, sales promotion (free samples and coupons, for example), and publicity help induce trial purchases. Promotion is more persuasive during the growth stage because more rivals are present. Because competition is most intense during the maturity stage, spending on promotion is at its highest level. Of course, marketers reduce promotion in the decline stage.
The promotion mix is also affected by factors in the firm’s environment. Sluggish car sales lead auto makers to use cash rebates, a type of sales promotion. The appearance of new media can affect promotion mixes. To compete with the National Enquirer and other tabloids, Turner Broadcasting System and ActMedia started the Checkout Channel. Small TV sets, above the gum and candy racks in supermarkets, show live, satellite-delivered news programs and ads.2 The widespread use of facsimile machines opened the door for “junk fax.” The discussions that follow focus on the elements of the promotion mix.
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