The basic promotional mix consists of advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and PR. When the concept of the promotional mix was first developed, these were the only elements available to marketers, but in the past 40 years more promotional methods have appeared which do not easily fit within these four categories. The promotional mix is like a recipe, in which the ingredients must be added at the right times and in the right quantities for the promotion to be effective. Messages from the company about its products and itself are transmitted via the elements of the promotional mix to the consumers, employees, pressure groups and other publics. Because each of these groups is receiving the messages from more than one transmitter, the elements of the mix also feed into each other so that the messages do not conflict.
The elements of the promotional mix are not interchangeable, any more than ingredients in a recipe are interchangeable; a task that calls for personal selling cannot be carried out by advertising, nor can public relations tasks be carried out by using sales promotions. Promotion is all about getting the message across to the customer (and the consumer) in the most effective way, and the choice of method will depend on the message, the receiver and the desired effect.
A variety of factors should be considered to determine the correct promotion mix in a particular product/market situation. These factors may be classified as product factors, market factors, customer factors, budget factors, marketing mix factors etc.
Development of an optimum promotion mix is by no means easy. Many companies often undermine the roles of advertising, personal selling, and sales promotion in a given product or market situation. Decisions about the promotional mix are often diffused among the decision makers, impeding the formation of a unified promotion strategy.
Recent research conducted by the Strategic Planning Institute for Cahners Publishing Co. identified the following decision rules that can be used in formulating ad budgets. These rules may be helpful in finalizing promotion mix decisions.
Expansion of product market largely depends on the way the product sales are organized. There are many techniques adopted in organizing effective sales. They are departmental stores, supermarkets, mobile sale units, emporia, exhibitions and fun sales. Among these systems, the departmental stores and supermarkets have received considerable attention in towns, urban and semi-urban areas, while the mobile shops and fun sales have induced the buyers in the rural areas. The fun sales are organized in less developed areas through the entertainment program. Such a system is being observed in different Asian countries. In future more flexible methods of sales may appear to cover a larger consumer segments under product market.
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