Stall Operations Activation Plan in pune city

Established in 2007, Fulcrum is one of the leading brand activation and promotions companies, Stall Operations Activation Plan in pune city and  in india, leading the way in brand activations, promotions, experiential events and field marketing. Our services are offered all over the country, including major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Other Metro City.
We have worked across local and international brands, spanning a multitude of industries, throughout across india. Each year Fulcrum performs in the region of many activations and promotions, and has a database of more than 6 000 brand ambassadors in over 10 locations.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, Brand Activities Professional in pimpri chinchwad. The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimized both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximizing the ROI.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

Non-Traditional Marketing Tactics to Boost Brand Awareness

Using marketing strategies to boost brand awareness means that your business will always be top of mind. However, if you are not having much luck with the more traditional methods, it may be time to explore a few other non-traditional tactics to see if they translate well for your brand. Here are the Tradeway team’s top choices:

Let’s Get Tangible
At the moment, the focus for most marketing experts is to make their presence known online through social media marketing and other digital methods. While this can lead to a lot more brand awareness, nowadays, it is very difficult to stand out. It has all been done before.

“One way in which to really grab your potential customers’ attention is to forego the digital route for a while and to start focusing on how to provide the customer with a more tangible, old-fashioned experience that fits in with your brand and its product offering. Sending them a box of chocolates or a hand-written note can make all the difference when it comes to connecting with them on a more personal level than what online marketing allows for,” comments.

Tell Real Stories
When piecing together a new campaign, stop wondering what to do to stir emotion within your target audience, make them stop and listen, or get a reaction from them… and start telling real stories instead. In doing so, emotion comes built-in and is much more authentic and believable. This is sure to make it easier for your potential customers to connect with your brand.

Play a Bigger Part
Stop using stock images on your Instagram. Stop hiring attractive MCs to host your brand’s events. It is time to start involving yourself and your staff more. By getting involved with your audience directly, and giving them the chance to get to know the brains behind your brand, they are much more likely to feel more connected to you. Be your own brand ambassador and your own brand influencer and your experiential marketing strategies will take off on their own with very little effort. Once again, authenticity is the name of the game!

Would you like assistance when it comes to mastering the art of marketing? Allow the Fulcrum team to lend a hand. Specialising in experiential and field marketing, as well as creative activations, we will have everyone talking about your business in a flash! Contact us today to find out more.

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btl advertising, one2one Experiential marketing, Data Collection Sales, Corporate Campaigns, Pharmaceutical Ethical Marketing, display merchandising, agencies in erandwana

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

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What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

859 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

Brand Activities Customized Training in pune city, Brand Marketing Supplier in pune city, Stall Operations Activation Plan in pune city, Brand Activation agency in Narayan Peth, Brand Activation Services in Shivaji Housing society, Brand Activation consultant in Baner Road,

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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Brand Activities Customized Training in pune city, Brand Marketing Supplier in pune city, Stall Operations Activation Plan in pune city, Brand Activation agency in Narayan Peth, Brand Activation Services in Shivaji Housing society, Brand Activation consultant in Baner Road,

Brand Marketing Supplier in pune city

Brand Activations & Promotions Company

Established in 2007, Fulcrum is one of the leading brand activation and promotions companies, Brand Marketing Supplier in pune city and  in india, leading the way in brand activations, promotions, experiential events and field marketing. Our services are offered all over the country, including major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Other Metro City.
We have worked across local and international brands, spanning a multitude of industries, throughout across india. Each year Fulcrum performs in the region of many activations and promotions, and has a database of more than 6 000 brand ambassadors in over 10 locations.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, Brand Activities Professional in pimpri chinchwad. The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimized both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximizing the ROI.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

 

Costly Mistakes that Could Sink Your Experiential Marketing Event

There’s a lot of planning and money that goes into hosting an experiential marketing event, so it makes sense for business owners to expect to see some pleasing results in exchange for their efforts. Below, we examine 4 different mistakes that you could be making, all of which will cost you the results that you expect and deserve.

Not Paying Attention to the Desires of the Consumer
If you’re simply copying an experiential marketing idea from a competitor or another brand without really thinking about what sort of experiences your unique target market desires, the chances are high that your efforts will fall flat.

“Having an intimate understanding of one’s consumer is the first and most important step when it comes to planning an experiential marketing event or campaign. The experience that you’re going to provide needs to resonate strongly with the right demographic in order to have a lasting effect,”

Not Thinking Holistically
When planning an experiential marketing event, it is imperative that you think about the bigger picture in terms of your other marketing efforts, and your marketing plan as a whole. Do you currently have a campaign on the go? Perhaps your focus has been on promoting a new product or special? You need to think holistically and make sure that your event ties in with everything else in order to really make the most of your budget.

Not Providing Enough Opportunity for the Audience to Get Involved
Remember, the whole point of hosting an experiential marketing event is to make it possible for the guests to interact with your brand and your team. While talks, workshops and motivational speeches all have their place, you also need to make sure that you allow for plenty of interaction in other ways. According to research, the best techniques include giving away free samples and involving guests directly in demonstrations.

Not Making Use of Influencers
Utilising relevant influencers via social media is a wonderful way in which to promote your upcoming event.

“While it may cost a little initially, the pay-out at the event will be well worth it. Influencers who are well-known by those who would be interested in your brand and what it has to offer can help you to double your turn-out, and then some!” says Michelle.

Would you like some assistance when it comes to your company’s experiential marketing efforts? You can always rely on the field marketing, experiential marketing and activations experts at Fulcrum. For more information about us and what we do, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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one2one Experiential marketing, Data Collection Sales, Corporate Campaigns, Pharmaceutical Ethical Marketing, display merchandising, agencies in erandwana

Brand Activations  in pune ,  Promotions Company in pune, 

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

859 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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Every business owner knows that in order for a business to be successful, all internal strategies need to communicate the same message, represent the brand in the same way and tie in with each other seamlessly. With this in mind, many wonder how to go about integrating experiential marketing in their much larger business strategy, and how to demonstrate that the budget going into experiential marketing is, in fact, paying off in the long run? We have some advice to share below.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimised both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximising the ROI.

The mission of the organisation is to consistently exceed client’s expectations. We aim to explore new markets and industries, and to develop innovative ways of yielding the best results for them. Because of our passion and skill, we are able to represent any type of client, selling any type of product or service. Our adaptability and ability to think ‘out of the box’ has allowed us to yield outstanding results, assisting clients in achieving their Sales and Marketing objectives. As part of our goal, we focus on creating efficient and sustainable business opportunities.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, . The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

How Understanding Your Customer’s Emotional Needs Will Aid Your Experiential

So many business owners focus on giving customers and potential customers what they want when it comes to experiential marketing campaigns. While this is great, they are likely to get a lot more out of their efforts if they start focusing on catering to their needs instead. Not only day-to-day needs but emotional needs, too. There are four core human emotional needs that marketers can tap into, helping to build a sense of brand loyalty within their consumers. We take a look at three of them below.

Belonging
Humans have a natural desire to ‘fit in’. They have a need to be considered a part of a group. They have a need to know that there are others just like them. This stems from the most common human fear, namely the fear of being alone.

“Marketers can use this need to their advantage by doing things that bring people together. Not only in a physical sense, but uniting them, along with the brand, with the help of a big idea that people can happily get behind. Creating a sense of community with their brand at the forefront is one of the easiest ways in which to generate loyalty and build connections with potential customers. A good example is a company that produces LED lighting taking a stance when it comes to greener living, and getting their customer base to be just as passionate about the movement as they are – as a collective, as a community.”

Identity
We all know that humans are complex creatures. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that another emotional need is to be unique. We all crave to belong; however, we want to belong without completely losing our special sense of self. We want to be able to differentiate ourselves from our groups without standing out too much.

“Here, marketers can strive to do everything in their power to make their customers feel special. Experiential marketing strategies that focus more on providing personalised experiences work well in this regard,” says .

Release
Arguably the most important emotional need these days, especially considering the fast-paced routines that the vast majority of us lead, is that of release: being able to escape from the norm that we are used to and delving into something different that we do not do every day.

“In terms of experiential marketing, providing the consumer with a sense of release should be a priority anyway. The key here is to get creative when it comes to the type of experience you are offering them. Don’t be afraid to do something completely out of the ordinary!”

Would you like to hire an experiential and field marketing company to assist you in tailoring your marketing efforts according to the emotional needs of your target audience? If so, be sure to get in touch with the team at Fulcrum

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5.5 Strategy as Trade-Offs, Discipline, and Focus

5.5 Strategy as Trade-Offs, Discipline, and Focus

 

Learning Objectives

Understand the nature of strategic focus.

Strategy as trade-offs (Porter).

Strategy as discipline (Treacy and Wiersema).

This section helps you understand that a strategy provides a company with focus. Strategy is ultimately about choice—what the organization does and does not do. As we’ve seen, vision and mission provide a good sense of direction for the organization, but they are not meant to serve as, or take the place of, the actual strategy. Strategy is about choices, and that eventually means making trade-offs such that the strategy and the firm are distinctive in the eyes of stakeholders. In this section, you will learn about strategic focus—that is, how trade-offs are reconciled—as well as two frameworks for thinking about what such focus might entail.

What Is Strategic Focus?

While there are different schools of thought about how strategy comes about, researchers generally agree that strategic focus is a common characteristic across successful organizations. Strategic focus is seen when an organization is very clear about its mission and vision and has a coherent, well-articulated strategy for achieving those. When a once high-flying firm encounters performance problems, it is not uncommon to hear business analysts say that the firm’s managers have lost focus on the customers or markets where they were once highly successful. For instance, Dell Computer’s strategy is highly focused around the efficient sale and manufacture of computers and computer peripheral devices. However, during the mid-2000s, Dell started branching out into other products such as digital cameras, DVD players, and flat-screen televisions. As a result, it lost focus on its core sales and manufacturing business, and its performance flagged. As recently as mid-2008, however, Dell has realized a tremendous turnaround: “We are executing on all points of our strategy to drive growth in every product category and in every part of the world,” said a press release from Michael Dell, chairman and CEO. “These results are early signs of our progress against our five strategic priorities. Through a continued focus, we expect to continue growing faster than the industry and increase our revenue, profitability and cash flow for greater shareholder value (Dell, 2008).”

Dell provides an excellent example of what is meant by strategic focus. This spirit of focus is echoed in the following two parts of this section where we introduce you to the complementary notions of strategy as trade-offs and strategy as discipline.

Strategy as Trade-Offs

Three of the most widely read books on competitive analysis in the 1980s were Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, and Competitive Advantage of Nations(Porter, 1985; Porter, 1989; Porter, 2001). In his various books, Porter developed three generic strategies that, he argues, can be used singly or in combination to create a defendable position and to outperform competitors, whether they are within an industry or across nations. The strategies are (1) overall cost leadership, (2) differentiation, and (3) focus on a particular market niche.

Cost Leadership, Differentiation, and Scope

These strategies are termed generic because they can be applied to any size or form of business. We refer to them as trade-off strategies because Porter argues that a firm must choose to embrace one strategy or risk not having a strategy at all. Overall lower cost or cost leadershiprefers to the strategy where a firm’s competitive advantage is based on the bet that it can develop, manufacture, and distribute products more efficiently than competitors. Differentiationrefers to the strategy where competitive advantage is based on superior products or service. Superiority arises from factors other than low cost, such as customer service, product quality, or unique style. To put these strategies into context, you might think about Wal-Mart as pursuing a cost-leadership strategy and Harley Davidson as pursuing a differentiation strategy.

Porter suggests that another factor affecting a company’s competitive position is its competitive scope. Competitive scope defines the breadth of a company’s target market. A company can have a broad (mass market) competitive scope or a narrow (niche market) competitive scope. A firm following the focus strategy concentrates on meeting the specialized needs of its customers. Products and services can be designed to meet the needs of buyers. One approach to focusing is to service either industrial buyers or consumers but not both. Martin-Brower, the third-largest food distributor in the United States, serves only the eight leading fast-food chains. It is the world’s largest distributor of products to the world’s largest restaurant company—McDonald’s. With its limited customer list, Martin-Brower need only stock a limited product line; its ordering procedures are adjusted to match those of its customers; and its warehouses are located so as to be convenient to customers.

Firms using a narrow focus strategy can also tailor advertising and promotional efforts to a particular market niche. Many automobile dealers advertise that they are the largest volume dealer for a specific geographic area. Other car dealers advertise that they have the highest customer satisfaction scores within their defined market or the most awards for their service department.

Another differentiation strategy is to design products specifically for a customer. Such customization may range from individually designing a product for a single customer to offering a menu from which customers can select options for the finished product. Tailor-made clothing and custom-built houses include the customer in all aspects of production, from product design to final acceptance, and involve customer input in all key decisions. However, providing such individualized attention to customers may not be feasible for firms with an industry-wide orientation. At the other end of the customization scale, customers buying a new car, even in the budget price category, can often choose not only the exterior and interior colors but also accessories such as CD players, rooftop racks, and upgraded tires.

By positioning itself in either broad scope or narrow scope and a low-cost strategy or differentiation strategy, an organization will fall into one of the following generic competitive strategies: cost leadership, cost focus, differentiation, and focused differentiation.

Cost Leadership/Low Cost

Cost leadership is a low-cost, broad-based market strategy. Firms pursuing this type of strategy must be particularly efficient in engineering tasks, production operations, and physical distribution. Because these firms focus on a large market, they must also be able to minimize costs in marketing and research and development (R&D). A low-cost leader can gain significant market share enabling it to procure a more powerful position relative to both suppliers and competitors. This strategy is particularly effective for organizations in industries where there is limited possibility of product differentiation and where buyers are very price sensitive.

Overall cost leadership is not without potential problems. Two or more firms competing for cost leadership may engage in price wars that drive profits to very low levels. Ideally, a firm using a cost-leader strategy will develop an advantage that others cannot easily copy. Cost leaders also must maintain their investment in state-of-the-art equipment or face the possible entry of more cost-effective competitors. Major changes in technology may drastically change production processes so that previous investments in production technology are no longer advantageous. Finally, firms may become so concerned with maintaining low costs that they overlook needed changes in production or marketing.

The cost-leadership strategy may be more difficult in a dynamic environment because some of the expenses that firms may seek to minimize are research and development costs or marketing research costs—expenses the firm may need to incur to remain competitive.

Focused Low-Cost

A cost-focus strategy is a low-cost, narrowly focused market strategy. Firms employing this strategy may focus on a particular buyer segment or a particular geographic segment and must locate a niche market that wants or needs an efficient product and is willing to forgo extras to pay a lower price for the product. A company’s costs can be reduced by providing little or no service, providing a low-cost method of distribution, or producing a no-frills product.

Differentiation

A differentiation strategy involves marketing a unique product to a broad-based market. Because this type of strategy involves a unique product, price is not the significant factor. In fact, consumers may be willing to pay a high price for a product that they perceive as different. The product difference may be based on product design, method of distribution, or any aspect of the product (other than price) that is significant to a broad group of consumers. A company choosing this strategy must develop and maintain a product perceived as different enough from the competitors’ products to warrant the asking price.

Several studies have shown that a differentiation strategy is more likely to generate higher profits than a cost-leadership strategy, because differentiation creates stronger entry barriers. However, a cost-leadership strategy is more likely to generate increases in market share.

Focused Differentiation

A differentiation-focus strategy is the marketing of a differentiated product to a narrow market, often involving a unique product and a unique market. This strategy is viable for a company that can convince consumers that its narrow focus allows it to provide better goods and services than its competitors.

Differentiation does not allow a firm to ignore costs; it makes a firm’s products less susceptible to cost pressures from competitors because customers see the product as unique and are willing to pay extra to have the product with the desirable features. Differentiation can be achieved through real product features or through advertising that causes the customer to perceive that the product is unique.

Differentiation may lead to customer brand loyalty and result in reduced price elasticity. Differentiation may also lead to higher profit margins and reduce the need to be a low-cost producer. Since customers see the product as different from competing products and they like the product features, customers are willing to pay a premium for these features. As long as the firm can increase the selling price by more than the marginal cost of adding the features, the profit margin is increased. Firms must be able to charge more for their differentiated product than it costs them to make it distinct, or else they may be better off making generic, undifferentiated products. Firms must remain sensitive to cost differences. They must carefully monitor the incremental costs of differentiating their product and make certain the difference is reflected in the price.

Firms pursuing a differentiation strategy are vulnerable to different competitive threats than firms pursuing a cost-leader strategy. Customers may sacrifice features, service, or image for cost savings. Price-sensitive customers may be willing to forgo desirable features in favor of a less costly alternative. This can be seen in the growth in popularity of store brands and private labels. Often, the same firms that produce name-brand products produce the private-label products. The two products may be physically identical, but stores are able to sell the private-label products for a lower price because very little money was put into advertising to differentiate the private-label product.

Imitation may also reduce the perceived differences between products when competitors copy product features. Thus, for firms to be able to recover the cost of marketing research or R&D, they may need to add a product feature that is not easily copied by a competitor.

A final risk for firms pursuing a differentiation strategy is changing consumer tastes. The feature that customers like and find attractive about a product this year may not make the product popular next year. Changes in customer tastes are especially obvious in the fashion industry. For example, although Ralph Lauren’s Polo has been a very successful brand of apparel, some younger consumers have shifted to Tommy Hilfiger and other youth-oriented brands.

For a variety of reasons, including the differences between intended versus realized strategies discussed in an earlier section, none of these competitive strategies is guaranteed to achieve success. Some companies that have successfully implemented one of Porter’s generic strategies have found that they could not sustain the strategy. Several risks associated with these strategies are based on evolved market conditions (buyer perceptions, competitors, etc.).

Straddling Positions or Stuck in the Middle?

Can forms of competitive advantage be combined? That is, can a firm straddle strategies so that it is simultaneously the low-cost leader and a differentiator? Porter asserts that a successful strategy requires a firm to stake out a market position aggressively and that different strategies involve distinctly different approaches to competing and operating the business. Some research suggests that straddling strategies is a recipe for below-average profitability compared to the industry. Porter also argues that straddling strategies is an indication that the firm’s managers have not made necessary choices about the business and its strategy. A straddling strategy may be especially dangerous for narrow scope firms that have been successful in the past, but then start neglecting their focus.

An organization pursuing a differentiation strategy seeks competitive advantage by offering products or services that are unique from those offered by rivals, either through design, brand image, technology, features, or customer service. Alternatively, an organization pursuing a cost-leadership strategy attempts to gain competitive advantage based on being the overall low-cost provider of a product or service. To be “all things to all people” can mean becoming “stuck in the middle” with no distinct competitive advantage. The difference between being “stuck in the middle” and successfully pursuing combination strategies merits discussion. Although Porter describes the dangers of not being successful in either cost control or differentiation, some firms have been able to succeed using combination strategies.

Research suggests that, in some cases, it is possible to be a cost leader while maintaining a differentiated product. Southwest Airlines has combined cost-cutting measures with differentiation. The company has been able to reduce costs by not assigning seating and by eliminating meals on its planes. It has also been able to promote in its advertising that its fares are so low that checked bags fly free, in contrast to the fees that competitors such as American and United charge for checked luggage. Southwest’s consistent low-fare strategy has attracted a significant number of passengers, allowing the airline to succeed.

Another firm that has pursued an effective combination strategy is Nike. You may think that Nike has always been highly successful, but it has actually weathered some pretty aggressive competitive assaults. For instance, when customer preferences moved to wide-legged jeans and cargo pants, Nike’s market share slipped. Competitors such as Adidas offered less expensive shoes and undercut Nike’s price. Nike’s stock price dropped in 1998 to half its 1997 high. However, Nike achieved a turnaround by cutting costs and developing new, distinctive products. Nike reduced costs by cutting some of its endorsements. Company research suggested the endorsement by the Italian soccer team, for example, was not achieving the desired results. Michael Jordan and a few other “big name” endorsers were retained while others, such as the Italian soccer team, were eliminated, resulting in savings estimated at over $100 million. Laying off 7% of its 22,000 employees allowed the company to lower costs by another $200 million, and inventory was reduced to save additional money. As a result of these moves, Nike reported a 70% increase in earnings for the first quarter of 1999 and saw a significant rebound in its stock price. While cutting costs, the firm also introduced new products designed to differentiate Nike’s products from the competition.

Some industry environments may actually call for combination strategies. Trends suggest that executives operating in highly complex environments, such as health care, do not have the luxury of choosing exclusively one strategy over another. The hospital industry may represent such an environment, as hospitals must compete on a variety of fronts. Combination (i.e., more complicated) strategies are both feasible and necessary to compete successfully. For instance, reimbursement to diagnosis-related groups, and the continual lowering of reimbursement ceilings have forced hospitals to compete on the basis of cost. At the same time, many of them jockey for position with differentiation based on such features as technology and birthing rooms. Thus, many hospitals may need to adopt some form of hybrid strategy to compete successfully (Walters & Bhuian, 2004).

Strategy as Discipline

While Michael Porter’s generic strategies were introduced in the 1980s and still dominate much of the dialogue about strategy and strategizing, a complementary approach was offered more recently by CSC Index consultants Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. Their value disciplines model is quite similar to the three generic strategies from Porter (cost leadership, differentiation, focus). However, there is at least one major difference. According to the value disciplines model, no discipline may be neglected: threshold levels on the two disciplines that are not selected must be maintained. According to Porter, companies that act like this run a risk of getting “stuck in the middle.”

In their book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, they offered four rules that competing companies must obey with regard to strategy formulation (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997):

Provide the best offer in the marketplace, by excelling in one specific dimension of value.Market leaders first develop a value proposition, one that is compelling and unmatched.

Maintain threshold standards on other dimensions of value. You can’t allow performance in other dimensions to slip so much that it impairs the attractiveness of your company’s unmatched value.

Dominate your market by improving the value year after year. When a company focuses all its assets, energies, and attention on delivering and improving one type of customer value, it can nearly always deliver better performance in that dimension than another company that divides its attention among more than one.

Build a well-tuned operating model dedicated to delivering unmatched value. In a competitive marketplace, the customer value must be improved. This is the imperative of the market leader. The operating model is the key to raising and resetting customer expectation.

What Are Value Disciplines?

Operational Excellence

The case study that their book uses to illustrate the “operational excellence” value discipline is AT&T’s experience in introducing the Universal Card, a combined long-distance calling card and general purpose credit card, featuring low annual fees and customer-friendly service.

Key characteristics of the strategy are superb operations and execution, often by providing a reasonable quality at a very low price, and task-oriented vision toward personnel. The focus is on efficiency, streamlined operations, supply chain management, no frills, and volume. Most large international corporations are operating according to this discipline. Measuring systems are important, as is extremely limited variation in product assortment.

Product Leadership

Firms that do this strategy well are very strong in innovation and brand marketing. Organization leaders demonstrate a recognition that the company’s current success and future prospects lie in its talented product design people and those who support them. The company operates in dynamic markets. The focus is on development, innovation, design, time to market, and high margins in a short time frame. Company cultures are flexible to encourage innovation. Structure also encourages innovation through small ad hoc working groups, an “experimentation is good” mind-set, and compensation systems that reward success. Intel, the leading computer chip company, is a great example of a firm pursuing a successful product leadership strategy.

Firms that do this strategy well are very strong in innovation and brand marketing. Organization leaders demonstrate a recognition that the company’s current success and future prospects lie in its talented product design people and those who support them. The company operates in dynamic markets. The focus is on development, innovation, design, time to market, and high margins in a short time frame. Company cultures are flexible to encourage innovation. Structure also encourages innovation through small ad hoc working groups, an “experimentation is good” mind-set, and compensation systems that reward success. Intel, the leading computer chip company, is a great example of a firm pursuing a successful product leadership strategy.

Customer Intimacy

Companies pursuing this strategy excel in customer attention and customer service. They tailor their products and services to individual or almost individual customers. There is large variation in product assortment. The focus is on: customer relationship management (CRM), deliver products and services on time and above customer expectations, lifetime value concepts, reliability, being close to the customer. Decision authority is given to employees who are close to the customer. The operating principles of this value discipline include having a full range of services available to serve customers upon demand—this may involve running what the authors call a “hollow company,” where a variety of goods or services are available quickly through contract arrangements, rather than the supplier business having everything in stock all the time.

The recent partnership between Airborne Express, IBM, and Xerox is a great example of an effective customer intimacy strategy. Airborne also provides centralized control to IBM and Xerox part-distribution networks. Airborne provides Xerox and IBM with a central source of shipment data and performance metrics. The air-express carrier also manages a single, same-day delivery contract for both companies. In addition, Airborne now examines same-day or special-delivery requirements and recommends a lower-priced alternative where appropriate (Logistic Management, 2008).

Only One Discipline

Treacy and Wiersema maintain that, because of the focus of management time and resources that is required, a firm can realistically choose only one of these three value disciplines in which to specialize. This logic is similar to Porter’s in that firms that mix different strategies run the risk of being “stuck in the middle.” Most companies, in fact, do not specialize in any of the three, and thus they realize only mediocre or average levels of achievement in each area.

The companies that do not make the hard choices associated with focus are in no sense market leaders. In today’s business environment of increased competition and the need more than ever before for competitive differentiation, their complacency will not lead to increased market share, sales, or profits.

“When we look at these managers’ businesses [complacent firms], we invariably find companies that don’t excel, but are merely mediocre on the three disciplines…What they haven’t done is create a breakthrough on any one dimension to reach new heights of performance. They have not traveled past operational competence to reach operational excellence, past customer responsiveness to achieve customer intimacy, or beyond product differentiation to establish product leadership. To these managers we say that if you decide to play an average game, to dabble in all areas, don’t expect to become a market leader (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997).”

Within the context of redesigning the operating model of a company to focus on a particular value discipline, Treacy and Wiersema discuss creating what they call “the cult of the customer.” This is a mind-set that is oriented toward putting the customer’s needs as a key priority throughout the company, at all levels. They also review some of the challenges involved in sustaining market leadership once it is attained (i.e., avoiding the natural complacency that tends to creep into an operation once dominance of the market is achieved).

Key Takeaway

Strategic focus seems to be a common element in the strategies across successful firms. Two prevalent views of strategy where focus is a key component are strategy as trade-offs and strategy as discipline. Michael Porter identifies three flavors of strategy: (1) cost leadership, (2) differentiation, or (3) focus of cost leadership or differentiation on a particular market niche. Firms can straddle these strategies, but such straddling is likely to dilute strategic focus. Strategy also provides discipline. Treacy and Wiersema’s three strategic disciplines are (1) operational excellence, (2) product leadership, and (3) customer intimacy.

Exercises

What is strategic focus and why is it important?

What are Porter’s three generic strategies?

Can a firm simultaneously pursue a low-cost and a differentiation strategy?

What are the three value disciplines?

What four rules underlie the three value disciplines?

How do Porter’s generic strategies differ from, and relate to, the Treacy and Wiersema approaches?

References

Dell increases revenue and earnings, lowers operating expenses. (2008, May 28). Dell press release. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/pressoffice/en/2008/2008_05_29_rr_000?c=us&l=en’s=corp.

Logistic Management, retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/CA145552.html.

Porter, M. (1985). Competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance. New York: Free Press.

Porter, M. (1989). Competitive advantage of nations. New York: Free Press. Porter, M. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and companies. New York: Free Press, 1980.

Porter, M. (2001, March). Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review, pp. 63–78, Retrospective on Michael Porter’s Competitive strategy. (2002). Academy of Management Executive 16(2), 40–65.

Treacy, M., & Wiersema, F. (1997). The discipline of market leaders: Choose your customers, narrow your focus, dominate your market. Reading, M Addison-Wesley.

Walters, B. A., & Bhuian, S. (2004). Complexity absorption and performance: A structural analysis of acute-care hospitals. Journal of Management, 30, 97–121.

 

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

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859 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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The mission of the organisation is to consistently exceed client’s expectations. We aim to explore new markets and industries, and to develop innovative ways of yielding the best results for them. Because of our passion and skill, we are able to represent any type of client, selling any type of product or service. Our adaptability and ability to think ‘out of the box’ has allowed us to yield outstanding results, assisting clients in achieving their Sales and Marketing objectives. As part of our goal, we focus on creating efficient and sustainable business opportunities.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

 

Integrating Experiential Marketing into Your Business Strategy

Every business owner knows that in order for a business to be successful, all internal strategies need to communicate the same message, represent the brand in the same way and tie in with each other seamlessly. With this in mind, many wonder how to go about integrating experiential marketing in their much larger business strategy, and how to demonstrate that the budget going into experiential marketing is, in fact, paying off in the long run? We have some advice to share below.

Identifying the Return
Seeing as though experiential marketing is all about providing customers and potential customers with memorable experiences in the hopes of building brand loyalty leading to a return further down the line, it can seem impossible to prove whether or not this type of marketing is working for your business, as there is seldom a direct link between these strategies and an increase in your bottom line. The good news is that there is a way in which to track the progress of your experiential marketing campaigns.

“The simple solution is to incorporate the latest data collecting technology into your experiential marketing strategies and events. Things like RFID wristbands or even simple questionnaires on a tablet can help you to collect information on those taking part in your events… and track them as they move through the buyer’s journey over time.”

Planning Quality Experiential Marketing Events

However, in order to get the above right, you need to make sure that you plan successful experiential marketing events. If people are not drawn in to partake in your experiential marketing activities, they probably will not be too keen to provide you with their details either.

“The key to planning a successful event lies in not losing sight of your company’s bigger objectives. While customer experience is of the utmost importance, if you do not communicate the brand’s bigger message and work towards achieving the company’s larger goals, the experience that you have provided won’t amount to much in the long run,

Seeing as though experiential marketing requires solid planning and strategic execution, especially when it comes to ensuring that it fits in with the company’s larger business strategy; it pays to enlist the services and expertise of the professionals from an experiential and field marketing company. Contact the Fulcrum team today to learn how we can help you.

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5.5 Strategy as Trade-Offs, Discipline, and Focus

5.5 Strategy as Trade-Offs, Discipline, and Focus

 

Learning Objectives

Understand the nature of strategic focus.

Strategy as trade-offs (Porter).

Strategy as discipline (Treacy and Wiersema).

This section helps you understand that a strategy provides a company with focus. Strategy is ultimately about choice—what the organization does and does not do. As we’ve seen, vision and mission provide a good sense of direction for the organization, but they are not meant to serve as, or take the place of, the actual strategy. Strategy is about choices, and that eventually means making trade-offs such that the strategy and the firm are distinctive in the eyes of stakeholders. In this section, you will learn about strategic focus—that is, how trade-offs are reconciled—as well as two frameworks for thinking about what such focus might entail.

What Is Strategic Focus?

While there are different schools of thought about how strategy comes about, researchers generally agree that strategic focus is a common characteristic across successful organizations. Strategic focus is seen when an organization is very clear about its mission and vision and has a coherent, well-articulated strategy for achieving those. When a once high-flying firm encounters performance problems, it is not uncommon to hear business analysts say that the firm’s managers have lost focus on the customers or markets where they were once highly successful. For instance, Dell Computer’s strategy is highly focused around the efficient sale and manufacture of computers and computer peripheral devices. However, during the mid-2000s, Dell started branching out into other products such as digital cameras, DVD players, and flat-screen televisions. As a result, it lost focus on its core sales and manufacturing business, and its performance flagged. As recently as mid-2008, however, Dell has realized a tremendous turnaround: “We are executing on all points of our strategy to drive growth in every product category and in every part of the world,” said a press release from Michael Dell, chairman and CEO. “These results are early signs of our progress against our five strategic priorities. Through a continued focus, we expect to continue growing faster than the industry and increase our revenue, profitability and cash flow for greater shareholder value (Dell, 2008).”

Dell provides an excellent example of what is meant by strategic focus. This spirit of focus is echoed in the following two parts of this section where we introduce you to the complementary notions of strategy as trade-offs and strategy as discipline.

Strategy as Trade-Offs

Three of the most widely read books on competitive analysis in the 1980s were Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, and Competitive Advantage of Nations(Porter, 1985; Porter, 1989; Porter, 2001). In his various books, Porter developed three generic strategies that, he argues, can be used singly or in combination to create a defendable position and to outperform competitors, whether they are within an industry or across nations. The strategies are (1) overall cost leadership, (2) differentiation, and (3) focus on a particular market niche.

Cost Leadership, Differentiation, and Scope

These strategies are termed generic because they can be applied to any size or form of business. We refer to them as trade-off strategies because Porter argues that a firm must choose to embrace one strategy or risk not having a strategy at all. Overall lower cost or cost leadershiprefers to the strategy where a firm’s competitive advantage is based on the bet that it can develop, manufacture, and distribute products more efficiently than competitors. Differentiationrefers to the strategy where competitive advantage is based on superior products or service. Superiority arises from factors other than low cost, such as customer service, product quality, or unique style. To put these strategies into context, you might think about Wal-Mart as pursuing a cost-leadership strategy and Harley Davidson as pursuing a differentiation strategy.

Porter suggests that another factor affecting a company’s competitive position is its competitive scope. Competitive scope defines the breadth of a company’s target market. A company can have a broad (mass market) competitive scope or a narrow (niche market) competitive scope. A firm following the focus strategy concentrates on meeting the specialized needs of its customers. Products and services can be designed to meet the needs of buyers. One approach to focusing is to service either industrial buyers or consumers but not both. Martin-Brower, the third-largest food distributor in the United States, serves only the eight leading fast-food chains. It is the world’s largest distributor of products to the world’s largest restaurant company—McDonald’s. With its limited customer list, Martin-Brower need only stock a limited product line; its ordering procedures are adjusted to match those of its customers; and its warehouses are located so as to be convenient to customers.

Firms using a narrow focus strategy can also tailor advertising and promotional efforts to a particular market niche. Many automobile dealers advertise that they are the largest volume dealer for a specific geographic area. Other car dealers advertise that they have the highest customer satisfaction scores within their defined market or the most awards for their service department.

Another differentiation strategy is to design products specifically for a customer. Such customization may range from individually designing a product for a single customer to offering a menu from which customers can select options for the finished product. Tailor-made clothing and custom-built houses include the customer in all aspects of production, from product design to final acceptance, and involve customer input in all key decisions. However, providing such individualized attention to customers may not be feasible for firms with an industry-wide orientation. At the other end of the customization scale, customers buying a new car, even in the budget price category, can often choose not only the exterior and interior colors but also accessories such as CD players, rooftop racks, and upgraded tires.

By positioning itself in either broad scope or narrow scope and a low-cost strategy or differentiation strategy, an organization will fall into one of the following generic competitive strategies: cost leadership, cost focus, differentiation, and focused differentiation.

Cost Leadership/Low Cost

Cost leadership is a low-cost, broad-based market strategy. Firms pursuing this type of strategy must be particularly efficient in engineering tasks, production operations, and physical distribution. Because these firms focus on a large market, they must also be able to minimize costs in marketing and research and development (R&D). A low-cost leader can gain significant market share enabling it to procure a more powerful position relative to both suppliers and competitors. This strategy is particularly effective for organizations in industries where there is limited possibility of product differentiation and where buyers are very price sensitive.

Overall cost leadership is not without potential problems. Two or more firms competing for cost leadership may engage in price wars that drive profits to very low levels. Ideally, a firm using a cost-leader strategy will develop an advantage that others cannot easily copy. Cost leaders also must maintain their investment in state-of-the-art equipment or face the possible entry of more cost-effective competitors. Major changes in technology may drastically change production processes so that previous investments in production technology are no longer advantageous. Finally, firms may become so concerned with maintaining low costs that they overlook needed changes in production or marketing.

The cost-leadership strategy may be more difficult in a dynamic environment because some of the expenses that firms may seek to minimize are research and development costs or marketing research costs—expenses the firm may need to incur to remain competitive.

Focused Low-Cost

A cost-focus strategy is a low-cost, narrowly focused market strategy. Firms employing this strategy may focus on a particular buyer segment or a particular geographic segment and must locate a niche market that wants or needs an efficient product and is willing to forgo extras to pay a lower price for the product. A company’s costs can be reduced by providing little or no service, providing a low-cost method of distribution, or producing a no-frills product.

Differentiation

A differentiation strategy involves marketing a unique product to a broad-based market. Because this type of strategy involves a unique product, price is not the significant factor. In fact, consumers may be willing to pay a high price for a product that they perceive as different. The product difference may be based on product design, method of distribution, or any aspect of the product (other than price) that is significant to a broad group of consumers. A company choosing this strategy must develop and maintain a product perceived as different enough from the competitors’ products to warrant the asking price.

Several studies have shown that a differentiation strategy is more likely to generate higher profits than a cost-leadership strategy, because differentiation creates stronger entry barriers. However, a cost-leadership strategy is more likely to generate increases in market share.

Focused Differentiation

A differentiation-focus strategy is the marketing of a differentiated product to a narrow market, often involving a unique product and a unique market. This strategy is viable for a company that can convince consumers that its narrow focus allows it to provide better goods and services than its competitors.

Differentiation does not allow a firm to ignore costs; it makes a firm’s products less susceptible to cost pressures from competitors because customers see the product as unique and are willing to pay extra to have the product with the desirable features. Differentiation can be achieved through real product features or through advertising that causes the customer to perceive that the product is unique.

Differentiation may lead to customer brand loyalty and result in reduced price elasticity. Differentiation may also lead to higher profit margins and reduce the need to be a low-cost producer. Since customers see the product as different from competing products and they like the product features, customers are willing to pay a premium for these features. As long as the firm can increase the selling price by more than the marginal cost of adding the features, the profit margin is increased. Firms must be able to charge more for their differentiated product than it costs them to make it distinct, or else they may be better off making generic, undifferentiated products. Firms must remain sensitive to cost differences. They must carefully monitor the incremental costs of differentiating their product and make certain the difference is reflected in the price.

Firms pursuing a differentiation strategy are vulnerable to different competitive threats than firms pursuing a cost-leader strategy. Customers may sacrifice features, service, or image for cost savings. Price-sensitive customers may be willing to forgo desirable features in favor of a less costly alternative. This can be seen in the growth in popularity of store brands and private labels. Often, the same firms that produce name-brand products produce the private-label products. The two products may be physically identical, but stores are able to sell the private-label products for a lower price because very little money was put into advertising to differentiate the private-label product.

Imitation may also reduce the perceived differences between products when competitors copy product features. Thus, for firms to be able to recover the cost of marketing research or R&D, they may need to add a product feature that is not easily copied by a competitor.

A final risk for firms pursuing a differentiation strategy is changing consumer tastes. The feature that customers like and find attractive about a product this year may not make the product popular next year. Changes in customer tastes are especially obvious in the fashion industry. For example, although Ralph Lauren’s Polo has been a very successful brand of apparel, some younger consumers have shifted to Tommy Hilfiger and other youth-oriented brands.

For a variety of reasons, including the differences between intended versus realized strategies discussed in an earlier section, none of these competitive strategies is guaranteed to achieve success. Some companies that have successfully implemented one of Porter’s generic strategies have found that they could not sustain the strategy. Several risks associated with these strategies are based on evolved market conditions (buyer perceptions, competitors, etc.).

Straddling Positions or Stuck in the Middle?

Can forms of competitive advantage be combined? That is, can a firm straddle strategies so that it is simultaneously the low-cost leader and a differentiator? Porter asserts that a successful strategy requires a firm to stake out a market position aggressively and that different strategies involve distinctly different approaches to competing and operating the business. Some research suggests that straddling strategies is a recipe for below-average profitability compared to the industry. Porter also argues that straddling strategies is an indication that the firm’s managers have not made necessary choices about the business and its strategy. A straddling strategy may be especially dangerous for narrow scope firms that have been successful in the past, but then start neglecting their focus.

An organization pursuing a differentiation strategy seeks competitive advantage by offering products or services that are unique from those offered by rivals, either through design, brand image, technology, features, or customer service. Alternatively, an organization pursuing a cost-leadership strategy attempts to gain competitive advantage based on being the overall low-cost provider of a product or service. To be “all things to all people” can mean becoming “stuck in the middle” with no distinct competitive advantage. The difference between being “stuck in the middle” and successfully pursuing combination strategies merits discussion. Although Porter describes the dangers of not being successful in either cost control or differentiation, some firms have been able to succeed using combination strategies.

Research suggests that, in some cases, it is possible to be a cost leader while maintaining a differentiated product. Southwest Airlines has combined cost-cutting measures with differentiation. The company has been able to reduce costs by not assigning seating and by eliminating meals on its planes. It has also been able to promote in its advertising that its fares are so low that checked bags fly free, in contrast to the fees that competitors such as American and United charge for checked luggage. Southwest’s consistent low-fare strategy has attracted a significant number of passengers, allowing the airline to succeed.

Another firm that has pursued an effective combination strategy is Nike. You may think that Nike has always been highly successful, but it has actually weathered some pretty aggressive competitive assaults. For instance, when customer preferences moved to wide-legged jeans and cargo pants, Nike’s market share slipped. Competitors such as Adidas offered less expensive shoes and undercut Nike’s price. Nike’s stock price dropped in 1998 to half its 1997 high. However, Nike achieved a turnaround by cutting costs and developing new, distinctive products. Nike reduced costs by cutting some of its endorsements. Company research suggested the endorsement by the Italian soccer team, for example, was not achieving the desired results. Michael Jordan and a few other “big name” endorsers were retained while others, such as the Italian soccer team, were eliminated, resulting in savings estimated at over $100 million. Laying off 7% of its 22,000 employees allowed the company to lower costs by another $200 million, and inventory was reduced to save additional money. As a result of these moves, Nike reported a 70% increase in earnings for the first quarter of 1999 and saw a significant rebound in its stock price. While cutting costs, the firm also introduced new products designed to differentiate Nike’s products from the competition.

Some industry environments may actually call for combination strategies. Trends suggest that executives operating in highly complex environments, such as health care, do not have the luxury of choosing exclusively one strategy over another. The hospital industry may represent such an environment, as hospitals must compete on a variety of fronts. Combination (i.e., more complicated) strategies are both feasible and necessary to compete successfully. For instance, reimbursement to diagnosis-related groups, and the continual lowering of reimbursement ceilings have forced hospitals to compete on the basis of cost. At the same time, many of them jockey for position with differentiation based on such features as technology and birthing rooms. Thus, many hospitals may need to adopt some form of hybrid strategy to compete successfully (Walters & Bhuian, 2004).

Strategy as Discipline

While Michael Porter’s generic strategies were introduced in the 1980s and still dominate much of the dialogue about strategy and strategizing, a complementary approach was offered more recently by CSC Index consultants Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. Their value disciplines model is quite similar to the three generic strategies from Porter (cost leadership, differentiation, focus). However, there is at least one major difference. According to the value disciplines model, no discipline may be neglected: threshold levels on the two disciplines that are not selected must be maintained. According to Porter, companies that act like this run a risk of getting “stuck in the middle.”

In their book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, they offered four rules that competing companies must obey with regard to strategy formulation (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997):

Provide the best offer in the marketplace, by excelling in one specific dimension of value.Market leaders first develop a value proposition, one that is compelling and unmatched.

Maintain threshold standards on other dimensions of value. You can’t allow performance in other dimensions to slip so much that it impairs the attractiveness of your company’s unmatched value.

Dominate your market by improving the value year after year. When a company focuses all its assets, energies, and attention on delivering and improving one type of customer value, it can nearly always deliver better performance in that dimension than another company that divides its attention among more than one.

Build a well-tuned operating model dedicated to delivering unmatched value. In a competitive marketplace, the customer value must be improved. This is the imperative of the market leader. The operating model is the key to raising and resetting customer expectation.

What Are Value Disciplines?

Operational Excellence

The case study that their book uses to illustrate the “operational excellence” value discipline is AT&T’s experience in introducing the Universal Card, a combined long-distance calling card and general purpose credit card, featuring low annual fees and customer-friendly service.

Key characteristics of the strategy are superb operations and execution, often by providing a reasonable quality at a very low price, and task-oriented vision toward personnel. The focus is on efficiency, streamlined operations, supply chain management, no frills, and volume. Most large international corporations are operating according to this discipline. Measuring systems are important, as is extremely limited variation in product assortment.

Product Leadership

Firms that do this strategy well are very strong in innovation and brand marketing. Organization leaders demonstrate a recognition that the company’s current success and future prospects lie in its talented product design people and those who support them. The company operates in dynamic markets. The focus is on development, innovation, design, time to market, and high margins in a short time frame. Company cultures are flexible to encourage innovation. Structure also encourages innovation through small ad hoc working groups, an “experimentation is good” mind-set, and compensation systems that reward success. Intel, the leading computer chip company, is a great example of a firm pursuing a successful product leadership strategy.

Firms that do this strategy well are very strong in innovation and brand marketing. Organization leaders demonstrate a recognition that the company’s current success and future prospects lie in its talented product design people and those who support them. The company operates in dynamic markets. The focus is on development, innovation, design, time to market, and high margins in a short time frame. Company cultures are flexible to encourage innovation. Structure also encourages innovation through small ad hoc working groups, an “experimentation is good” mind-set, and compensation systems that reward success. Intel, the leading computer chip company, is a great example of a firm pursuing a successful product leadership strategy.

Customer Intimacy

Companies pursuing this strategy excel in customer attention and customer service. They tailor their products and services to individual or almost individual customers. There is large variation in product assortment. The focus is on: customer relationship management (CRM), deliver products and services on time and above customer expectations, lifetime value concepts, reliability, being close to the customer. Decision authority is given to employees who are close to the customer. The operating principles of this value discipline include having a full range of services available to serve customers upon demand—this may involve running what the authors call a “hollow company,” where a variety of goods or services are available quickly through contract arrangements, rather than the supplier business having everything in stock all the time.

The recent partnership between Airborne Express, IBM, and Xerox is a great example of an effective customer intimacy strategy. Airborne also provides centralized control to IBM and Xerox part-distribution networks. Airborne provides Xerox and IBM with a central source of shipment data and performance metrics. The air-express carrier also manages a single, same-day delivery contract for both companies. In addition, Airborne now examines same-day or special-delivery requirements and recommends a lower-priced alternative where appropriate (Logistic Management, 2008).

Only One Discipline

Treacy and Wiersema maintain that, because of the focus of management time and resources that is required, a firm can realistically choose only one of these three value disciplines in which to specialize. This logic is similar to Porter’s in that firms that mix different strategies run the risk of being “stuck in the middle.” Most companies, in fact, do not specialize in any of the three, and thus they realize only mediocre or average levels of achievement in each area.

The companies that do not make the hard choices associated with focus are in no sense market leaders. In today’s business environment of increased competition and the need more than ever before for competitive differentiation, their complacency will not lead to increased market share, sales, or profits.

“When we look at these managers’ businesses [complacent firms], we invariably find companies that don’t excel, but are merely mediocre on the three disciplines…What they haven’t done is create a breakthrough on any one dimension to reach new heights of performance. They have not traveled past operational competence to reach operational excellence, past customer responsiveness to achieve customer intimacy, or beyond product differentiation to establish product leadership. To these managers we say that if you decide to play an average game, to dabble in all areas, don’t expect to become a market leader (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997).”

Within the context of redesigning the operating model of a company to focus on a particular value discipline, Treacy and Wiersema discuss creating what they call “the cult of the customer.” This is a mind-set that is oriented toward putting the customer’s needs as a key priority throughout the company, at all levels. They also review some of the challenges involved in sustaining market leadership once it is attained (i.e., avoiding the natural complacency that tends to creep into an operation once dominance of the market is achieved).

Key Takeaway

Strategic focus seems to be a common element in the strategies across successful firms. Two prevalent views of strategy where focus is a key component are strategy as trade-offs and strategy as discipline. Michael Porter identifies three flavors of strategy: (1) cost leadership, (2) differentiation, or (3) focus of cost leadership or differentiation on a particular market niche. Firms can straddle these strategies, but such straddling is likely to dilute strategic focus. Strategy also provides discipline. Treacy and Wiersema’s three strategic disciplines are (1) operational excellence, (2) product leadership, and (3) customer intimacy.

Exercises

What is strategic focus and why is it important?

What are Porter’s three generic strategies?

Can a firm simultaneously pursue a low-cost and a differentiation strategy?

What are the three value disciplines?

What four rules underlie the three value disciplines?

How do Porter’s generic strategies differ from, and relate to, the Treacy and Wiersema approaches?

References

Dell increases revenue and earnings, lowers operating expenses. (2008, May 28). Dell press release. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/pressoffice/en/2008/2008_05_29_rr_000?c=us&l=en’s=corp.

Logistic Management, retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/CA145552.html.

Porter, M. (1985). Competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance. New York: Free Press.

Porter, M. (1989). Competitive advantage of nations. New York: Free Press. Porter, M. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and companies. New York: Free Press, 1980.

Porter, M. (2001, March). Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review, pp. 63–78, Retrospective on Michael Porter’s Competitive strategy. (2002). Academy of Management Executive 16(2), 40–65.

Treacy, M., & Wiersema, F. (1997). The discipline of market leaders: Choose your customers, narrow your focus, dominate your market. Reading, M Addison-Wesley.

Walters, B. A., & Bhuian, S. (2004). Complexity absorption and performance: A structural analysis of acute-care hospitals. Journal of Management, 30, 97–121.

 

BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

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What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

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859 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

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Brand Activation agency in Narayan Peth

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Brand Activation business in pune city

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, Brand Activation business in pune city. The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimized both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximizing the ROI.

Our skilled Promotions and Activations team demonstrate the key selling points of your product/service, engaging directly with the customer and making your brand the preferred choice.

 

Retail Merchandising: Set Up Your Store For Retail Success

Retail merchandising is necessary for brick and mortar retailers to be able to compete with online shopping sites. And yet, a lot of retailers would be hard-pressed to answer the question, what is retail merchandising? Retail merchandising covers everything from how you visually arrange your merchandise to the traffic patterns in your store, how you display items to promote add-on sales, to signage, and for apparel retailers – the power of the fitting room. It is all behind the scenes data collection that proves what is effective and what isn’t. This post serves as a tactical primer for retailers looking for visual merchandising strategies and ideas.

Retail merchandising, when done right, removes confusion of what to buy from shoppers, encourages a customer to shop in your store rather than in another, and most importantly, converts more shoppers into customers.
It’s a coordinated effort that keeps you from carrying a ton of SKUs, slapping them on a wall or table, and expecting them to sell. Too many choices make shoppers feel overwhelmed.
Why should merchandisng matter to you? The quicker you can cut down on a shopper’s choices, the quicker you can make them relax and consider purchasing your merchandise. The less time you devote to how you arrange your store and display your products, the more overwhelmed your shoppers will feel when trying to know what to look at. And an overwhelmed shopper never becomes a customer – they just leave.

You can attract as many new bodies to your shop as you want, but if they discover a hodgepodge of merchandise that takes too much to figure out, if the meet with too much frustration trying to find what they were looking for, or if they encounter only flat or uninteresting displays, your merchandise will sit.  Merchandise that sits for too long is like spoiled milk; it starts to smell and loses all value until it is thrown out.

Your shoppers shouldn’t notice great merchandising, but it should focus their eyes on a display. The lighting should draw them toward a fixture; the signage should pique their curiosity, and together make them want to buy more.

In order to implement a strong retail merchandising plan, you have to have someone who understands the science of which colors are in fashion, what trends they can tie into, the cause and effect of fast-moving or dead products, as well as someone who has the creativity to create the excitement of serendipity when shopping in your brick and mortar store.
At its most basic a retail merchandising plan should include:
An overall plan of how traffic will move through your store.
A department plan that changes with the seasons and holidays.
A budget for store fixtures, props, lighting, and signage.
A merchandise planning system which will help maximize turn, limit out-of-stocks, increase margins, and minimize markdowns.
An open-to-buy system and predictive analytics to determine the variety of merchandise available to shoppers.
The time needed to merchandise a store will vary due to a variety of circumstances including the total number of SKUS, special requirements for individual displays, especially those needing security, as well as your ability to move your fixtures easily. Large stores have entire teams devoted to the four separate areas of retail merchandising while single-operator locations struggle to do something more than just get the merchandise out and priced.
The thing to remember is that there is no merchandise in your store that a customer can’t purchase online.

Therefore, when they do drive to your store, they expect to get something more than they can glean off a website. That’s where the art and science of retail merchandising gives brick and mortar retailers an advantage over their online competitors.
To begin merchandising your store, always start with the front doors, for this is the first chance your shoppers have to understand the alien planet that is your store.
Newcomers hate to have to ask where something is. Is your directional signage easy to understand and well-placed?
People like to shop in bright energetic spaces. Is there adequate lighting to achieve this?
With shoppers wanting to proceed counter-clockwise through a store, is the counter location causing friction between those browsing and those queuing up to pay?
There should be visual barriers between departments to make a large store seem more intimate. Are those backdrops or barriers interesting enough to draw shoppers to them?
Displays are your silent salespeople because they can show an entire system or series of add-ons to lift average ticket. Are the relationships in your displays obvious?
Well-placed, well-worded signs help intrigue, answer questions, and entice shoppers to look, touch or hold. Do yours?
Apparel stores best chance at converting lookers to buyers is with bright, air-conditioned and clean fitting rooms. Are yours up to the challenge?
You’re always working on three things with your plan: the current promotion or event, the one upcoming, and a review of the one just passed. That’s why it’s always best to set up a full year calendar as part of your retail merchandising plan noting holidays, seasons, local events, and promotions.
If you’re looking to really master retail merchandising, there are several degree programs where you can go to deepen your knowledge and skills.
Visual Merchandising: Curating Your Brand Experience
Visual merchandising is everything a shopper sees at your store that hopefully leads to a remarkable shopping experience. It is the unspoken language retailers use to communicate with their customers. In the advent of omnichannel retailing, it also connects to the online brand experience to provide a seamless, consistent look and feel between the web and the physical store.
how to visual merchandise your retail store
It’s easy to confuse the broader retail merchandising plan with visual merchandising. But visual merchandising is only that part of the retail merchandising plan which includes rearranging merchandise, shelving, and fixtures to maximize sales as well as maintaining the cleanliness and functionality of the store fixtures, signage, and lights.
So is visual merchandising the same as displays? No, visual merchandising is more of a high-level view that includes eye-catching visual displays but continues to to lead the customer through the entire store. Specific product displays focus on just one department or brand.
One thing many retailers miss is that visual merchandising is a team effort; you must train all store associates about visual display standards and maintenance. Otherwise, they’ll simply say It’s not my job or refuse to sell a shirt off a mannequin.
A visual merchandiser is responsible for creating an environment that sells, one that allows shoppers to relax and consider all your store has to offer by crafting areas of discovery. The best visual merchandisers creatively design displays, create planograms for window displays, create both display and directional signage, buy fixtures, and generally decide what goes where, why, and for how long.
In the end, they must be both business savvy and creative in constructing an environment that stimulates a consumer’s desire to buy what they came in for as well as the add-ons they didn’t know they needed…and all at full price.
Here are 7 tips and tricks for visual merchandising your brick and mortar store:
Great merchandising invites shoppers into a store, so avoid putting a display table perpendicular just inside your entrance.
Moving a product from its regular shelf location to a featured end cap has been proven to lead to an average sales increase of 25%, so regularly move your products around.
Digital displays can help tell a fuller, specific product story but can also detract customers from the products they are near, so make sure your digital displays are supporting but not the main show. If conversion doesn’t improve, change messaging or location.
Look through your whole store for distractions. Are there too many messages to try thisor do that or buy this or look here? Streamline a shopper’s experience so they linger, not bolt for the door.
Select fixtures with wheels so you have unlimited opportunities to change your entire store around quickly and efficiently.
Feature your best merchandise at the front of the store as shopper interest wanes the further they go into the middle of a store.
Put sale items in the back so thrifty consumers have to move through your store to get to them.
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Great Displays: Stop Your Customers In Their Tracks
A great display takes the customer from either not noticing or feeling stupid about a product.  It gives them the bright idea about how it would look in their homes, how they could use it in their business, how they would feel wearing it, and especially how they could smartly combine several items.  Displays help build sales because they stop the customer in their tracks and persuades them to select an item they hadn’t necessarily considered. Properly built merchandising displays give them hope that what they purchase will deliver more than just a price.
the power of great display merchandising in a retail storeSloppy or poorly coordinated displays rob your store of its ability to make additional profit. I saw an end cap at a grocery store that had Oreos, toilet paper, and bleach. You never want a shopper to scratch their head, trying to figure out why your items are displayed the way they are.
For that reason, you want to know the different types of displays to choose from:
Five Types of Displays
1. Complementary displays that say, This makes this better.
2. Coordinated displays that say, These are all the items you need for this to work.
3. Creatively constructed displays of one product. Think 6-packs of lemonade stacked as a school bus.
4. Product in use displays that show the product in its environment. Think mixer, spatulas, and cookie cutters on a countertop or lawn mower, edger and fertilizer on grass sod.
5. Surprise prop displays where you add a totally unrelated item to your product. Think a pink stuffed toy pig sitting on the chair next to the BBQ.Welcome customers like they’re coming to your home.

Is there a difference between what should you do when setting up your display windows, display cases, shelf or table displays? Not really, the key is to create a story using different items that all work together.

Here’s how to create effective and interesting retail displays:

1. Begin by asking yourself these four questions:
1. Is it high profit? Will it deliver more profit if you pull it off the shelf and feature it?
2. Is it a limited-time item that can only sell for a short period?
3. Is it a want, an item that a customer might covet in their heart of hearts but probably doesn’t have on their shopping list?
4. Is it something that can be bundled?
2. Put new arrivals first
3. Use a color story of contrasting colors
4. Vary heights and add at least one prop to add interest
5. Light your display like it’s show time
6. Add well-placed signs
7. Keep it simple. Don’t group more than five different products together.

While window displays in Manhattan, London and Chicago are legendary due to their scale and resources, anyone can do a display with very little expenditure of money as long as you follow the seven step approach outlined above.
With labor scheduling budget cuts, remember your displays are your silent salespeople. A well crafted display grabs a shopper’s interest and shows rather than tells.
You might be tempted to get your whole staff involved in visual merchandising and displays. Avoid this temptation unless you’re willing to teach them everything about your retail merchandising and display plans. Otherwise, they’ll get the idea to create a display when the store is slow, and the result won’t be as well thought-out as you’d like.
There can be exceptions of course, so if you find someone interested and creative, give them some training about how you are trying to focus the customer’s eyes, why you choose the colors you do, and the different heights you can use to achieve a longer linger time from the casual browser.
Three things you can teach your retail associates about displays:
When something is sold off a display, put another item on it. You never want naked mannequins or empty tables.
If items come from another department, write down where they came from so other employees know where to find them, so they won’t tell a shopper I don’t know.
Take a picture of each display so everyone in the department knows what it should look like and can keep it that way.
Store Signage: Direct, Inform and Inspire.
There are three types of signage in a retail store: directional, informative, and invitational. The first is used to identify what is found in various departments. The second is just like it sounds, signs that inform like customer service, returns, BOPIS, and even layaway or custom order signs. The third is used to entice a shopper to come closer, to point out benefits over features of a display of products, and even to make a shopper laugh.
great retail store signage example
When you are thinking about how to create store directional or informative signage for your brick and mortar store, begin by thinking like a new shopper to your store.
What would they be most interested in knowing?
What if they wanted to go to the bathroom?
What would they need to know to get to the department they are interested in?
Then write down the ten most common questions you receive in a day. I’ll bet many are either looking for directions or store information.
Next ask your staff what are the most common questions they receive every day that are not product-specific.
Now you can prioritize all those concerns and make signs that address the most important ones first.
Invitational signs are rare in many retailers’ stores because they take a bit more work than slapping a sale price on day-glo yellow posterboard, but they can deliver many more profitable sales. You find these outside on sidewalk A-frames, and in both window and product displays.
All three types of signs share the same design characteristics and here’s how to create them.

The nine best practices for creating signage:

1. Find a color palette and stick with it.
2. Use big enough font so no one has to squint to read it.
3. Keep the word count short.
4. Make sure the sign applies only to what it is in front of, on top of, or next to.
5. Limit your use of the word No. For example, instead of No Refunds after 14 days say Refunds available within 14 days.
6. Explain benefits over features. For example, instead of 39 Herbs and Minerals say Thickens Balding Hair.
7. Use humor. For example in a floral shop, ask How Mad Is She?
8. Use analogies. For example declare, Like A Shot of Espresso For Your Skin!
9. Test signage for clarity by using your desktop printer before committing to having them professionally printed.

The five best practices to avoid for your signage :

1. Don’t allow hand-drawn signs.
2. Don’t use the words Do Not.
3. Don’t be English-centric if you’re in an area that has a high population that speaks another language. Add translations.
4. Don’t use ten identical signs when one will do the job.
5. Don’t just have a sale price; show the original and the percentage discount.

12 Tips For Becoming The Top Retail Salesperson
From how to effectively approach a customer, to why you should never come out of the stockroom empty-handed. Discover the essential tips you need to know to become the top salesperson at your store.
Discover The Tips Today
Fitting Rooms: Create A Welcoming Experience
I’m sure some of you will be surprised that fitting rooms are considered part of retail merchandising, but when it comes to clothing, the sale is only made once someone tries it on. The fitting room is a huge advantage for brick and mortar retailers. An Accenture study revealed 70% of online apparel is returned due to fit issues. However, when the apparel is tried on in-store, that drops to the single digits.retail store fitting room is part of retail merchandising
The proof of your retail merchandising comes together in the fitting room which moves your shopper from browser to customer. You are taking the vision you created in your store that stimulated their buying sense and fulfilling it in your 5’x8’ fitting room.
Just like a well-designed display, the fitting room experience has to continue the engagement from the salesfloor, so here are three tips to make that happen:
Keep the fitting room floors spotless – pin, hanger, and clothing free.
Provide lighting that helps the selling process by making the customer look good. Backlit mirrors are the best.
Install good quality mirrors inside the dressing room so the shopper looks realistic.
And always remember…
If a shopper has to wait long, they’ll walk away.
If the room has bad lighting, conversions will suffer.
If the room doesn’t have air conditioning, it will be either too hot or too cold – never good for half-naked people to feel uncomfortable.
If you abandon them, they’ll get frustrated and leave.
You’ll have to work with your Director of Operations and store managers to make sure all associates are properly trained to monitor and service the fitting room visitors to increase conversion rates.
Retail Merchandising: Pulling It All Together
Retail Merchandising refers to all the activities both seen and unseen which contribute to the sale of products in your store. It includes the visual merchandising which creates the environment to sell, the displays which stops shoppers in their tracks, the signage that directs, informs, or inspires them, and the fitting rooms where the final decisions are often made.
how to visually merchandise a brick and mortar store
Use these tips and tricks as well as best practices to merchandise your store like a pro. And if you’d like me to come speak to your group about how to make displays that convert along with signage that entices, visit my speaking page.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

 

5.5 Strategy as Trade-Offs, Discipline, and Focus

5.5 Strategy as Trade-Offs, Discipline, and Focus

 

Learning Objectives

Understand the nature of strategic focus.

Strategy as trade-offs (Porter).

Strategy as discipline (Treacy and Wiersema).

This section helps you understand that a strategy provides a company with focus. Strategy is ultimately about choice—what the organization does and does not do. As we’ve seen, vision and mission provide a good sense of direction for the organization, but they are not meant to serve as, or take the place of, the actual strategy. Strategy is about choices, and that eventually means making trade-offs such that the strategy and the firm are distinctive in the eyes of stakeholders. In this section, you will learn about strategic focus—that is, how trade-offs are reconciled—as well as two frameworks for thinking about what such focus might entail.

What Is Strategic Focus?

While there are different schools of thought about how strategy comes about, researchers generally agree that strategic focus is a common characteristic across successful organizations. Strategic focus is seen when an organization is very clear about its mission and vision and has a coherent, well-articulated strategy for achieving those. When a once high-flying firm encounters performance problems, it is not uncommon to hear business analysts say that the firm’s managers have lost focus on the customers or markets where they were once highly successful. For instance, Dell Computer’s strategy is highly focused around the efficient sale and manufacture of computers and computer peripheral devices. However, during the mid-2000s, Dell started branching out into other products such as digital cameras, DVD players, and flat-screen televisions. As a result, it lost focus on its core sales and manufacturing business, and its performance flagged. As recently as mid-2008, however, Dell has realized a tremendous turnaround: “We are executing on all points of our strategy to drive growth in every product category and in every part of the world,” said a press release from Michael Dell, chairman and CEO. “These results are early signs of our progress against our five strategic priorities. Through a continued focus, we expect to continue growing faster than the industry and increase our revenue, profitability and cash flow for greater shareholder value (Dell, 2008).”

Dell provides an excellent example of what is meant by strategic focus. This spirit of focus is echoed in the following two parts of this section where we introduce you to the complementary notions of strategy as trade-offs and strategy as discipline.

Strategy as Trade-Offs

Three of the most widely read books on competitive analysis in the 1980s were Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, and Competitive Advantage of Nations(Porter, 1985; Porter, 1989; Porter, 2001). In his various books, Porter developed three generic strategies that, he argues, can be used singly or in combination to create a defendable position and to outperform competitors, whether they are within an industry or across nations. The strategies are (1) overall cost leadership, (2) differentiation, and (3) focus on a particular market niche.

Cost Leadership, Differentiation, and Scope

These strategies are termed generic because they can be applied to any size or form of business. We refer to them as trade-off strategies because Porter argues that a firm must choose to embrace one strategy or risk not having a strategy at all. Overall lower cost or cost leadershiprefers to the strategy where a firm’s competitive advantage is based on the bet that it can develop, manufacture, and distribute products more efficiently than competitors. Differentiationrefers to the strategy where competitive advantage is based on superior products or service. Superiority arises from factors other than low cost, such as customer service, product quality, or unique style. To put these strategies into context, you might think about Wal-Mart as pursuing a cost-leadership strategy and Harley Davidson as pursuing a differentiation strategy.

Porter suggests that another factor affecting a company’s competitive position is its competitive scope. Competitive scope defines the breadth of a company’s target market. A company can have a broad (mass market) competitive scope or a narrow (niche market) competitive scope. A firm following the focus strategy concentrates on meeting the specialized needs of its customers. Products and services can be designed to meet the needs of buyers. One approach to focusing is to service either industrial buyers or consumers but not both. Martin-Brower, the third-largest food distributor in the United States, serves only the eight leading fast-food chains. It is the world’s largest distributor of products to the world’s largest restaurant company—McDonald’s. With its limited customer list, Martin-Brower need only stock a limited product line; its ordering procedures are adjusted to match those of its customers; and its warehouses are located so as to be convenient to customers.

Firms using a narrow focus strategy can also tailor advertising and promotional efforts to a particular market niche. Many automobile dealers advertise that they are the largest volume dealer for a specific geographic area. Other car dealers advertise that they have the highest customer satisfaction scores within their defined market or the most awards for their service department.

Another differentiation strategy is to design products specifically for a customer. Such customization may range from individually designing a product for a single customer to offering a menu from which customers can select options for the finished product. Tailor-made clothing and custom-built houses include the customer in all aspects of production, from product design to final acceptance, and involve customer input in all key decisions. However, providing such individualized attention to customers may not be feasible for firms with an industry-wide orientation. At the other end of the customization scale, customers buying a new car, even in the budget price category, can often choose not only the exterior and interior colors but also accessories such as CD players, rooftop racks, and upgraded tires.

By positioning itself in either broad scope or narrow scope and a low-cost strategy or differentiation strategy, an organization will fall into one of the following generic competitive strategies: cost leadership, cost focus, differentiation, and focused differentiation.

Cost Leadership/Low Cost

Cost leadership is a low-cost, broad-based market strategy. Firms pursuing this type of strategy must be particularly efficient in engineering tasks, production operations, and physical distribution. Because these firms focus on a large market, they must also be able to minimize costs in marketing and research and development (R&D). A low-cost leader can gain significant market share enabling it to procure a more powerful position relative to both suppliers and competitors. This strategy is particularly effective for organizations in industries where there is limited possibility of product differentiation and where buyers are very price sensitive.

Overall cost leadership is not without potential problems. Two or more firms competing for cost leadership may engage in price wars that drive profits to very low levels. Ideally, a firm using a cost-leader strategy will develop an advantage that others cannot easily copy. Cost leaders also must maintain their investment in state-of-the-art equipment or face the possible entry of more cost-effective competitors. Major changes in technology may drastically change production processes so that previous investments in production technology are no longer advantageous. Finally, firms may become so concerned with maintaining low costs that they overlook needed changes in production or marketing.

The cost-leadership strategy may be more difficult in a dynamic environment because some of the expenses that firms may seek to minimize are research and development costs or marketing research costs—expenses the firm may need to incur to remain competitive.

Focused Low-Cost

A cost-focus strategy is a low-cost, narrowly focused market strategy. Firms employing this strategy may focus on a particular buyer segment or a particular geographic segment and must locate a niche market that wants or needs an efficient product and is willing to forgo extras to pay a lower price for the product. A company’s costs can be reduced by providing little or no service, providing a low-cost method of distribution, or producing a no-frills product.

Differentiation

A differentiation strategy involves marketing a unique product to a broad-based market. Because this type of strategy involves a unique product, price is not the significant factor. In fact, consumers may be willing to pay a high price for a product that they perceive as different. The product difference may be based on product design, method of distribution, or any aspect of the product (other than price) that is significant to a broad group of consumers. A company choosing this strategy must develop and maintain a product perceived as different enough from the competitors’ products to warrant the asking price.

Several studies have shown that a differentiation strategy is more likely to generate higher profits than a cost-leadership strategy, because differentiation creates stronger entry barriers. However, a cost-leadership strategy is more likely to generate increases in market share.

Focused Differentiation

A differentiation-focus strategy is the marketing of a differentiated product to a narrow market, often involving a unique product and a unique market. This strategy is viable for a company that can convince consumers that its narrow focus allows it to provide better goods and services than its competitors.

Differentiation does not allow a firm to ignore costs; it makes a firm’s products less susceptible to cost pressures from competitors because customers see the product as unique and are willing to pay extra to have the product with the desirable features. Differentiation can be achieved through real product features or through advertising that causes the customer to perceive that the product is unique.

Differentiation may lead to customer brand loyalty and result in reduced price elasticity. Differentiation may also lead to higher profit margins and reduce the need to be a low-cost producer. Since customers see the product as different from competing products and they like the product features, customers are willing to pay a premium for these features. As long as the firm can increase the selling price by more than the marginal cost of adding the features, the profit margin is increased. Firms must be able to charge more for their differentiated product than it costs them to make it distinct, or else they may be better off making generic, undifferentiated products. Firms must remain sensitive to cost differences. They must carefully monitor the incremental costs of differentiating their product and make certain the difference is reflected in the price.

Firms pursuing a differentiation strategy are vulnerable to different competitive threats than firms pursuing a cost-leader strategy. Customers may sacrifice features, service, or image for cost savings. Price-sensitive customers may be willing to forgo desirable features in favor of a less costly alternative. This can be seen in the growth in popularity of store brands and private labels. Often, the same firms that produce name-brand products produce the private-label products. The two products may be physically identical, but stores are able to sell the private-label products for a lower price because very little money was put into advertising to differentiate the private-label product.

Imitation may also reduce the perceived differences between products when competitors copy product features. Thus, for firms to be able to recover the cost of marketing research or R&D, they may need to add a product feature that is not easily copied by a competitor.

A final risk for firms pursuing a differentiation strategy is changing consumer tastes. The feature that customers like and find attractive about a product this year may not make the product popular next year. Changes in customer tastes are especially obvious in the fashion industry. For example, although Ralph Lauren’s Polo has been a very successful brand of apparel, some younger consumers have shifted to Tommy Hilfiger and other youth-oriented brands.

For a variety of reasons, including the differences between intended versus realized strategies discussed in an earlier section, none of these competitive strategies is guaranteed to achieve success. Some companies that have successfully implemented one of Porter’s generic strategies have found that they could not sustain the strategy. Several risks associated with these strategies are based on evolved market conditions (buyer perceptions, competitors, etc.).

Straddling Positions or Stuck in the Middle?

Can forms of competitive advantage be combined? That is, can a firm straddle strategies so that it is simultaneously the low-cost leader and a differentiator? Porter asserts that a successful strategy requires a firm to stake out a market position aggressively and that different strategies involve distinctly different approaches to competing and operating the business. Some research suggests that straddling strategies is a recipe for below-average profitability compared to the industry. Porter also argues that straddling strategies is an indication that the firm’s managers have not made necessary choices about the business and its strategy. A straddling strategy may be especially dangerous for narrow scope firms that have been successful in the past, but then start neglecting their focus.

An organization pursuing a differentiation strategy seeks competitive advantage by offering products or services that are unique from those offered by rivals, either through design, brand image, technology, features, or customer service. Alternatively, an organization pursuing a cost-leadership strategy attempts to gain competitive advantage based on being the overall low-cost provider of a product or service. To be “all things to all people” can mean becoming “stuck in the middle” with no distinct competitive advantage. The difference between being “stuck in the middle” and successfully pursuing combination strategies merits discussion. Although Porter describes the dangers of not being successful in either cost control or differentiation, some firms have been able to succeed using combination strategies.

Research suggests that, in some cases, it is possible to be a cost leader while maintaining a differentiated product. Southwest Airlines has combined cost-cutting measures with differentiation. The company has been able to reduce costs by not assigning seating and by eliminating meals on its planes. It has also been able to promote in its advertising that its fares are so low that checked bags fly free, in contrast to the fees that competitors such as American and United charge for checked luggage. Southwest’s consistent low-fare strategy has attracted a significant number of passengers, allowing the airline to succeed.

Another firm that has pursued an effective combination strategy is Nike. You may think that Nike has always been highly successful, but it has actually weathered some pretty aggressive competitive assaults. For instance, when customer preferences moved to wide-legged jeans and cargo pants, Nike’s market share slipped. Competitors such as Adidas offered less expensive shoes and undercut Nike’s price. Nike’s stock price dropped in 1998 to half its 1997 high. However, Nike achieved a turnaround by cutting costs and developing new, distinctive products. Nike reduced costs by cutting some of its endorsements. Company research suggested the endorsement by the Italian soccer team, for example, was not achieving the desired results. Michael Jordan and a few other “big name” endorsers were retained while others, such as the Italian soccer team, were eliminated, resulting in savings estimated at over $100 million. Laying off 7% of its 22,000 employees allowed the company to lower costs by another $200 million, and inventory was reduced to save additional money. As a result of these moves, Nike reported a 70% increase in earnings for the first quarter of 1999 and saw a significant rebound in its stock price. While cutting costs, the firm also introduced new products designed to differentiate Nike’s products from the competition.

Some industry environments may actually call for combination strategies. Trends suggest that executives operating in highly complex environments, such as health care, do not have the luxury of choosing exclusively one strategy over another. The hospital industry may represent such an environment, as hospitals must compete on a variety of fronts. Combination (i.e., more complicated) strategies are both feasible and necessary to compete successfully. For instance, reimbursement to diagnosis-related groups, and the continual lowering of reimbursement ceilings have forced hospitals to compete on the basis of cost. At the same time, many of them jockey for position with differentiation based on such features as technology and birthing rooms. Thus, many hospitals may need to adopt some form of hybrid strategy to compete successfully (Walters & Bhuian, 2004).

Strategy as Discipline

While Michael Porter’s generic strategies were introduced in the 1980s and still dominate much of the dialogue about strategy and strategizing, a complementary approach was offered more recently by CSC Index consultants Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. Their value disciplines model is quite similar to the three generic strategies from Porter (cost leadership, differentiation, focus). However, there is at least one major difference. According to the value disciplines model, no discipline may be neglected: threshold levels on the two disciplines that are not selected must be maintained. According to Porter, companies that act like this run a risk of getting “stuck in the middle.”

In their book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, they offered four rules that competing companies must obey with regard to strategy formulation (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997):

Provide the best offer in the marketplace, by excelling in one specific dimension of value.Market leaders first develop a value proposition, one that is compelling and unmatched.

Maintain threshold standards on other dimensions of value. You can’t allow performance in other dimensions to slip so much that it impairs the attractiveness of your company’s unmatched value.

Dominate your market by improving the value year after year. When a company focuses all its assets, energies, and attention on delivering and improving one type of customer value, it can nearly always deliver better performance in that dimension than another company that divides its attention among more than one.

Build a well-tuned operating model dedicated to delivering unmatched value. In a competitive marketplace, the customer value must be improved. This is the imperative of the market leader. The operating model is the key to raising and resetting customer expectation.

What Are Value Disciplines?

Operational Excellence

The case study that their book uses to illustrate the “operational excellence” value discipline is AT&T’s experience in introducing the Universal Card, a combined long-distance calling card and general purpose credit card, featuring low annual fees and customer-friendly service.

Key characteristics of the strategy are superb operations and execution, often by providing a reasonable quality at a very low price, and task-oriented vision toward personnel. The focus is on efficiency, streamlined operations, supply chain management, no frills, and volume. Most large international corporations are operating according to this discipline. Measuring systems are important, as is extremely limited variation in product assortment.

Product Leadership

Firms that do this strategy well are very strong in innovation and brand marketing. Organization leaders demonstrate a recognition that the company’s current success and future prospects lie in its talented product design people and those who support them. The company operates in dynamic markets. The focus is on development, innovation, design, time to market, and high margins in a short time frame. Company cultures are flexible to encourage innovation. Structure also encourages innovation through small ad hoc working groups, an “experimentation is good” mind-set, and compensation systems that reward success. Intel, the leading computer chip company, is a great example of a firm pursuing a successful product leadership strategy.

Firms that do this strategy well are very strong in innovation and brand marketing. Organization leaders demonstrate a recognition that the company’s current success and future prospects lie in its talented product design people and those who support them. The company operates in dynamic markets. The focus is on development, innovation, design, time to market, and high margins in a short time frame. Company cultures are flexible to encourage innovation. Structure also encourages innovation through small ad hoc working groups, an “experimentation is good” mind-set, and compensation systems that reward success. Intel, the leading computer chip company, is a great example of a firm pursuing a successful product leadership strategy.

Customer Intimacy

Companies pursuing this strategy excel in customer attention and customer service. They tailor their products and services to individual or almost individual customers. There is large variation in product assortment. The focus is on: customer relationship management (CRM), deliver products and services on time and above customer expectations, lifetime value concepts, reliability, being close to the customer. Decision authority is given to employees who are close to the customer. The operating principles of this value discipline include having a full range of services available to serve customers upon demand—this may involve running what the authors call a “hollow company,” where a variety of goods or services are available quickly through contract arrangements, rather than the supplier business having everything in stock all the time.

The recent partnership between Airborne Express, IBM, and Xerox is a great example of an effective customer intimacy strategy. Airborne also provides centralized control to IBM and Xerox part-distribution networks. Airborne provides Xerox and IBM with a central source of shipment data and performance metrics. The air-express carrier also manages a single, same-day delivery contract for both companies. In addition, Airborne now examines same-day or special-delivery requirements and recommends a lower-priced alternative where appropriate (Logistic Management, 2008).

Only One Discipline

Treacy and Wiersema maintain that, because of the focus of management time and resources that is required, a firm can realistically choose only one of these three value disciplines in which to specialize. This logic is similar to Porter’s in that firms that mix different strategies run the risk of being “stuck in the middle.” Most companies, in fact, do not specialize in any of the three, and thus they realize only mediocre or average levels of achievement in each area.

The companies that do not make the hard choices associated with focus are in no sense market leaders. In today’s business environment of increased competition and the need more than ever before for competitive differentiation, their complacency will not lead to increased market share, sales, or profits.

“When we look at these managers’ businesses [complacent firms], we invariably find companies that don’t excel, but are merely mediocre on the three disciplines…What they haven’t done is create a breakthrough on any one dimension to reach new heights of performance. They have not traveled past operational competence to reach operational excellence, past customer responsiveness to achieve customer intimacy, or beyond product differentiation to establish product leadership. To these managers we say that if you decide to play an average game, to dabble in all areas, don’t expect to become a market leader (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997).”

Within the context of redesigning the operating model of a company to focus on a particular value discipline, Treacy and Wiersema discuss creating what they call “the cult of the customer.” This is a mind-set that is oriented toward putting the customer’s needs as a key priority throughout the company, at all levels. They also review some of the challenges involved in sustaining market leadership once it is attained (i.e., avoiding the natural complacency that tends to creep into an operation once dominance of the market is achieved).

Key Takeaway

Strategic focus seems to be a common element in the strategies across successful firms. Two prevalent views of strategy where focus is a key component are strategy as trade-offs and strategy as discipline. Michael Porter identifies three flavors of strategy: (1) cost leadership, (2) differentiation, or (3) focus of cost leadership or differentiation on a particular market niche. Firms can straddle these strategies, but such straddling is likely to dilute strategic focus. Strategy also provides discipline. Treacy and Wiersema’s three strategic disciplines are (1) operational excellence, (2) product leadership, and (3) customer intimacy.

Exercises

What is strategic focus and why is it important?

What are Porter’s three generic strategies?

Can a firm simultaneously pursue a low-cost and a differentiation strategy?

What are the three value disciplines?

What four rules underlie the three value disciplines?

How do Porter’s generic strategies differ from, and relate to, the Treacy and Wiersema approaches?

References

Dell increases revenue and earnings, lowers operating expenses. (2008, May 28). Dell press release. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/pressoffice/en/2008/2008_05_29_rr_000?c=us&l=en’s=corp.

Logistic Management, retrieved November 3, 2008, from http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/CA145552.html.

Porter, M. (1985). Competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance. New York: Free Press.

Porter, M. (1989). Competitive advantage of nations. New York: Free Press. Porter, M. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and companies. New York: Free Press, 1980.

Porter, M. (2001, March). Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review, pp. 63–78, Retrospective on Michael Porter’s Competitive strategy. (2002). Academy of Management Executive 16(2), 40–65.

Treacy, M., & Wiersema, F. (1997). The discipline of market leaders: Choose your customers, narrow your focus, dominate your market. Reading, M Addison-Wesley.

Walters, B. A., & Bhuian, S. (2004). Complexity absorption and performance: A structural analysis of acute-care hospitals. Journal of Management, 30, 97–121.

 

BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

 

859 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

 

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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