International Marketing and Sales Promotion
-By Milind Gandhi
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ADVERTISING DOESN'T SUCCEED IN INDIA, PROMOTION DOES!!
The problem with advertising is that it tries to force its way into the mind of the customer, which is resisted by him. In any advertising campaign, the aim of the advertiser is to occupy a position in the customer's mind. For this the advertiser plans an elaborate campaign and unleashes his brand using a variety of media. The moment we see an advertisement on the TV we press the remote button and change the channel. Thus, the advertising campaign that was carried out by spending crores of rupees goes ineffective as the mind of the customer is closed to any communication being done by an advertisement. Any print advertisement may also be admired for its creativity or design but it seldom persuades us to go and buy that product. This single-minded opposition to any advertisement by the customer makes the whole focus on advertising by the companies very fruitless. Another feature of a significant number of advertising campaigns is that instead of advertising the inherent value of the product, they try to associate specific human emotions with their product. Hence, you will buy soap so that you can be superior to everyone else in the office. Similarly, you will buy a shoe not because you need it but because it will make you independent. Indian customers have not accepted this kind of advertising and are known for looking out for the total utility of the product rather than get swayed by the advertisements.
The Indian customer wants full value for his money and this is what is provided by the various promotional schemes in the market. The promotions help in achieving quick sales to acquire higher market share and gain a lead over the competitors. They also help in generating an excitement around the brand, with some interesting promotions stimulating the customer to try a particular product. A further advantage in promotions is that the marketer has to take just a small cut in his profits but the perceived value of the offer to the customer remains high and helps in driving up sales. There have been a number of cases where a promotional scheme has increased the sales of a product and helped it to gain market share over its products. One of the first companies that started the promotion schemes was the south India based Cavincare, which gave away 1 free shampoo sachets of its brand Chik on returning 5 empty ones. The scheme was a huge success and it helped in making the company a Rs. 580 crore in a very short period of time. The promotions also help the company in offering the customers a chance of using other products of the same company. This cross promotion helps the company in promoting other product of theirs to their regular users. HLL offers cross company product mixes e.g. a 200 gm Bru packet comes with one Cadbury's Dairy Milk; Red Label tea packet comes with Cadbury's Five Star depending on the size. Colgate-Palmolive's price discounts and consumer offers include cross-company offers e.g.50 gm Colgate toothpowder is accompanied by 25 gm Tata Tea and a 100 gm Colgate toothpowder comes with a 24-carat gold-plated pendant. The consumer durables sector has also been on a promotion spree that has been very effective for the sales of these companies. In the Diwali season, Samsung launched the ‘Phir Se Phod ke Dekho’ consumer promotion scheme. The Phir Se Phod ke Dekho promotion came packaged as a coconut, which the customer picks on the purchase of a Samsung product. On breaking the coconut the customer was to get a 10 gm silver...