A promotional strategy is essential for any business in entering a new market. The promotional strategy will aim to direct the promotional activities in line with the business’ overall company aim. It is effective to adopt an integrated marketing strategy where all elements of marketing are in line with the organisations wider strategy and to take a market orientated approach (Jobber and Lancaster, 2003) QKC will have differing aims in the short, medium and long term and the promotional strategies will need to compliment these defined plans and evolve overtime, from point of entry or short term promotions through to being established in the market and therefore the long term promotional strategy. A product life cycle can outline the various stages a business will transcend through.
In the short term, QKC, aim to enter the US market and build customer clientele. Marketing is effective if the organisation has a differential advantage and concise target market (Jobber and Lancaster, 2003) British carpet has a good reputation for being quality and seen as a status symbol, which generates both a functional and emotional need for QKC products. Moreover, there is a gap in the US market for a carpet manufacturer who produces good quality Axminster carpet. Furthermore, a target market in the US has been defined. Axminster carpet is more desired by the contract market and demand will, “be spurred by increases in non residential construction and motor vehicle production.”(Reuters, 2009), therefore, the contract market is the division QKC should focus on initially.
In defining a promotional strategy for QKC, in the short term a focus should be on personal selling. Personal selling is well suited to promoting to a contract market, and can be fully integrated with the marketing strategy, with the aid of a differential advantage and target market (Jobber and Lancaster, 2003) The contract market is likely to require the positive attributes that personal selling offers, promoting close relationships with customers; and personal service is an characteristic that the US market appreciates. QKC products are pricey and are likely to incur objections from prospects, personal selling will enable sales people to offset objections with validations. Expressing the quality and life time value of products to rationalize price and highlight the benefits of their differential advantage.
As QKC is just starting in the US market it will be ideal for them to delegate sales activities to agents in the US. An agent is a firm or individual, who will obtain orders on behalf of an exporter (Jobber and Lancaster, 2003) an advantage of this, is that a local sales force in the host country will understand the local culture, norms and customs. Moreover Local agents will be further acknowledged on potential prospects .This could save time and costs on extensive market research, and gaining prospects using directories or cold calling. Personal selling will also aid in the development of long term aims of QKC, as it will serve information gathering, and future sales can be generated from customer recommendations. Furthermore, it will initiate the formation of Key Accounts and customer relationships.
In the medium term, QKC should aim to build their customer base further and wider, and develop existing relationship with customers. With the gained knowledge from previous promotions, in the medium term, QKC should invest in direct marketing and database marketing. Direct Marketing will target contract customers, and will involve the production and dispersion of catalogues/brochures, which advertise the QKC product range and features and could incorporate sales promotion in the form of a coupon that will generate inbound sales and potential prospects for the sales force. In the medium term, QKC is also likely to be in the position to build a database and this will facilitate promotions. Direct marketing could be incorporated further to include...
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