Marketing communications are the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade, and remind consumers – directly or indirectly – about the products and brands that they sell. In a sense, marketing communications represent the “voice” of the brand and are a means by which it can establish a dialogue and build relationships with consumers. Marketing communications perform several functions for consumers. Consumers can be told or shown how or why a product is used, by what kind of person, and where and when; consumers can learn about who makes the product and what the company and brand stand for; and they can be given an incentive or reward for trial or usage. Although advertising is often a central element of a marketing communications program, it is usually not the only one – or even the most important one – in terms of building brand equity. The marketing communications mix consists of six major modes of communication: 1.ADVERTISING – Any paid form of nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor. Advertising can be used to build up a long – term image for a product or trigger quick sales. Advertising can efficiently reach geographically dispersed buyers. Advantages and disadvantages of advertising should be explained now or later. 2.SALES PROMOTION – A variety of short term incentives to encourage trial or purchase of a product or service. Companies use sales promotion tools to draw a stronger and quicker buyer response. Sales promotion can be used for short – run effects such as to highlight product offers and boost sagging sales. The advantages of sales promotion are as follows: Communication: They gain attention and may lead the consumer to the product. Incentive: They incorporate some concession, inducement, or contribution that gives value to the consumer. Invitation: They include a distinct invitation to engage in the transaction now. The disadvantages of sales promotion are as follows:
1. Increased price sensitivity
Consumers wait for the promotion deals to be announced and then purchase the product. This is true even for brands where brand loyalty exists. Customers wait and time their purchases to coincide with promotional offers on their preferred brands. Thus, the routine sales at the market price are lost and the profit margin is reduced because of the discounts to be offered during sale-season. ‘The Diwali Bonanza Offers’ on electronic goods.
2. Quality image may become tarnished:
If the promotions in a product category have been rare, the promotions could have a negative effect about its quality image. Consumers may start suspecting that perhaps the product has not been selling well, the quality of the product is true compared to the price or the product is likely to be discontinued because it has become outdated. The Smyle Powder offer of “Buy 1 and get 2 free” went on and on. Ultimately people stopped asking for the product as the on-going sales promotion strategy made the customers perceive it to be a cheap and an inferior product. 3. Merchandising support from dealers is doubtful:
In many cases, the dealers do not cooperate in providing the merchandising support nor do they pass on any benefit to consumers. The retailer might not be willing to give support because he does not have the place, or the product does not sell much in his shop, or may be he thinks the effort required is more than the commission/benefit derived. 4. Short-term orientation:
Sales promotions are generally for a short duration. This gives a boost to sales for a short period. This short-term orientation may sometimes have negative effects on long-term future of the organization. Promotions mostly build short-term sales volume, which is difficult to maintain. Heavy use of sales promotion, in certain product categories, may be responsible for causing brand quality image dilution....