The southern comfort company is a liquor company. As such, the company is restricted in the way it advertises its products. In T.V. advertisements, for example, the company and others like it are only allowed airtime at night hours to do their promotion. All these rules are founded on the premise the citizenry is not supposed to be so much exposed to liquor advertisements. Indeed, the time allocation is such that the number of people watching T.V. is small. And the result? There is crowding of spirit advertisements. It is therefore the belief of Southern Comfort company that the method is ineffective; hence its shift to digital advertising. Indeed, Mullman, Jeremy says “…, SoCo spent $6 million of its $8 million measured media outlay on cable TV, and another $1.5 million on magazine ads. This year, both those numbers will drop to zero in favor of online properties…” (Mullman, 2009, par 3)
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Promotion involves all the communication activities aimed at informing existing and potential customers of some good/service existence; with convincing them to buy as the major aim. The communication mechanism so employed can take one or more of the following forms:
The following is what involves promoting a product
Advertising- this is a paid and non-personal sale of an idea, a good or a service.
Personal selling- is a promotion technique that employs planned, personalized communication. It aims at influencing purchases and making sure that the buyer is satisfied.
Publicity – it is a free non-personal promotion tool. As such, the promoter and the buyer do not pay anything in publicity. Publicity is making sure that your company and products are in the news for all the good reasons.
Sales promotion-this incorporates all the other activities that stimulate buying, e.g. display and exhibits.
It should be appreciated that many companies use more than one promotional activity to ensure that large sales are stimulated. This is what is called promotional mix.
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Factors Affecting the Selection and Use of Appropriate Promotional Mix Elements
Borrowing heavily from promotional mix paragraphs 18-23, we can identify factors that affect the promotional matrix as follows:
The type of product being promoted- products can be grouped into convenience, specialty, and shopping goods. For convenience goods, their purchases are normally frequent and the buyer takes minimum efforts before he makes the purchase, they therefore call for very minimal personal selling efforts. On the other hand, shopping goods are normally purchased after serious deliberations and therefore personal selling and advertising can be very useful to make the customer buy them. Lastly for specialty goods, normally have qualities that do not match other products. As such, they need serious personal selling to convince a potential customer to buy. The product for SOCO is a convenience product that would not call for personal selling efforts. A little advertising and sale promotion would do the trick.
Secondly, the nature of the product has a bearing on the promotional mix used. For instance, cheap self-service products have sales promotion and advertising as a very effective promotional mix. On the other hand, highly technical products would call for personal selling. Such products require demonstration and installation for customers. SOCO products are self-service. As such, not much personal selling is to be used. Indeed, advertising and sales promotions and product placement are effective.
Thirdly, the stage of product life cycle influences the promotional mix employed. During introduction stage, all promotional efforts should be geared towards informing the public of the availability of the product. During growth stage, competition becomes intense and so intense promotion is required. Then at maturity, the product becomes well established and hence the producer ensures that all the promotional activities are to point out the differences between competing products. At maturity, a lot of advertising is normally used. Lastly at the decline stage, the market enjoys arrival of new products and so production of the declining products is imminent. As such, promotion of the declining products plummets. Assuming that the Southern Comfort products are at their maturity stage, it would be advisable that the company seriously employs advertising as a tool of ensuring that its products sell.
Fourthly, the market targeted is a major factor considered in making a promotion mix. For instance, few customers would be well influenced by personal selling. For many customers, advertising and promotion would be appropriate. For southern comfort their market is mass but it targets 21-29-year-olds. As such, the advertising channel they use needs to be the one frequently visited by the age group. Indeed, the firm’s management confesses that T.V. adverts are not achieving much hence the digital switch. “As we’ve focused more on 21 to 29, TV becomes less and less effective at reaching that audience,” Lena DerOhannessian said. “It was getting harder and harder to hit our target without so much waste” (Mullman, 2009, par 3)
Geographical location of customers also affects the promotional mix chosen. Customers spread over a wide area can be reached by advertising and sales promotion. If in a limited location, personal selling would do.
The distribution channel used for the product also influences the promotion mix to be used. For instance, if there are many intermediaries, personal selling would be effective while advertising is appropriate in cases of direct movement of the product from the manufacturer to the consumer. For southern comfort, the product uses intermediaries hence advertising would be effective.
The company history also affects the promotion mix. If a mix the company used in the past worked, it is likely to employ the same mix in the future. For southern comfort however, the past promotional mix does not bear fruits hence the need to use different channels of advertisement. Funds available for advertising are another determinant in choosing promotional activities. Indeed digital advertising is said to be cheaper and therefore appealing to any business including Southern Comfort (Mullman, 2009, par 6).
Additionally, the size of the sales staff determines the promotional mix used. Assuming a small sales force for Southern Comfort, advertising should be appropriate.
Evaluation of promotional activities
There are several indicators that one can use in telling whether a promotional activity is effective or not.
Sales or income level is one such indicator. A successful promotion should increase the sales. A company should also “listen” to find out if the market has heard about the product from the promotion initiative. An effective promotion should also make it possible for the company to create new opportunities. They should be such that they make it easier for the company to sell its products.
Lastly, the company should have a positive return on investment in the promotion. The money so spent on promotion should be less than the business it brings to the company (Ayling, 2009, par 2-10).
Southern Comfort (SOCO) should target the young, age bracket 21-29. As such, they should be packaged in bright colors that appeal to this group. The bottle should be such that it is appealing to carry around to appeal to the young who like multi-tasking, playing a game of pool as they enjoy their drink. SOCO should also make its product ubiquitous in all online spaces. By so doing, the product should be distributed widely because its demand will be high as a result of the advertisement efforts.
Again, the digital advertisement so adopted is cheaper; SOCO should price their product lower than their competitors. The law of numbers will also work for their good since they will be able to mass market.
The decision to go 100% digital cannot get better; it is cheaper than conventional advertising and it offers SOCO an opportunity to become the sole alcohol sponsor including programs that the brand would not have accessed on T.V (Mullman, 2009, par 5-6).
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Ayling, S. (2009). 7 Ways to Evaluate Your Marketing Plan, Web Marketing Place LLC. Web.
Mullman, J. (2009). Southern Comfort Pours Entire Media Budget Into Digital: Move Allows Brand to Buy Popular Network Shows Online Instead of Overcrowded Cable Fare. Advertising Age.