Promotion is concerned with how a business, such as Abdul, is to market a product or service alongside the other “Ps” in the marketing mix. A business like Abdul uses this “P” of the marketing mix in order to influence a potential customer about a new product or service and persuade them to buy it. Promotion is an important aspect of the marketing mix as without it, Abdul may have an excellent product which is a failure because customers aren't persuaded to buy it. Alongside promotion, in the marketing mix, are product, price and place. Product links to promotion as it needs to be brought to the attention of the consumer, which is normally achieved through advertising. A product nearing the end of its life cycle may also need further promotion in order for its life cycle to be extended, thus allowing more sales to be made. Price is another of the 4Ps in the marketing mix and is an important aspect when linked with promotion as the price needs to be set carefully in order to make it attractive to potential customers. Over the product life cycle, the price may need to be adjusted to keep sales at the required level to still make a profit. As Abdul is a new business in the local area place also takes an important role as customers need to be informed through promotion if a new store has opened up and any USPs of the business need to be clearly advertised in order to gain more customers. If all these aspects of the marketing mix are taken into account then Abdul should be able to operate his business successfully and meet his objectives of increased sales leading to increased profit which can be reinvested into more promotional strategies.
Promotion itself, can be categorised into two main categories, namely above the line and below the line which contain numerous methods of promotion. Above the line promotion focuses on advertising to large audiences through the use of mass media such as, print media, television and cinematic advertising generally to advertise on a national level. Meanwhile, below the line promotion focuses on targeted groups of consumers, the purpose of these activities is to develop a brand and could be a useful strategy of promotion which Abdul needs to research. This includes sales promotion, price reduction, free gifts and many other methods which are used to influce a consumers buying habit. Promotion is used to:
• Inform customers about a new product or service
• Keep a business ahead of its competitors
• To create or change a brand image
• To maintain or increase sales
These aims will be used as necessary by a business, though they will try to keep sales at a level satisfactory for the business to still be successful. As a business develops, the emphasis of promotion will change constantly around the products being offered or how the business grows. When a business starts, effort us put into promoting the business itself as well as the products it may be selling, thus the increased use of below the line promotion through methods such as direct marketing. As the name becomes established, there is less need to promote the name, and promotion is concentrated even more on the product or service.
In this assignment, I will recommend suitable methods of promotion for Abdul to use in the local area which will allow Abdul to increase sales and furthermore increase profit. Overtime this promotional strategy may change therefore, I will advise different strategies which have been proven successful by established bike shops and chains.
Above the line
The first type of promotion is above the line promotion, which can be defined as advertising which uses mass media such as TV, print media and the internet to appeal to a large audience and is arguably one of the most important types of promotion for a business as it is allows in customers to be gained who are more likely to buy the product being offered. Above the line promotion does give firms less control over the receipts as it aims at mass markets through independent media as previously stated which should still be noted. Advertising contains many different mediums which would help Abdul to inform potential customers of his product and further persuade them to buy it. The type of adverting that Abdul will be using should be chosen carefully, alongside the adverting media- this is, where the product is to be advertised and what viewers it will have. For Abdul this should constantly be considered as it is important in reaching the right demographic who would be interested in buying Abdul's bikes and visiting the bike shop. If this step is not taken into account then it may not be cost-effective for Abdul and the promotion is wasted. Abdul must also take into account how he will advertise a product or service or brand, for example whether he will use an advertising campaign- a series of advertisements in different forms over a period of time or use a single advert.
The first type of advertising that Abdul should consider is television which can be used on a national and local scale. More than 80% of the UK population watch television every day, thus showing the large demographic that Abdul could possibly reach. With the proliferation of channels, advertisers, like Abdul, need sophisticated data on viewer habits and audience profiles to ensure their TV commercials are reaching the right audience at the right time. TV advertising is not the obvious choice for small businesses such Abduls however if Abdul wants to engage and inspire the local market with a TV commercial of his bike shop then, many local TV stations offer low-budget advertising packages for small businesses. This method can be advantageous for small businesses like Abdul as it uses visual images which attract the attention of more viewers and, if a long enough time slot is allocated, Abdul should be able to get across detailed information about what he is promoting. If Abdul looked into this promotion more then he may be able to find specific channels which target consumers of his target market, thus making it more cost-effective as the advertising isn't wasted on people that are not interested in bikes. On the other hand, TV commercials can be very expensive, especially if used on a national scale, which would be recommended once the bike shop becomes more established in order to increase the product life cycle and create greater brand awareness. Meanwhile, this method could potentially be ignored by viewers as channel hopping is a regular case with commercials which would help Abdul to increase sales.
Bike shops like Halfords have used this method of advertising before but on a national scale and from figures that have been published by the bike shop, there was a great influx of customers buying the service which had be advertised through the advertising campaign which was launched. These statics are beneficial for Abdul to know as it shows him how useful this medium of advertising is and whether it will help Abdul reach his business objectives.
Overall, I would not recommend this method of above the line promotion as it can be very costly and a large number of TV watchers channel hop when the adverts come on and it should be accounted for that a majority of the TV population use services such as the BBC which don't allow for adverts. In addition, Abdul may struggle to gain the revenue needed to advertise through TV adverts as it can be very expensive and his business is at the start of its product life cycle. Even though there are advantages towards using this method of advertising, I personally would recommend that Abdul invests his money in a more useful promotional strategy other than TV advertising or potentially uses it once the business has grown to a more national scale so Abdul can make use of the large number of viewers that may see his advert and who find the stores more accessible.
Alongside television advertising is radio advertising, which similarly can be done on both a national and local frontier, dependent on the business and its location(s). Radio is a form of audio media which uses words to describe a brand, product or service. In previous instances, a sole trader bike shop, with three stores, called MiCycle used radio advertising in order to inform potential customers of the stores and therefore allow the locals to discover the bike shop as it was in such close proximity. This is an exemplar example towards how all 4Ps count in making sales and thus making a profit.
Radio stations are slowly increasing with many radio stations based on targeted audiences such as in specific local areas. This would be ideal if Abdul's target market was for the older generations as figures show that they are the greatest audience of radio stations however, Abdul's target market is between 18 and 35 years old. Also, people generally listen to radio ads as, if driving, people are unlikely to switch the radio stations between ads, which makes commercial radio an ideal medium for small businesses to reach out to new customers. Furthermore, local radio stations are often an important part of the community and businesses like Abdul that advertise on air could benefit from that connection and rapport that has been made. Moreover, with frequent airings of radio commercials at a time, it is possible to build a strong presence on the radio. Promotions and offers work well on the radio because the human voice drives responses, especially online listeners who hear the advert which influences them to look at the business' website. Overall, production of radio ads is relatively low-cost and easy to come up with. It is important that if Abdul were to use this method he made the advert catchy and memorable with a clear call to action for the listener to follow. Air time can usually be bought in cost-effective packages and most radio stations offer all-in-deals, which include production of the radio advertisement. Meanwhile, listeners may find it hard to understand what is being described as it doesn't use visual images in order to help portray what is being advertised. Furthermore, the message which is put forward is generally short lived, depending on how the advert comes across, as it is interrupted by songs and therefore may not be cost effective if the advert is expensive. Even though, it is hard to station hop whilst listening to the radio, there is likelihood that this could potentially happen which again would make this medium of advertising not cost-effective.
I would recommend that Abdul uses this method of advertising as even though, it may be perceived tacky to use a low-budget local radio station when Abdul aims for people of a high-socio economic status, Abdul could use his budget for advertising well on this in order to make sure the radio station used is directed at his target market to gain customers who are more likely to visit the shop. This promotional strategy would be best used when Abdul has become more established and he can take advantage of using a national radio station which reaches a larger demographic.
Thirdly another useful method which Abdul could consider using is the cinema and making use of the time given to advertisers to portray a message about their business. Using cinema adverts, messages can be delivered to large scale, target audiences. What's more, these are sophisticated media, offering unique creative opportunities to build atmosphere, convey emotions and fully engage the viewers and audience. There are more than 750 cinemas and 3,900 screens in the UK. These adverts can be booked to be seen by high-spending young people and families in the local area (Finchley for Abdul), and time can be booked locally with cinema commercials linking to certain categories of film or even specific movies. The popular bike shop, Halfords, used movies themed around biking, ‘Premium Rush', which showcases high speed bikes. Halfords used this specific movie in order to advertise to consumers how the bikes being promoted in the movie were similar to that found in Halfords. This promotional strategy was very effective for Halfords as, even though the costs of advertising nationally using Odeon cinemas was high, Halfords were able to gain an influx of customers who were interested in biking thus making this method cost-effective for them.
The distinct advantage of cinema advertising is that the audience is captivate, local and focused on the screen whilst in anxiety for the movie to start. A local ad on the big screen will be watched and absorbed by the audience without distraction. The production cost of cinema advertisements can be surprisingly low and it is possible to advertise form as little as £95 per week. The famous advertisers, Paul & Dean, offers two types of cinema advert production for small local business such as Abdul's therefore, it is important that Abdul keeps in mind that he can employ other people to produce the advert for him to make sure that it is of a higher quality. Slide advertising is also a possibility in terms of advertising as it would allow Abdul to potentially show up three stills, which appear for 7.5 seconds each in a special advertising segment before the film begins. This method is also advantageous as, alongside TV advertising, it uses visual images which help the audience to better understand the message being put forward by the advertiser. Meanwhile, according to a study by the ‘Academic Marketing Journal', the timing and length of featured adverts that are prior to films can be easily predicted by the audience therefore, they try and avoid them. Their research indicates a significant number of audience members stay outside the screen for the duration of ads, including those purchasing refreshments or arriving late. This pre-emptive evasion of advertisements has the potential to lump cinema advertising in with the multitude of ads seen and heard everyday by consumers, therefore minimizing its affect. The advert is only likely to be shown once during the viewing therefore, the message is short lived ad may be forgotten by the end of the film hence why it is crucial to advertise alongside movies with a similar theme, i.e. biking.
My judgement on this form of advertising would be that it would be useful for Abdul to help create brand awareness and showcase what stock he has to offer. This can be done even more successfully if Abdul advertises alongside a movie themed around biking such as was done by Halfords. Furthermore, this would also be useful for Abdul as he is able to target audiences averaging at 30 and under which is his target market.
Next to consider wold be using the newspaper which can have a national or local reach. The newspaper is a medium of advertising which has decreased over the recent years as cheaper methods of advertising have become available, such as the internet, however it is not without saying that the newspaper is useful at reaching specific demographics. In order to target the right demographic, research must be conducted to find the most suitable and cost-effective newspapers as if done correctly, it could cause an influx of customers and sales for Abdul.
As previously stated newspapers can be very useful at targeting specific demographics or target audiences, such as using The Metro in the region of London in order to target commuters. This specific newspaper would be ideal for Abdul as it targets those of his target market and also doesn't have a very wide spectrum of people therefore, the ad wouldn't be wasted by those who are unable to access the shop. Furthermore, similar to TV advertising and cinema advertising, it uses visual images to help enhance the advert and therefore allowing it to stand out more. There is also a wide choice of newspapers which can be used to advertise through, ranging from national to local to regional, each targeting a set audience which should be noted. On the other hand, generally those that read newspapers are aged above 50 which don't fit in with Abdul's target market therefore; Abdul may attract the wrong type of customers if he advertises through the wrong newspaper. Alongside this, he cost of advertising using print media has increased and can be very costly with a full page spread costing many thousands of pounds in a popular newspaper.
Overall, I would believe that this is a very positive medium of advertising for Abdul and if he follows the suggestion of using The Metro in London, he will be able to reach his target market and also build awareness of the brand in other areas which are linked by transportation. Abdul should focus on budgeting well for a whole page spread or a display big enough for visuals which help inform the reader more. Classified ads yet useful and cheap are very small and are mainly used when advertising for jobs as otherwise they are not read. When starting up this could be a useful strategy of advertising in order to create brand awareness however it could also be used at saturation point when introducing new products by using visuals through large displays.
Like newspapers, magazines use visuals to help enhance the message being put forward, however they are used to target specific demographics from gossip to biking magazines. There are many specialist magazines which are available and they allow for advertisers to target groups which are more likely to use the service being offered. For Abdul there are biking magazines available such as Biking Weekly which is a popular magazine amongst enthusiasts interested in the sport.
Magazines are possibly the best medium for targeting particular customer groups. All consumer interests are catered for, along with trade magazines aimed at the business buyer, however this is currently not applicable for Abdul. The wide coverage of magazines makes it extremely cost-effective and there is assurance for the advertiser that their advert isn't being wasted on people not interested on the topic, such as biking. Unlike newspaper all the images on the magazine are generally high-quality gloss images, allowing the advert to stand out even more and allowing reader to perceive the business of being higher quality which reflects well on Abdul in terms of sales and new customers. Meanwhile, the frequency of magazines can generally be low thus meaning that the viewer's aren't exposed to the advert for long periods of time in order to help them retain it.
A magazine publisher typically operates with long pre-publication lead times, which means advertisers must submit their ad copy and artwork six to 10 weeks before a monthly magazine's publication date. During that interval, the magazine's graphics department creates and finalizes an advertiser approved ad. A specialized printing company prints and assembles the magazine before distributing it to the publication's circulation. While relatively clear-cut, this process forces each advertiser to make a product- or service-based advertising decision without a clear picture of future economic conditions and consumer needs. Each magazine advertiser hopes readers will notice its professionally prepared ad, stay on the page long enough to absorb the message and gain a favourable impression which results in a purchase decision. However, magazines generally feature a mass of advertisements therefore, the reader is forced to wade through pages of ads whilst searching for a feature story henceforth, might pay little attention to each ad's content or might decide not to read any ads at all. This little exposure could mean that fewer potential customers are reading the ads thus they have little impact on the reader.
Overall I would not recommend the use of magazine advertising as even though magazine have, high-resolution photography, sophisticated graphics, top-quality glossy paper the costs altogether contribute to such a high price tag. If Abdul evaluates a magazine's market coverage and then compares the potential benefits against the staggering ad costs, he is likely to decide upon a less-expensive market-appropriate media. Undoubtedly, as Abdul's brand grows, this medium is more likely to be useful as he is more likely to have greater revenue to invest in a specialist magazine which has a wide reach amongst the biking community.
Another medium Abdul could consider could be using billboards which can be placed nationally and locally, using large visuals to grab the attention of passers-by. This is a form of visual advertising using large graphics to make the advertisements more visible. An instance where this was used was with Halfords who used it on a national scale, as they are a national company; however they mainly placed these billboards around their shops to make sure that it was being advertised to those that found the shop accessible. This is another instance about how the 4Ps of the marketing mix link. This strategy was particularly used to inform potential customers about national discounts at all the stores to encourage impulse buying.
...(download the rest of the essay above)