Starting Your Business

Factors Influencing Promotional Mix

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

A small enterprise owner who intends to embark on business promotion must know what components of the same will be most effective in helping him/her achieve the desired agenda. It is quite challenging to know what proportions of advertising, sales promotion, or indeed personal selling will combine perfectly for success. The said combination is what is referred to as the promotional mix. What factors must be assessed so as to get this mix right?

There are four basic factors that are assessed in determining the promotional mix and they are as follows:

Factors Influencing Promotional Mix

1. The funds available for the activity

Irrespective of what the right proportions of a promotion exercise are, it is the funds available that are really crucial in determining the final promotional mix.

It is only a business with the requisite financial resources that can begin and see a promotional effort through. Similarly, lack of money will certainly force a business to use less than efficient promotional methods. The firm can be forced to contend with rudimentary techniques like dealer displays and personal selling. The inefficiency factor comes in when, for example, a small enterprise has to use personal selling to reach a large target market as opposed to the more efficient advertising option.

2. The nature of the market

Three characteristics of a given market are important in determining the promotional mix to be used. First, the small enterprise must consider the market's geographical scope whereby, for example, thanks to the nature of expanse the use of advertising may be more applicable than personal selling. Secondly, in determining the promotional mix a business must consider who the effort is being aimed at i.e. is it the retailers, middlemen, wholesalers or the final consumer. Here, personal selling may be most applicable in targeting wholesalers while sales promotion may be the best way to reach the final consumers. Thirdly is the market concentration factor where for instance a market with few buyers can best be targeted with personal selling compared to advertising or publicity.

3. The nature of the product

In determining the promotional mix the nature of the product being offered must be assessed given that creating awareness say for a consumer product is quite a different kettle of fish compared to what's required for an industrial product. For a consumer product the right promotional mix will take into consideration whether that product is a necessity, a specialty item, or a convenience item. Industrial goods' promotional mix places lots of emphasis on personal selling while convenience goods are mostly marketed using a combination of dealer displays and personal selling.

4. The product's lifecycle stage

Determining the promotional mix accurately also calls for an assessment of the four lifecycles that a product goes through. At introduction a product must be presented to the customers and thus creating awareness is the biggest concern. Personal selling and public relations are very applicable. At the growth stage there is already some awareness so advertising is applicable in strengthening the brand name. At maturity advertising remains applicable in fending off the competition. Finally, during sales decline a business will want to substantially cut down on promotional efforts.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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