In the 1970’s as well as early 1980’s the Nigeria market was favourable to the producers of various products. At that time, we had what was called “sellers’ market”.
However, with the current economic trend in Nigeria markets, especially at the inception of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), the reversal is the case. Manufacturers have shifted considerable attention to the consumer particularly in the consumable goods sector, they now regard the consumer as the king. We now have what is popularly termed the “Buyers market”.
Producers have now resorted to numerous means of sales promotion to increase the sales volume and profitability. According to the American Marketing Association (1990 p 25) sales promotion is defined as those marketing activities, other than personal selling, advertising and publicity, that stimulate consumer purchasing and dealer effectiveness, such as displays, shows, expositions, demonstrations and various concurrent selling efforts not in the ordinary routine. Thus, sales promotion is any promotional effort that falls outside the other four statements of the promotional mix.
Marcarthy (1998 p 386) defined sales promotions as “all activities/variables involved in communicating information between seller and buyer with a view to changing attitude and behaviour towards a product or service. And the variables are advertising, personal selling, publicity, public relations and sales promotions”.
Stanton (1998 p 75) defined sales promotion, as the component of marketing that is used to inform and persuade the market regarding a company’s product. It includes those efforts a company embarked upon to effectively communicate the services and to persuade target customers to patronize them. In order to achieve its aims, the company employs the services of the various promotional mix, notably among which are: Advertising, Publicity, Personal selling and Sales promotion.
However, Wentz and Leyrich (2000 p 262) describe promotion as “the most nebulous of the six basic marketing instruments”. According to them, it is not surprising that it lends itself more readily to contradiction, conversely, conformity, imagination, subjective judgement and bizarre management decisions than other marketing variables.
Sales promotion embraces all activities and devices that are designed to sell more products and to create goodwill, directly or indirectly. A wise commonly accepted view, however is that sales promotion concerns only those activities and devices whose primary function is that of inviting, persuading and otherwise encouraging and stimulating trade.
The relative importance and effectiveness of the different types of promotional effort naturally vary considerably from industry and from time to time. Success with these sales building tools depends upon ability to organize and coordinate them into a unified programme, tailored to the specific needs of a particular industry and its products.
Promotions including selling and advertising has received the greatest attention in marketing practice and research according to Sheth and Garrett (1986 p 86). There are several emerging issues in promotional management. First, there is a growing belief that companies need integrated communications across all channels, such as selling, advertising, packaging, sales promotional and public relations. This integration has been lacking in the past, with inconsistencies in the brand product or corporate positioning. Also there is a growing interest in electronic shopping and selling and their impact in the promotional function. For the first time it seems possible to bring the producer and the customer closer to each other on a direct and “real-time” basis through the current innovative sales promotion strategies.
A sales promotion strategy prescribes the role to be played by every means of disseminating information to customers about a particular product. This aspect of formulating this strategy includes such factors as determining information to be communicated to consumers, the objectives of the promotions strategy, the budget for the sales promotions and the means or tools for disseminating information. The aim of every promotional strategy being the purchase and use of a product or service.