Unit 5: Distribution and Promotion
Once marketers have identified the right product and determined appropriate pricing, they must decide how to raise awareness and distribute the product effectively. This unit will focus on these decisions. Distribution is a complex process involving taking a product through the manufacturing process, shipping to warehouses, distributing to sellers and customers, and returning products. Marketers must work with supply chain managers to determine the best method to route products. If marketers expect sales to be heavier in the northeast than in the west, additional resources will need to be allocated there to meet demand. There are several strategies for moving a product through various distribution channels. These vary based on anticipated demand, actual demand, and competition. Marketers must have a proactive strategy; they cannot sit on inventory and wait for orders because inventory storage is expensive, and a lack of sales is disruptive.
The final and arguably most vital aspect of marketing is the actual promotion of the product. This can take the form of giveaways, competitions, advertising, sales, and anything else a creative manager can think of. Marketers must consider several aspects. If you employ a sales staff to promote the product, how do you compensate them? If you pay a commission, how much commission will be paid per unit? Will the sales staff be given discretion on price, or do you want to send a consistent message that the price is locked in? If a new company has limited funds for advertising campaigns, might they use public relations tactics to gain free media coverage? These are just a few considerations that marketers must consider. This final unit will provide you with tools to make the best possible promotion decisions.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- identify the role of distribution marketing channels;
- apply the role of marketing audit to business setting;
- identify and describe distribution outlets;
- describe the components of the promotion (communication) mix; and
- explain the role of public relations in marketing.
5.1: Distribution Channel Strategies
Read this chapter. Push and pull strategies are based on how the customer perceives a product. For example, if the company wants to sell a product, it may aggressively push it through the distribution channel and into stores with pricing incentives. This is often seen with products the customer does not have a perceived need or desire for. A pull strategy is based on satisfying a customer's wants or needs. It is almost as if the customer is pulling the product through the distribution channel. Channel membership is a distribution strategy based on the type of product in question. If quality and reliability are important, marketers will use exclusive distributions or "authorized resellers". Intensive distribution is the opposite; a marketer will allow just about anyone to carry a product. Convenience foods are a good example. Just about every check-out line in a store now has snacks and sodas.
5.2: Promotion Tools and Tactics
Read this article on branding your company. This article describes branding an architecture firm, but the rules apply to many types of companies.
Promotion gets to the heart of a marketing campaign. Once you have developed your product or service, identified a target audience, and crafted a selling proposition, now comes the time to let the world know about it. This may be accomplished through several means, ranging from paid advertising to public relations outreach to direct sales. This article gives valuable details on this most critical 'P' of the marketing mix.
Review this chapter, which you read earlier in the course. It discusses different methods of communication employed by businesses to reach their customers, the types of message strategies commonly used, and budgetary issues that companies must consider. This time, answer the discussion questions at the end of the chapter.
Read these sections and answer the review questions at the end of each section. This chapter discusses the role selling plays in marketing strategies.
Read this article on tactics of salespeople to win customers and get new product lines on store shelves for sale.
Read this section to learn about the sales force. Pay attention to the different sales ads, the types of selling, techniques used, and the selling process as a whole.
Read this chapter. Answer the review questions at the end of each section. The material explains the various public relations (PR) concepts and tools used by organizations. Public relations are the activities organizations engage in to create a positive image for a company, product, service, or person. Press releases, sponsorships, and product placements are three commonly used PR tools. Press releases are designed to generate publicity, but there is no guarantee the media will use them in the stories they write. Sponsorships are designed to increase brand awareness, improve corporate image, and reach target markets. Product placements are designed to generate exposure, brand awareness, and interest.
Visit this interactive resource. You should briefly review each of the eight primer modules and note any resources or templates you find especially useful. These resources and templates may be helpful as you undertake a public relations campaign at a future date. We will refer back to this primer elsewhere in the course for specific examples supporting subunit topics ahead. For now, it gives a useful overview of the public relations craft and some tools at its disposal. This primer was prepared to help government and business leaders in the former Soviet Union transition from a centralized system to a market system. They were expected to interact with a more free and independent media. The concept of "public and media relations" was new to many of these leaders, so this primer provides a fundamental overview of PR's basic ideas and tools.
Unit 5 Discussion
After reviewing the unit materials, post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion forum. Feel free to start your own post and respond to other students' posts as well.
Observe an advertising campaign for a new product or service. Did you notice the same product or service advertised in different media? Who was the target audience? What was the marketing message? Why did the marketers select the particular medium (or media)? Think of a product or service you might promote with your own marketing plan. Who will be your target audience? What media will you select and why? What might your marketing message be? Find an example of a marketing campaign that may have relied more on public relations and free media placements than on a paid advertising campaign. Assess it for its strategies and effectiveness.