Welcome to this presentation about the fundamentals of marketing. The presentation is going to cover a number of different subjects, including promotion, buyer behaviour, personal selling, the promotional mix and customer relationship marketing.
We'll start with promotion. Promotion is defined as "Communicating with the public in an attempt to influence them toward buying your product" (Ward, 2012). Promotion is a broad concept, encompassing advertising, public relations management and any events such as trade show appearances, demonstrations, contests or sponsorships, for example.
A promotional activity can have a number of different objectives. Some of the more common objectives of promotional activities are to establish the corporate image in the community, to build brand awareness, to build customer loyalty, to capitalize on new market opportunities, to dispel negative press and to announce changes (Moore, 2012). Basically, promotion is a way of getting a message across, whether that messages is "Hey, look at me!" Or something more sophisticated like "Hey, we're really good people at XYZ Corp."
Slide Four: The next subject to consider is buyer behaviour. Buyers go through a five-stage decision-making process. The first two steps are needs recognition and problem awareness. This is where the buyer figures out that he or she needs something. The second stage is information search. If you're already figuring out what your job here is, you're starting to understand.
Slide Five: The third step is evaluation of alternatives, the fourth step is purchase and then the fifth step is post-purchase evaluation (No author, 2012). Now clearly, the sales staff needs to guide the buyer through this process, all the while pointing the buyer in the direction of our product. It is important to think about the post-purchase evaluation because during the selling process you need to convince the buyer not to expend much energy on post-purchase evaluation. Convince the buyer so thoroughly about the rightness of the decision that the buyer is disinclined to revisit that decision at any point in the future.
Slide Six: While you are supposed to affect the decision-making process, there are other factors as well that come into play. The first is the influence of competition -- there are a lot of companies that are trying to do the same thing you are, and they will all influence the buyer. Another influence is that of substitute products. This basically expands what you are competing against. Think about movies for a minute - you can spend money on a movie, but anything you do during that time for entertainment is part of that decision. So it's not just a choice of what movie to see, but maybe that choice also involves television, surfing the web or going down the pub.
Slide Seven: Another influencer over the buyer decision process is friends and family. Any voice that can influence a buyer's decision needs to be taken into consideration. We often turn to our peers to help us make decisions, or afterwards to reinforce those decisions. There are a whole range of other factors that we use in target marketing -- each of which affecting the peer group. So where a person is from, what their culture is, how much schooling them have and from where, how old they are…all of these are contributors to the buyer's decision-making process. And of course, sales people play an important role in the buying decision.
Slide Eight: Personal selling is part of promotion -- it is "oral communication with potential buyers of a product with the intention of making a sale." You can use either a push strategy or a pull strategy, but in some way you must entice the customer to buy. There are six roles of a sale force: prospecting, communicating, selling, servicing, information gathering and allocating (No author, 2012, 2).
Slide Nine: Personal selling is important for a few reasons. Customers get a lot of attention from sales people, and that allows them to gather more information and build trust. As a salesperson, you can convey far more information than any indirect medium, so this is a great technique for selling complex things. Also, you have the ability to respond directly to the customer's verbal and non-verbal feedback. This means you have the chance to constantly direct the customer towards the sale. In addition, your presence limits the effectiveness of outside influencers on the decision (No author, 2012, 2).
Slide Ten: The product we are going to begin using personal selling to market is our new automated widget. There are a few reasons why we are switching to personal selling of the automated widget, not just poor sales. The first is that this is a highly technical product. The feedback we are receiving is that customers simply do not understand it. The automated widget is expensive as well. Our research indicates that customers are especially cautious with purchases in excess of £500, and the automated widget costs £829.
Slide Eleven: The automated widget, we feel, is a product that can help us to gain access to new accounts. This is by design, because once you have one of these we have a whole lineup of products that are integrated with the automated widget. So this product is actually a wedge that we are using to gain more customers. Not only does this make it more important to sell them, but we also want to build a long-term relationship with our customers. The final reason for using personal selling is simple -- the automated widget competes directly with products that are sold this way. We have to give a high level of personal service in order to compete.
Slide Twelve: Why personal selling? Can't we just use the other elements of the promotional mix? Well, I can tell you that personal selling is the most expensive thing we can do. We would not utilize it if we did not feel that it was the best possible way to win this business. Personal selling allows us to properly explain our product and pricing strategies to the customers. Right now, they do not understand the value of the product, so they aren't interested. But it is a great product, so clearly we need to communicate that better. We are also going to promote it at trade shows around the country. We are going to do demonstrations that will highlight just how useful the automated widget really is. So that will pique interest, but we need to move beyond that.
Slide Thirteen: When we talk to customers and potential customers about this, they really never move past the first or second stage of the buyer decision making process. They either do not realize that they have a problem, or their information search leads them somewhere else. The rest of the promotion process will hopefully focus on these first two steps, but the personal selling will then be required to get us through the next two steps to reach purchase. Then, of course, personal selling allows us to build a relationship with the customer, something we cannot do otherwise.
Slide Fourteen: I want to introduce another concept, customer relationship marketing. This means building a strong relationship with the customer, so that they feel loyal to you, and that you can have a two-way flow of information with the customer. We want to build relationships with our customers so that we can sell them more products, of course. This is because repeat customers are cheaper to sell to than new customers. Repeat customers that are satisfied create positive word-of-mouth. And they spend more with us, because we have built that trust and forged that relationship (Lake, 2012).
Slide Fifteen: I'm going to give you a quick example of the personal selling process we want you to use. Basically, your role is going to be to move the customer…