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In an effort to continue commerce, consumerism and capitalism businesses must be strategic and creative in enticing consumers to purchase products and services. Today consumer is bombarded with whimsical and seductive ploys to get their attention and buying power. Through the use of various mediums seven consumer promotions can be employed to reach consumers. Coupons, Sampling, Bonus packs, Price-offs, Refunds and rebates, contests and sweepstakes and premiums have proven quite useful in soliciting business (Clow & Baack, 2012, p.
It is nearly impossible to not be affected by the lure of these gimmicks and the basic human need for staples and sundries begs any budget conscience person to examine which purchase and brand are most likely to benefit him or her best.
Coupons are definitely a great consumer promotion tool and can be found in print media, direct mail, in-or on-packages, in-store (scanner delivered), digital or employee delivered locations (Clow & Baac,, 2012, p. 314). Coupons can be distributed at numerous media locations with a creative flair but must be implemented wisely by the manufacturer.
Consumers oftentimes will weigh out the real cost effectiveness of the coupon in relation to other competitive and comparative products. Premiums include “prizes, gifts, or other special offers consumers receive when purchasing products; the consumer pays full price for the good or service with a premium. In contrast, coupons grant price reductions” (Clow & Baack, 2012, p. 315). Oftentimes premiums will be used to promote a product that needs greater consumer attention by coupling it with a well known product. Avenues for dispersing premiums include store or anufacturer, self-liquidating, free-in-mail and in-or on-packaging (Clow & Baack, 2012, p. 315). Consumer Promotions Defined 3 Contest and sweepstakes are extremely popular with consumers and play to the consumers competitive and entertainment through the use of chance. Sweepstakes do not require purchase however contest typically require the participant to perform an activity and are usually coupled with purchasing a product. The benefits of a contest or sweepstake are limited by the amount of participants but raise public awareness of the product or service.
The goal for consumers is to obtain the prize or one of several prizes. Refunds and rebates offer cash returns to the consumer typically via the forwarding of proof of purchase of a product at regular price. Refunds refer to soft goods which apply to food or clothing while the more substantial purchases such as automobiles and appliance are considered hard goods where consumers are able to get financial reimbursement via a rebate. The consumer must remember to mail in proof of purchases and keep in mind that the monetary reward will take time to receive via the U. S. mail. This extended reward time can work negatively because other consumer promotion tactics offer immediate gratification. Sampling is a great tool used to engage consumers using their taste buds, sense of smell, visual cues, and impulsive nature. Samples can include food, free products offered as a part of another package or a media sample such as free premium cable for three months.
The power of sampling can be noted by Costco’s success, a wholesale food and product enterprise who hired Warehouse Demo Services (WDS) to promote its hand selected products. While WDS can demonstrate everything from detergents to shrimp, food stuffs that are precooked or prepared work the best. Ellis said the demonstration stations help create a marketplace feel that allows people to experience a product with all their senses” (wdsdemos. com. , 2013). Consumer Promotions Defined 4 Because products and services are being rendered for free sampling can be costly and should be used in tandem with other promotional tactics. Bonus packs are quite useful in that they engage the consumer for an extended and possibly more frequent time period.
The six objectives of bonus packs include:
Bonus packs can create a positive relationship along the product line where not only does the consumer benefit but the manufacturer and retailer will see additional benefits in demand especially if the product is beloved.
Price-offs entices consumers to purchase another brand or stockpile their favorite brands by either in the store, point of sale promotions or on the package current price versus regular price comparisons. Consumers absolutely love to save money and clearly printed along with immediate savings can encourage consumerism. The downside to price-offs is that consumers become more sensitive to the potential to purchase the product for a lower price and may look to other brands for cost savings. Promotion is an intricate part of market mix. Marketing mix includes product, price, place/distribution and promotion (4 Ps). Promotion is an attempt to influence. Promotional activities are designed to inform, persuade, or remind the market of the firm and its products and ultimately to influence consumers’ feelings, beliefs, and behavior. A successful promotion program should include all the communication tools that can deliver a message to a target audience” (cornell. edu. ,2000).
With the main purpose of a consumer promotion program being to change consumer behavior finding the right mix of consumer promotions will depend on what product or service a company is offering. Considering the fact that consumer promotions are short-term in nature the “only situation where sales promotion is profitable is when the company truly has a superior product paired with low product awareness. In this case, sales promotion will get people to try the product, and they will be less likely to switch to a competing brand when sales are over” (cornell. du. ,2000). Coupons require a lot of energy and recall from the consumer and are good at introducing a consumer to a product just as price-offs and sampling. Unfortunately there is no one exact consumer promotion that will continually boost sales but a well thought out consumer promotion program will encourage consumers to at least try and decide. Sampling and bonus packs have proven successful in my household because of the low risk of sampling and the known risk of buying an already established product.
Price-offs and in-store coupons are quite successful however. Most consumers will juggle between a few established products as each cyclically goes on sale, has a price-off or uses one of the other means of consumer promotions. The art of creating an effective consumer promotions program entails understanding consumer behavior. Science, psychology and even economics plays an intricate part of marketing and advertising with top brands and successful companies at one point or another have used all of the seven forms of consumer promotions.
Social media has increasingly become a constant in our lives. Many people reach out to friends or family through social media, sometimes on a daily basis. Through Facebook, people can view pictures and read status updates. Twitter allows others to read status updates that are limited to 140 characters. Each of these social media tools has its advantages and disadvantages but each opens up the doors to creating an online community with others that may not be possible offline.
George Herbert Mead’s theory of symbolic interactionism states that our interactions with individuals and communities shape our identities and influence our actions. Is it possible that his theory could apply to the ways in which a persons’ social media community influences his or her purchase decisions? This paper will seek to find the answer. The following thesis will include an analysis of Mead’s theory of symbolic interactionism, a literature review about communities in social media, the method used to collect data, an analysis of the data, and implications from the study.
Social media continues to play a role in many people’s lives. From finding information about friends to perusing a company’s Facebook page to gain insight into their products, many of us use social media constantly. While our purposes for using social media may vary, we all have created communities we interact with within our social networks. According to Mead’s theory of symbolic interactionism, the way we interact with individuals shapes our identity. Thus, it can be thought that how we interact with others on social media also can shape our identity. Mead also described the importance of a community’s influence. My thesis seeks to understand if a social media user valued their social media communities’ influence when it came to purchasing products online. I hypothesized, based on Mead’s rationale, that if offline communities
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