THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PROMOTIONAL MIX ELEMENTS IN THE TELECOMMUNICATION SECTOR OF NIGERIA
Promotion is a key element in marketing. Successful promotion is the third essential ingredient or element in marketing strategy. Prospective buyers must learn about both the product's distinctive want satisfying characteristics and its availability. Establishing and maintaining communications links with target market segments are the main tasks assigned to promotion. Promotion is a component of the 4ps that make up the marketing mix by far the most effective. Pride and Ferrell (2008) defined promotion as communication that builds and maintains a favorable relationship by information and persuading one or more audiences to view an organization positively and to accept its products. According to them, promotion informs potential customers about the product. What it is, what it does; how it can be use, and where it can be purchased. Kotler and Keller (2008) peruse promotion as the means by which firms attempt to inform persuade and remind consumers –directly or indirectly about the products and brands they sell. Promotion represent the voice of the organization and its brands and are means by which its can establish a dialogue and builds relationship with customers. Stanton (1981) defined promotion as the design and management of the marketing b subsystem for the purpose of informing and persuading present and potential customers. Ekakitie (2010) sees promotion as the systematic design and communication of product(s) ideas, knowledge, and attributes to an identified market segment with a view to eliciting customer response through the use of appropriate communication medium and technology. Me Neal (1966) defined promotion as any communication activity whose purpose is to move forward a product, service, or idea in a channel of distribution. He added that promotion is used by marketers to inform consumers of the availability and attributes of products and at certain times. Achuba and Osuagwu (1994) perceived promotion as the art of transmitting information for marketing purposes. It is the process of establishing communication relationships between a marketer and its publics. Dean (1946) defined promotion as the flow of persuasive communication between the firm and various selected audience. Kotler (1997) asserted that modern marketing calls for more than developing a good product/service and pricing it attractively and marketing it accessible to target customers. Companies must also communicate with their customers. Aluko (1998) described promotion as those activities that are designed to bring a company’s goods and services to favourable attention of customers. He also asserted that promotion is characterized by product information function, company’s sales effort to current and prospective customers among others. Odugbesan and Osuagwu (1996) perceived promotion as a decision and method of communicating all aspects of the organization’s product and services to reach the target consumer or audience. With the various definitions of promotion given above, the literature review will further be enriched with a brief history of the Nigerian telecommunication industry in recent times. This will thereafter be followed by various methods of promotion and their various application in the telecommunication industry.
NIGERIAN TELECOMMUNICATION INDUSTRY – A BRIEF HISTORICAL OUTLINE
A little History and industry statistics: The Nigerian telecommunications industry has experienced exponential growth in the last ten years, going from an active subscriber line of 400,000 and teledensity of 0.04% to an active subscriber line of over a 90million and teledensity of 64% as of July 2011. The country's telecom market has been described as one of the fastest-growing telecommunication markets in the world. The driving factor is the government’s robust policy which fully liberalized the sector about a decade ago when the story of progress and development in the sector really started to unfold. Nigeria is located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, and has a total land area of 923,768 square kilometers (356,669 square miles), making her the 32nd largest country in the world. Nigeria is made up of 36 states and the Federal capital territory (Abuja) with a population of over a 150million people making her the most populous nation in Africa. Thus we are a happy country that likes talking. Telecommunication services are critical to the development of all aspects of a nation’s economy, ranging from banking and education to agriculture and healthcare, etc. Nigerian communication commission is the body responsible for the regulation of the activities of the telecommunication industry. It was established by law in 1992 but commenced full market liberalization and sector reform in 2000. The national telecommunication policy which came into force in the year 2000, apart from giving an overall direction for telecommunication development, also ensured that policy would remain consistent with other national policies. There is no environment without market challenges and the telecommunication industry is not exempted. Operators in the Nigeria telecommunication industry will complain of inadequate power supply, Multiple Taxation, vandalization of facilities, and some other issues. While I want to say that the Nigerian government is taking very definite steps to address these challenges, such challenges are hardly strong enough to threaten the existence of industry operations, operations or threaten their annual returns. It is also interesting to know that some of these challenges are being turned into attractive business opportunities by the present administration. For instance, government policy on power generation is attracted quite a number of foreign investors into the country. Solving the problem of energy will boost the activities of the telecom operators reduce their headache and increase their returns.
METHODS OF PROMOTION
There are 6(six) main methods of promotion available from which management in the telecommunication industry can select a suitable mix for marketing activities. They include
Advertising Sales promotion Personal selling Public Relation/publicity Direct marketing Internet and online marketing
These six elements are called “promotional mix” in marketing which forms the basis for this study. It is the basic combination of promotional methods used by an organization for a particular product or service. It is common for a firm to use a combination of two or more of this mix of tools to achieve desired goals of the business and its product or service promotion, which is making a profit and increasing market share. A number of factors are considered in determining the promotional mix, a firm may employ.