Sales Promotion goes hand-in-hand with advertisement and many manufacturers/dealers operate contest, quiz, etc., offering attractive prizes to winners. In most cases, the contestants are required to enclose the bill, labels, cartoon, etc., along with the entry forms to qualify for entry in the contest. In some cases, gift or discount coupons form part of the advertisement that could be exchanged or redeemed with the dealers/retailers for a discount on purchase of the product.
During festive seasons, special discounts are announced and products sold at most competitive prices that help consumers get bargain deals. All these and many other Sales Promotion campaigns result in both the retailers/dealers stocking the items and inhibit the customers to make trial purchases. In other forms of Sales Promotion campaigns, door-to-door selling of new products and offered at prices lesser than the market with or without free offers motivate the customers to try the product and later patronize.
It would not be enough to manufacture products and advertise in order to create customer awareness and enquiries. It is most important to make the product available to the targeted customer at the nearest retail outlet so that the customer could purchase the product. This function is known as MERCHANDISING or DISTRIBUTION. The principal aim of Merchandising is to ensure that company products are made available with as many outlets as possible and also at close proximity to the customers. The retail dealers must be assured of adequate supply of the product range through a channel of distribution like distributors, stockiest, wholesalers and/or company depots.
In industries that cater products which require installation, commissioning, servicing and after-sales-support, SERVICING and CUSTOMER SUPPORT become secondary function forming part of the sales contract and considered to be part of Marketing responsibility towards fulfilling customer requirements, especially during the warranty period obligations
Thus, Marketing is an integrated activity comprising of various functional aspects like Planning, Market Research, Sales, Distribution/Merchandising, Advertising, Sales Promotion. Servicing and related activities and is a complex subject by itself.
Sales is one of the primary and core function of Marketing and gains importance in so far as identifying customer wants and needs and meeting with the requirements through company’s products and services by virtue of specific and innovative strategies and plans are concerned and is aimed at company’s productivity, profitability and growth. For example if you look at website hosting providers like Hostgator or Bluehost they offer big returns to affiliate marketing agencies to promote their products to gain market then later years they will make money from customers. See here a Hostgator coupon code website offering 1 cent first month hosting coupon to get new hosting relationship with the client.