Globalization and technological advancements continue to revolutionize business structures and cultures across the globe. Competition for rapidly growing market base coupled with reducing purchasing power compel business firms to engage in several strategies to win hearts of the consumers. Internet and social networks sites rapidly takes centre stage in providing ample avenue for advertisement and marketing.
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In many cases, multi-national companies have conquered great market base through international advertising firms and proper use of social media. As competition grows, more firms offering similar service join the market fight for the consumer bases. In many cases, competition as pushed firms into exaggerated advertisement programs to lure and maintain competitive edge in the market.
In the history of business, advertisements always play a vital role in employing various tricks and tools to boost sales. In the past, professional marketers and salespersons played a vital role in marketing the importance of a firm’s product. However, with technological advancement and improved internet connectivity, soft-copy advertisement and online marketing present a noble advertisement conduit. Advertisement on social media goes beyond all borders as more populations become more technologically well informed.
Limited Time Offer Advertisements
In this form of advertisement, businesses develop a persuasive skill in winning the hearts of customers to purchase a particular product since it is available only for a given period. Given the fixed and short time frame for its purchase, the task of the advertisers revolves around frightening prospective buyers on the repercussions of missing such wonderful offers. The main objective of the drivers of these advertisements remains convincing the customers that they will never get such a product at such a lower price (Cameron, 2000).
Traders easily manipulate buyers with little track of their spending and expenses. However, in the current world where resources are minimal, many buyers continue to get hold of their spending habits with an emphasis on the checks and balances in purchases. Consumers, in many cases, develop personal and family budgets with strict financial goals. Fidelity to these systems ensures insufficient manipulation from the advertisements run by traders.
Similarly, the availability of information in social media ensures that consumers get the right market information about promotion in the market. From the internet media, consumers easily compare the prices of goods and services available in the market, especially those on promotion. This reduces the chances of bulk buying arising from misinformation on the availability of such goods later.
Supermarket chains and retailers greatly rely on loyalty cards to increase their sales. Apart from creating a bond between the traders and the customers, the loyalty cards creates a platform for the traders to analyze and understand the shopping trends within a given area.
For this reason, the loyalty cards enable traders to create the most attractive and catchy product offers depending on the purchasing trends among the consumers. To the consumers, the cards play the basic role of earning redeemable points as well as showing the kind appreciation from the traders (Wilson, 2007).
Similarly, the fact that the loyalty cards earn points for the consumers, they often overlook rival traders without loyalty cards but offering similar goods and services at lower prices. The bond between customers and traders with loyalty cards often increase in time of rewards and vouchers.
For this reason, customers often increase their purchases to earn extra points to win presents such as birthday vouchers. Loyalty cards create a “family-like bond” between customers and traders, leading to the feeling of a sense of belonging. In such a circumstance, most consumers prefer supermarkets and retailers with cards due to the availability of rewards in the form of loyalty points.
In as much as loyalty cards offer grounds for consumer brand loyalty to a given trader, it fails to offer adequate rewards that can generate sufficient loyalty. This implies that in cases where competing traders copy substantial rewards, chances of shoppers staying loyal to a single trader reduces. In the worst cases, consumers often acquire cards from different retailers and use them about their needs and want.
This cases scenario becomes worse when different traders offer equal rewards for the same amount of spending. Such linear and uniform rewards continue to compromise loyalty to traders hence reducing chances of manipulation.
Similarly, retailers face an uphill task in maintaining substantive reward programs due to the low profits margins. Given the fact that giving a relatively lower one percent loyalty reward to shoppers reduces profits margins by between thirty to fifty percent, traders often depend on “excess capacity and resource base with extraneous subsidies” to maintain their loyalty programs.
All these represent short-term solutions to the loyalty program menace, thus jeopardizing the ability of the traders to manipulate their customers through the loyalty card programs.
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Consumer Panic Capitalization
In cases of life scares and pandemic outbreaks, traders capitalize on the panic among the consumers to maximize the sale on relevant products. During the SARS and sine flu outbreak, antibacterial hand gels and sanitizer products registered large sales volumes as advertisement strategies diverted to hoodwinking consumers that the presented the best preventive remedy.
Lysol, an antibacterial product manufacturer, acknowledged in their website that engaging in proper hygiene and sanitation played a great role in the prevention of the swine flu. Even though the media for the spread of the flu remained elusive, the company registered high sales in the antibacterial products since their statement insinuated that the use of the products reduced the chances of contracting swine flu.
Marketing is a basic component of the business. It is responsible for the identification and anticipation of the consumer needs and wants, thus helping traders develop products that meet such wants. Since marketing represents the expression of the entrepreneurship skills and abilities of a given trader, innovation and unique execution strategies are necessary.
This creates an avenue for exploration and market capitalization in time of crises and panic among the consumers. Since marketing creates need-satisfying products in the market, an advertisement plays a vital role in delivery. It is, therefore, necessary for the traders in free-market economies to maximize from rare opportunities such as panics and paranoia, to improve their sales albeit in a short period (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2002).
The information available within the social internet media jeopardizes the ability of traders to manipulate consumers in times of panic and paranoia.
“I’m not saying that inanimate surfaces don’t spread disease. What I’m saying is that in the close relationship of a household, a lot of diseases is spread person to person, and cleaning inanimate surfaces with an antibacterial cleaner is not going to help” (Boone, 2012).
Availability of such information in the media runs down the propaganda from the traders on the ability of antibacterial soaps to reduce certain diseases.
Boone goes further to explain that it is sad that most of the researches showing a correlation between the reduction in the spread of infectious diseases among people using a certain antibacterial soap often draw funding from the manufactures of the soap in questions. Such information enables the shoppers to understand the real issues on the various advertisements, thus reducing manipulation.
In the narrow context, the competition represents a contest between two or more rivals. In the market place with great dynamism and a variety of players ranging from form suppliers, producers, traders, and consumers, competition becomes a relatively complex phenomenon that requires proper strategies to overcome.
In many cases, competitions from trader often override the complicated process of production, marketing, and sales (Eltschinger, 2007). The complex nature of market competition from the production segment to the sales department presents many opportunities for advertisers to strive to manipulate the consumers to maximize sales.
In the struggle to present the most attractive, highly appealing, and extremely influential products, advertisement firms engage in the psychological understanding of the various facets of consumer purchasing trends.
This helps in developing the essential motivating factor that drives consumers in large quantity purchases. Adverts targeting young children gain ground in social media as traders grow craftier to enjoy a competitive advantage over rivals. This factor results from the increasing purchasing trends among the children as well as the children’s nagging tendencies that often push parents in purchases.
Increasing competition jeopardizes traders’ balance of advertisements products and the real products for sale. To control manipulation, several governments continue to develop policies that regulate advertisements and penalize unscrupulous traders who manipulate shoppers. In Armenia, for example, the law prohibits “discrediting consumers that don’t use the advertised goods.”
Since this often offers many traders the best bargaining power, by instilling some guilt on the non-users, such a law ensures that the adverts remain free of any manipulation.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission wields power to compel advertisers to prove their claims. For example, id the advert indicates that “tests prove,” propagators of such an advert must show test results from certified doctors. The agency also stipulates that such information must remain in the public domain all the times. All these regulations help check manipulative adverts (Deceptive Advertising: Crossing the Line, n.d)
Arguments arise that traders should use all the ethical means of persuasion to maintain the market base. Since completion compels them to innovation and craftier persuasion means, consumers harbor have the power to control their purchasing tendencies (Kerin, Hartley & Rudelius, 2009). The ability of an individual to control what purchases they make lies in the shopping cultures and fidelity to one’s self-conviction on the purchasing priorities.
Negotiation Balance against Power of Traders
Negotiations balance the needs and aspirations of consumers against the power of the traders. For this reason, in cases, the amount of power to influences the behavior of consumers reflects the ability of traders to manipulate them. Since most products perform similar services and provide the same satisfaction to the consumers, the ability of traders to create a great perception about their product in the market remains important in manipulating consumer-purchasing decisions.
For example, in advertisement with restrictions on the number of recipients receiving a special offer in a given time, consumers often make impulse shopping to catching the offer presented. Similarly, in infomercials, in which an advertisement claims only a given number of callers get the offer, more consumer often makes calls to increase their chances of getting the offer (Kerin et al., 2009).
Traders often enjoy negotiation power in many ways. Based on the consumer needs, rivals in the market, scarcity of the product, and trader’s credibility, negotiation power comes in many forms. However, this remains just another manipulative device traders use to increase their sales at the expense of the consumer knowledge and purchasing skills. For example, in a city with only one gas station, often the trade seeks to maximize on the available market.
Prices may be high due to inadequate competitors even though the prices of gasoline remain constant at the source. Similarly, the gasoline trader may offer unique promotions on the service. To secure the entire city, the gasoline trader may engage in mass media advertisement to reach out to the entire population within a short time (Das, 2010).
Trader persuasion and negotiation power work well in systems under which consumers lack develop budgetary plans. Similarly, in scenarios where shoppers use hard cash for shopping, manipulation can easily take place. However, in the current world where financial planning and budget exists, manipulation reduces. The introduction of electronic money also help save the situation; electronic money reduces impulse buying, especially from the roadside hawkers. Advertisement represents mass-media sales. It is a communication of product details through mass media aimed at reaching out on a high number of consumers simultaneously.
Advertisers spend billions of dollars annually across the globe, encouraging, persuading, and manipulating consumers into lifestyles that have dire consequences on the purchasing cultures of the consumers. Even though these tendencies create great sales and earning to the traders, they create a culture of wastefulness and extravagance among the consumers.
Advertisements exploit consumer insecurities, panic, and ignorance, thus creating false needs with pre-defined counterfeit solutions. These manipulative designs create an insatiable dissatisfaction that fosters unlimited consumption. Advertisements continuously remain a manipulating factor among the traders to improve their sales.
Boone, L. E. (2012). Contemporary marketing, 2013 update. Massachusetts. Cengage Learning.
Cameron, D. (2000). Reengineering business for success in the Internet age: business-to-business E-commerce strategies. Charleston, SC: Computer Technology Research Corp.
Das, V. V. (2010). Information processing and management International Conference on Recent Trends in Business Administration and Information Processing, BAIP 2010, Trivandrum, Kerala, India, March 26-27, 2010 : proceedings. Berlin: Springer.
Deceptive Advertising: Crossing the Line. Web.
Eltschinger, C. (2007). Source code China the new global hub of IT outsourcing. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Hillstrom, K., & Hillstrom, L. C. (2002). Encyclopedia of small business (2nd ed.). Detroit, MI: Gale Group.
Kerin, R. A., Hartley, S. W., & Rudelius, W. (2009). Marketing (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Wilson, A. G. (2007). An investigation of how students experience corporate advertising in public schools. London: MacMillan Publishers.