Certain factors are beyond the direct control of the marketing manager and his company especially in promotion mix. These uncontrollable factors form a large part of the environment in which promotion must operate. They are (1) economic forces, (2) life-styles, (3) competition, (4) middlemen, (5) legal and ethical factors, and (6) intrafirm relationships.
1. Economic Forces
Demand for the product is not created by any promotion effort. The demand is already there, latent, and depends upon consumer needs and wants. All promotion can do is sharpen and direct existing demand toward a product or brand offerings of specific manufacturers.
Not only is it extremely costly to attempt to change demand, but such efforts are usually doomed to failure, as can be seen by the Ford Motor Company’s promotion of the Edsel, and the unproductive promotion of men’s hats in the face of declining demand.
Basic demand finds its roots in the needs and wants of consumers, and these have proved to be highly resistant to promotion efforts.
Other economic forces influence the willingness of people to buy products and thus influence the effectiveness of promotion. Income tax structures, employment levels, and credit availability fall into this category.
These forces can have positive or negative effects upon the promotion efforts of a particular firm and must be asserted in the light of the promotion program of each individual product.
A life-style is a particular way of living, of a whole population or a segment of one. One can speak of the life-style of a nation, a family, or a particular social class or age group.
These life-styles are beyond the control of the promoter, so he must adapt his promotion efforts to the life-styles of the groups with which he is trying to communicate.
Also, life-styles can and do change, although not normally over short time periods. But on occasion, the life-style of a group can change significantly between the planning of a promotion program and its inception. This may necessitate drastic, last-minute changes in the program.
With the wide proliferation and differentiation of products in the economy, promoters have turned to increasingly subtle and complex promotion programs.
Although price competition is still prevalent, especially at the retail level, non-price competition continues to be of paramount importance for a product differentiation, which may have taken months or years to develop and test.
The marketing manager, operating within existing laws, has little or no control over the actions of competitors. About all he can do is anticipate competitive actions and be prepared to deal with them.
He should constantly compare his product with competitive offerings to determine points of differentiation and relative strengths and weakness. Then, weakness in his product can be corrected and the most promotable features used in promotion programs.
Most manufacturers are not vertically integrated and must depend upon independently owned wholesalers and retailers to sell products. These middlemen are intermediate buyers and must be taken care of in promotion plans.
Typically, middlemen have a wide choice among products and can contribute heavily to the success of promotion programs on products carried. Their active support must be solicited and their objectives recognized when promotion programs are in the planning stage.
The lack of middlemen’s support for a promotion program can be a major obstacle to the success of a product.
Read Also: The Place of Promotion in the Marketing Mix
5. Legal and Ethical Factors
Legal and ethical consideration place constraints on the promotion program. There are federal, state, and local laws pertaining to promotion, and the marketing manager must operate within the framework of these laws.
Most laws affecting promotion have come about because of abuses by sellers. In areas in which no such laws exist, the marketing manager should strive to follow ethics that lead to acceptable behavior.
To do otherwise will antagonize substantial segments of the population and lead to further legal restrictions on promotion programs.
6. Intra-firm Relationships
Departments such as production and finance place further restrictions upon the promotion latitude of the marketing manager.
Financial officers ultimately determine the absolute size of the promotion budget, and the marketing manager must operate within this limit. Likewise, the productive capacity of the company places a short-term limit on the units of product available for sale.
Only an unwise marketing manager would knowingly put forth a promotion program designed to sell more product than the factory can produce.
Besides being economically unsound, such a program would generate ill will among both middlemen and consumers who were unable to secure wanted amounts of the product.
In summary, the marketing manager must also cultivate good relationships with other departments within the firm, such as personnel and shipping. This is generally done by coordinating promotion activities with these other essential company operations.