Advertising is one of the most commonly used means of creating public awareness on a product. Up until recently, advertising has been done through TV, radio and newspapers. However, with advancement in technology, businesses can now be publicized electronically. The world has become a global village and businesses are no longer limited to communicating only with customers within their geographical location. The invention of electronic mail (e-mail) has made it possible for businesses to market their products and services not only to customers living near, but also to those very far (Kent & Calishain, 2001, p. 104). In this way, customers have a wide range of sources from which they can choose their products.
For Grandma’s treats, the most effective promotional strategies would be target market and public relations. It is important to note that the general market is stratified into different groups based on variables such as gender, age and income level among others. Target market therefore involves finding a market within the larger market in view of these differences. With Grandma’s treats, consider the type of food being offered. If it offers confectionary products, the target market will be mostly children. However, if it offers proper meals, the target will be adults. Grandma’s treats should also take into consideration the income level of potential customers. If it is a medium to high income, the services can be relatively high-priced; but for low-end income group, grandma’s treats should be as affordable as possible.
Public relations are another potentially successful strategy (Hartline & Ferrell, 2008, p. 295). A business is always rated by the quality of its last service. Grandma’s Treats should capitalize on the power of the word of mouth. Ensuring top-notch product quality and service provision will cause its existing customers to talk positively about its products to neighbors, friends and workmates. Not only will it maintain the existing customer base, but it will also attract new ones. Public relation involves maintaining a good image in the public eye in terms of quality product and service delivery, keeping promises on when and what to deliver and treating customers with courtesy. In the same way, if just one customer is dissatisfied with Grandma’s Treats services, he/she will go and tell others, leading to a loss of customers.
Cross-media advertising and direct e-mail are strategies not suitable for this business. Advertising in the media requires quite a huge sum of money to implement. Advertising in different types of media like newspapers, radio and TV (cross-media advertising) will even cost more. This mode of advertising only works well for companies that are known across a wide region with a large amount of cash flow. In addition, with cross-media advertising, large masses of people are reached nationwide. As Grandma’s Treats is a local business, her intended market is most likely the local residents rendering cross-media advertising neither practical nor feasible.
E-mail is one of the most cost effective means of advertising as no operating costs are incurred and at the same time, many people are reached. All a company needs to do is maintain its mailing list. However, many such e-mails go unread because recipients often delete them before reading, terming them as fake and annoying. Efforts to advertise via e-mail will go unrewarded in that there will be no significant increase in sales. It is therefore not advisable to use this to promote Grandma’s Treats. Instead more focus should be put into public relations and identifying the target market.
The CAN-SPAM Act
Nowadays, most advertisements and promotions of new products are done via e-mail. However, not all email account holders may wish to have certain product promotion messages sent to them. They have the option of spamming such mail to block out future mails from the same sender. In the event of violation of the blockage by the advertising companies, the companies are liable to pay fines/ penalties as high as $16,000. It is the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, popularly known as CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 that lays out these rights and penalties. The Act was established to regulate the sending of commercial emails aiming to advertise and promote a product (Brown, 2007, p. 47).
The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits use of false header information. It should be clearly stated who the message is from and who it is addressed to. The Act is also against use of misleading subject lines. The subject of the message must be directly related to the message. It should be clearly stated that the message is an advertisement. As this Act relates to commercial messages, the address and location of the advertising company must be included in the message. In addition, at the bottom of the message, there should be an option to enable an e-mail account holder to unsubscribe from receiving the messages and once this is done, the company should respect the decision. Only if these conditions are met will e-mail spam be legal.
Sending spam messages is a very economical way of advertising, thus convenient. If left unregulated, companies would indulge by sending too many messages to their mailing lists. The Act does not expressly illegalize spam; it was enacted for the sole purpose of regulating electronic commercial advertising. The CAN-SPAM Act conveys the rights of e-mail recipients and obligations of the companies. An e-mail recipient may choose to continue receiving such messages, or to stop receiving them by unsubscribing from the list mailing list of a company, while companies are bound the recipient’s wish to no longer be part of the mailing list. The CAM-SPAM Act is therefore very necessary.
Brown, B. C. (2007). The Complete Guide to E-mail Marketing: How to Create Successful, Spam-Free Campaigns to Reach Your Target Audience and Increase Sales, Volumes. Ocala, Fla.: Atlantic Publishing Company.
Hartline, M. D. & Ferrell, O. C. (2008). Marketing Strategy. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.
Kent, P. & Calishain, T. 2001). Poor Richard’s internet marketing and promotions: how to promote yourself, your business, your ideas online. New York, NY: Top Floor Publishers.