1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Virtually every Nigerian business organization faces competition from other firms in the same industry, as they jostle for customers. The structure of the industry in which a firm operates, determines the degree, nature, and pattern of competition that will be prevalent in the industry.
Competitive failure will spell doom for an organization, since it will go into extinction. It is therefore highly imperative that a company’s marketing manager articulates and develops efficient and effective marketing strategies that will serve as the launching pad for the firm’s survival in a competitive environment.
Marketing strategies are a mix of marketing mix elements (employed to achieve marketing objectives) Christened 4ps by McCarthy (1975) namely product, pricing, place, (Distribution) and promotion. Advances in the study of marketing have further expanded the strategies, to include Mega marketing, Demarketing and Relationship marketing to the traditional marketing strategies of 4ps. Marketing strategies may therefore be fondly referred to 4ps plus DMR.
The promotional strategy is of great importance in the attainment of marketing goals and objectives in an industry because the competitive environment has made it almost impossible for firm to achieve its marketing objectives by merely producing its goods and making them available to the market.
In the Nigeria printing industry where competition could be described as monopolistic, each marketer is cautious of price changes and their effects on other competitors, there is also uncertainty of rivals’ reactions towards the firm’s marketing practices In this industry therefore, adoption of promotional strategy is a desideratum.
According to Osuagwu (1999) “the motive of a promotional programme is to move the buyer (consumer/client) from unawareness to the buying stage”. It does this by achieving the objective of providing information about a product or service to the market, stimulating demand, informing the market uniqueness of the product value by disseminating status-oriented messages as well as maintain stable sales for the firm.
The printing industry is service industry because it renders print services to clients. The printing industry in Nigeria can be classified into the small printers and the large printers. The industry has the following characteristics namely, free entry and exit, many firms are able to differentiate their services in whole or part, competitors focus on marketing segment of interest where they can meet customer’s needs and in a superior way in order to command a price premium.
The industry therefore rightly falls into the category referred to as monopolistic competition by Kotler.
Academic press plc, which is used as the case study one of Nigeria’s foremost printers with along standing reputation as the “Home of printing Excellence”. It belongs to the class of large printers and was established in July, 1965 as a joint venture business between Nigeria and his foreign partners. It is located at the highbrow industrial estate of Ilupeju, Lagos. It renders quality print services in the following product lines namely, calendars, Annual Reports, Books, Brochures, magazines, Journals, Newspapers, Labels, etc. It has close and strong competitors in the industry who are large printing firms. It parades a team of high skilled professionals supported by state of the art machine environment.
With an estimated 30% market share in the market segment of interest, Academy press plc is a clear market leader in the industry, and adopts promotional strategy to achieve its marketing objectives, among other marketing strategies. This study was undertaken to ascertain the extent to which the promotional mix elements being emphasized by Academy press plc have contributed to its competitiveness in the Nigerian printing industry.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The Nigerian printing industry is highly competitive because there are many firms in the industry. The large firms, which are mainly located in Lagos, have acquired latest technology and equipment which enable them to provide high quality print services to their numerous discerning clients.
The major players in the industry are Academy press plc, Modern Design press Ltd., MINAJ press Ltd., Eskade press Ltd., Wordsmithe press Ltd., Integrated press, Royal press Ltd., e.t.c. These large printers are mainly patronized by the blue chip companies and government parastatals who are very mindful of the quality of print services received, because that goes a long way in enhancing the corporate image of their various organizations.
These large printers have also tried to meet these challenges by moving abreast with the technological trend in the industry through procurement of the latest technology and equipment. The quality of print services rendered by this class of large printers therefore generally high and hovering about the same quality level. The pricing is also very high but Academy press charges higher than its competitors but still maintains leadership position and controls essential market share.
In an industry of this nature that is enmeshed stiff competition, the use of promotional strategy as a potent marketing tool for achieving marketing objectives becomes imperative. The extent to which this promotional strategy enhances competitiveness cannot be known if not studied. This researcher is therefore spurred to undertake this study in order to unveil the impact promotional strategy has on competitiveness in the Nigerian printing press plc (a leading printing firm and the only one quoted Stock Exchange) as a case study.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The research study was undertaken, to achieve the following:
(i) To determine the extent to which promotional strategy is emphasized by Academy press plc in the efforts to achieve its marketing objectives.
(ii) To determine the extent to which the promotional strategy being adopted by Academy press plc has contributed to its competitiveness in the Nigerian printing industry.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The Nigerian printing industry is highly competitive particularly among the class of large printers who jostle for print orders from the blue chip companies and Government parastatals. Survival in an environment of such competition calls for development and implementation of matrix of marketing mix elements that can aid the firm in outwitting other competitors and gain substantial market share.
The leading printing firms in Lagos have adopted various marketing strategies with varying degree of emphasis on the various marketing mix in their efforts to edge out their competitors. The marketing strategies variously emphasized are product strategy, pricing strategy, Distribution strategy, and promotional strategy among others.
In the midst of competition, Academy press still controls a substantial market share and it seems to researcher that Academy press places more emphasis on promotional strategy. If the result of this research work proves the emphasis on promotional strategy has helped the company to gain competitive advantage, it can then be concluded that promotional strategy contributes substantially to competitiveness in the Nigeria printing industry. In that case, recommendation can then be made of promotional strategy a potent marketing tool to be adopted by firms in printing industry in their quest to be competitive.
This study will also be of great significance to Academy press plc since its result will reveal to the firm marketing strategist how much its promotional efforts are contributing to its competitiveness in the industry. If the result proves that the promotional efforts make much impact, then the company needs to not only sustain the emphasis on promotional strategy but also even put greater emphasis than presently does. This study is also of significance to Nigerian business organization in general, because if the result proves that promotional strategy makes positive impact on competitiveness in their various firms to ascertain if it could enhance their competitiveness in their various industries.
Students, scholars, researchers of marketing will also benefit from this study, since it will add to the body of knowledge and literature in the field of marketing.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In carrying out this research work, the following questions were uppermost in the researcher mind.
(i) To what extent is promotional strategy being emphasized in Academy press plc towards the achievement of its marketing objective?
(ii) What are the promotional mix elements being emphasized by Academy press plc?
(iii) To what extent has promotional strategy being adopted by Academy press plc contributed to their competitiveness in the Nigerian printing industry?
The following null hypotheses will therefore be stated.
(i) Ho: Personal selling has no impact on the competitiveness of Academy press plc.
(ii) Ho: Advertising has no impact on the competitiveness of Academy press plc.
(iii) Ho: Sales promotion has no impact on the competitiveness of Academy press plc.
(iv) Ho: Public relations have no impact on the competitiveness of Academy press plc.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This researcher work covered the leading firms in Nigeria which incidentally are mainly located in Lagos, using Academy press plc as a case study. Apart from heritage press Ltd, Abuja, one cannot easily mention any printing firm outside Lagos that possesses the modern machinery and equipment as well as technical know- how capable of the kind of quality print services that the leading printing firm in Lagos can provide.
The choice of Lagos for location for well equipped printing firm is not far-fetched, since it is the commercial nerve of Nigeria and the former seat the Federal Government with concentration of blue chip companies and Government parastatals who contribute to the appropriate market segment that can afford to pay for the high quality print services being provided by the leading firms. These printing firms in Lagos also handle much of the large order jobs for the big companies and Government parastatals in other parts of the country.
The result of this study will therefore be reflective of what is obtainable in the Nigerian printing industry as a whole.
This research work was not carried out as extensively as one would have wished, due to time and financial constraints. This research was constrained by time factor because she is a very big company executive, and carrying out this research beyond the scope aforementioned would have escalated the cost, beyond the level affordable to the researcher.
The respondents on whom the questionnaires were administered, (being busy company executives) found it difficult to spare time to answer the questionnaires. They were therefore pestered, which entailed more time and energy being expanded by the researcher.