This research work is centered on the effectiveness of personal selling in the marketing of cosmetics. It is necessitated by managerial uncertainty with regard to the cause of the aforementioned reduction in sales volumes and profitability in recent times. This managerial indecision created a room for its suspicion as to whether the sales force was effective or not, with a special reference on Bianca cosmetics company.
The data for the study were collected using questionnaires and oral interviews.
The hypothesis of the study were tested using chi – square. After analyzing and testing the hypothesis the researcher made the following findings.
1. The ratio of sales expense to sales volume is not high.
2. The ratio of sales calls to sales volume is high.
3. There is a high ratio between current and past performance of sales.
4. Most sales calls normally result into sales.
5. The management of Bianca cosmetics use straight salary plan as compensation.
6. The service of both polytechnic and university graduate were used carrying out the sales task of the organization.
7. Person selling has made positive impact on the profit returns of the company.
8. It was discovered that personal selling is at great benefit to customers.
9. It was discovered that the customers are satisfied with the marketing effort of Bianca cosmetics.
10 The customers believed that the sales people
are trained to carryout the marketing task.
11 The customers are of opinion that sales people are excessively persuasive in carrying out their Selling functions.
12. It was discovered that the price of Bianca product is commensurate with its quality.
13. It was discovered that the management of Bianca cosmetics normally grants its customers some credit facilities.
Based on the findings the researcher made the following recommendations:
1. Management should indulge in consumer’s research.
2. Management of Bianca cosmetics should endeavour to establish market intelligent department.
3. The relevance of effective sales force in the marketing of cosmetics cannot be over emphasized.
4. Sales force should improve on their after sales services.
5. Management of Bianca cosmetics should once in a while organize sales promotional and public relations activities for their sales force.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
According to L.A Rogers (1980) personal selling has become one of the vital promotional tools in marketing. He further buttressed the above proposition by stipulating that after all the theorists, planners must have had their moment and the predicaments associated with production, finance and labour have been resolved, then someone has to go out and knock at someone’s door and sell.
This revelation is apparently acceptable because a product cannot be produced at Enugu and is not available in place like Lagos where such product is highly needed. This is the significance behind the notion of sales contention that, they should investigate into the needs of consumers as well as filling them with satisfaction and maximize profit objectives.
A critical analysis of the above statement highlights the importance of the effectiveness of personal selling on the marketing of cosmetics. A product may be of extremely high grade but has no utility until it gets to the hands of prospective buyers, and the most appropriate route for passing products from manufacturing arena to the hands of potential buyers happens to be through personal selling.
Personal selling is dynamic, flexible and volatile. Traditionally, it is mainly associated with commercial transactions which has passed through distinct eras that are characterized as, the eras of the early traders the American peddlers and the era of the professional sales people. The early traders exist in most ancient cities. Some of these earliest states based the primary portion of their economics on trading with other communities. Traders typically have the ownership of the goods being sold, manufactured either by themselves or their immediate families. At times, they perform their marketing functions like, transportations, and storage, in addition to selling obligations.
The American peddlers of the colonial era enable them sell their goods to the then settlers. Most of these setters were immigrants who view their respective jobs as one of the available means of getting a fresh start in a new country. Professional selling started shortly after the world war 11. Under this seen, the economy switched from the previous situation of sellers’ market to that of buyers’ market in which goods were plentiful in supply. Due to the industrial revolution of the 17th century which encourage the birth of a number of new industries of which cosmetic industries were among.
The industries had varieties of product with moderate qualities. As at the said era, many industries operated under the philosophy “that the customers will buy any product provided it can be supplied”. Goods had to be marketed mainly for the facts that consumers now having choices and the selling adopted a radical change to reject this new seen.
Bianca cosmetic industry is located at no 1 Temple Avenue here in Enugu. It was established in 1996 by Mrs. Bianca Odinaka Ojukwu, (The managing Director). She was married to His Excellency Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu from Nnewi with children. She was the first beauty pageant. She started as a small-scale business, and later developed into a distributor. Her products are now distributed to places like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt etc. Infact, Bianca’s products are now nation wide products and even beyond. It has been a leading firm in the cosmetic industry in Nigeria with transparent image.
The progress and high demanded of the product is a partial brain behind the industry’s elevation in product capacity in previous years, and this also created rooms for the absorption of more workers in the divergent department, thus helped to reduce the high rate of social menace that would have associated the situation of mass unemployment. However, the afore mentioned industry which had attained the peak in the cosmetic manufacturing industry, has started experiencing a dwindling ground in its sales volume and market share.
According to an insider, this experience is accounted for by a number of recent developments. Some of are, the incessant increase in the number of industries currently involved in the manufacturing and sales of different types of cosmetics and besides of increase and efficient application of the divergent promotional tools.
Thus, the management of Bianca cosmetic is not skeptical regarding the wonders of personal selling in the marketing of cosmetics and that this promo tool could only justify its wonders in marketing of cosmetics only when it is effective to this end, the management is interested in knowing if the sales force is effective or otherwise. This is the core of this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Bianca cosmetic industry has started experiencing a reduction in its sales volumes in recent times. This low sales volume is caused by a keen competition that exist in the industry as regards the quality of the product, customer service, and effective utilization of promo tools. This is a direct opposite of what the company used to witness in the previous years. The reason for other serious problems like reduced profitability, low market share, and reduction in the rate of promotion as well as that of employment is still unknown to the management of the company. However, the company’s management is seriously questioning the effectiveness of the sales force.
The specific problems to be addressed are:
– Is the ratio of sales expense to sales volumes high or low?
– Is the ratio of sales to sales call high or low?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
What ever the nature and structure of an organization, personal selling has been acknowledge as the bedrock of its success over cut throat competition. Thus enabling the company to generate more funds for its operations.
The aforementioned fact is the primary reason behind the huge amount budget on regular bases into the sales departments. To this end, the objectives of the study are:
– To verify if the ratio of sales expense to sales volume is high or low to warrant further budget into the activities of the sales force.
– To see what can be done by management to change a situation of high cost of sales returns.
– To determine whether the ratio of sales calls to sales volumes is high or low.
– To see how a situation of high sales calls to sales volumes can be reversed.
1.4 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESIS
This study is meant to verify the effectiveness of personal selling in the marketing of cosmetics. To this regards, the following hypothesis are formulated:
1. H0: The ratio of sales expense to sales volume is not high.
Hi: The ratio of sales expense to sales volume is high.
2. H0: The ratio of sales calls to sales volume is not high.
Hi: The ratio of sales calls to sales volume is high.
3. H0: There is a low ration between current and past performance.
Hi: There is a high ratio between current and past performance.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
According to the public relations management of Bianca cosmetics, the company has been and will continue to demonstrate its corporate and social responsibilities. This is in justification with Brown’s contention of (1974). He said if a company is to continue ensuring its consumers patronage, that it has no other alternative than the maintenance of a clear cut competitive advantages, and managing the marketing mix in a manner that will ensure continuous customers satisfaction. Bianca cosmetics have been and will continue to strive harder in the area of corporate social responsibilities.
To this regard, the significance of this study is to fulfill the following:
– Make recommendation to the management of Bianca cosmetics based on how to overcome the problems of low sales volume as well as that of high sales expense to sales volume ratios.
– It is also a primary view of the researcher that both current as well as potential researchers will find this work of utmost importance with regard to directing and facilitating the bearing and solution to their problems.
– The study will also be of help to other companies in the same industry with Bianca cosmetics in their strife’s to surmount low sales volumes and profitability.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is very wide if it has to be carried out in all branches and all the departments in Nigeria. Thus, the study will cover only members of the sales department cost accounting sections as well as some members in the financial sector here in Enugu, which is located in No 1 Temple Avenue Enugu, Enugu State. The findings may not reflect the situation in the whole branches, but by and large, what happens in Bianca cosmetics here in Enugu can be said to apply to other branches.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Like I have said before, Bianca cosmetics are a cosmetic manufacturing industry with a lot of branches in most state of Nigeria. To this end, the study ought to have taken a wide dimension to make it more meaningful. However the researcher is compelled by time constraints to restrict her findings to only the headquarter here in Enugu. In the same vein, financial constraint has also played its role in reducing the assumed broad field of this study.
Finally, the non- chalet attitude of some of the respondents is another ground for the limitation of this finding. Some of the respondents were indifferent with regard to research questions put before them and in most cases; they tend to shy away from such fundamental questions. This indeed has restricted these findings to very narrow areas.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms used in this study should be taken to mean the following:
MARKETING: Marketing is defined as, a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they want and need through creating, offering and freely exchanging products of value with others.
PROMOTIONAL TOOLS: Promotional tools include all activities or strategies involved in communicating with a target market or audience. It seeks to inform, educate, persuade and influence the target audience. These messages could be sent through advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and public relations (the promo tools).
PERSONAL SELLING: Personal selling is a face –to-face presentation of sales. It is a personal contact between the seller and the buyer for the purpose of making a sale. It is characterized by verbal exchange, gesture which allows for flexibility and adjustment of messages to suit buyers needs, interest and reactions.
COSMETICS: Cosmetic is a substance for putting on the body, especially the face, to make it beautiful.