Impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance: A case of Vodafone Group plc

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Impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc

In the current era of cutthroat competition, it has become very difficult for the organizations to sustain and grow in the market. Different companies use different strategies and focusing on a variety of areas for improving their sales and performance such as quality, after sales services, promotion, customer relation, cost minimization, innovation, etc (Kitchen, 2013). Use of various promotional activities is also one of the major efforts by various organizations to enhance their profit and sales. A firm can use a wide range of promotional techniques such as advertisement, sales promotion, publicity, personal selling, online marketing, social media, etc (Gurau, 2008). There is a need of identifying that how various promotional activities have impacts over the sales and performance of a firm. By considering the need, the current research is going to be done by taking case of Vodafone Group plc, as it is also giving emphasis on the promotional activates with the intention of achieving the goals of maximizing stakeholder satisfaction through enhancing its sales and performance in the market.

Vodafone Group plc is British multinational telecommunication organization, which is providing services to the customers in around 30 customers through its own networks and in over 50 nations through partner networks. The firm has come a long way since making a first call on 1 January 1985 in UK. It is managing all the business operations throughout the world through its head office in London and the registered office in Newbury, Berkshire, United Kingdom. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a part of FTSE 100 Index. Along with this, it has a secondary listing on NASDAQ (About Us, 2014). Vodafone Group plc is the world’s second largest telecommunication organization behind the China Mobile. It is employing over 90000 employees, which are managed leaded by the chairman, John Southam and CEO, Vittorio Colao Currently, the firm is providing its services to more than 400 million customers in the world by allowing them to share their thoughts, feelings, images, videos, etc as soon as they created. Along with mobile services, it is also offering fixed line, broadband and internet services to the clients.

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Aims of the study

The aim behind this research report is to identify the impacts of various promotional activities on the sales and performance of the business organization.

Objectives

There are some objectives of which are required to be achieved with the help of doing this study. Some of the key objectives of the subsequent research are:

  • To identify the importance of promotional activities for Vodafone Group plc
  • To evaluate the impact of promotional activities on sales of the company
  • To analyze usefulness of different promotional activities for improving organizational performance
  • To recommend suitable strategies for improvements and achieve success in promotional activities

Research questions

Various research questions for doing this research on impacts of promotional activities on the sales and performance of a company have been listed as follows:

  • What is importance of promotional activities for Vodafone Group plc?
  • How promotional activities affect the sales of the company?
  • What is the usefulness of different promotional activities for improving organizational performance?
  • What strategies should be used for making improvements and achieving success in promotional activities?

Research Design and Methodology

Research design and methodology is one of the major parts of a research report as in this section various approaches and techniques used for doing the research have been discussed. It guides the researcher to successfully carryout the research and effectively achieve the goals aims and objectives of the study (Hakim, 2012). Various research methodologies used for evaluating impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc have been discussed as follows:

Research philosophy

Research philosophies are helpful in explaining that how the researcher is going to carry out the study. It is basically related with the development and nature of knowledge for the research and it is essential to select appropriate research philosophy to accurately collect the data and successfully achieving the research objectives. There are mainly two kinds of research philosophies i.e. Interpretivism and Positivism, which are used by various researchers for doing their studies (Saunders, 2003). In the subsequent research report, there will be a use of interpretivism philosophy, as the research is of qualitative nature and there will be need of doing specific study. On the other hand, the interpretivism philosophy is based on the naturalistic methods, where it is believed that it is impossible to have complete understanding of the whole universe. Further, this philosophy is based on the observation of general theories and their patterns, where it is assumed that accurate findings are possible only through subjective interpretation of subject (Johnson and Christensen, 2010). By considering all these factors under Interpretivism philosophy, the researcher will successfully identify the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc.

Research approaches

Research approaches are helpful for a researcher for improving the worth of a research as they clarify the expediency of the research. They explain that how the study will be conducted, which supports in collecting and analyzing the data to get expected outcomes. Basically, there are two kinds of research approaches viz. Inductive and Deductive approaches (Gabriel, 2013). The deductive approach is usually an aimed and testing theory, which begins with a hypothesis, whereas an inductive approach is based on the concerned with the development of new theory and find out something new from the information collected so that it uses research questions. Further, deductive approach is quantitative nature and inductive approach is quantitative nature (Williams, 2011). The current research is of qualitative nature as its topic is identifying impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance so that use of inductive approach will be suitable here. With the help of using this approach, the scholar will be able to deeply comprehend the context of the research as well make adjustment as requirements while carrying out the research.

Research design

Research designs also hold a key position in the research, as it is a systemic plan to study a scientific problem, which defines the type of the study. There may be different kinds of research designs for different studies such as descriptive research, explanatory research, casual research, exploratory research, etc (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009). Here, in the current study, there is a need of identifying cause and effect relationship between the promotional activities and sales of Vodafone Group plc. The casual research is suitable for identifying the causes and effect relation between two or more variables so that it will be used to identify the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance in the firm.

Further, on the basis of nature, there may be two kinds of research designs i.e. qualitative and quantitative researches (Creswell, 2003). Quantitative studies also known as structured where statistical analyses are used for identifying the expected outcomes. On the other hand, qualitative researches are also known as unstructured and they are based on general theories (Maxwell, 2012). The study on identifying the impacts of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc will be qualitative research as there is need of providing insight into the setting of a problem and generating ideas to uncover common treads in the thought.

Data collection

Another important part of a research is collection of data, which can be collected through a variety of sources. Various sources of collecting information and data for doing a study can be categorized as primary and secondary sources. Primary data can be collected with the help of different methods like questionnaires, face to face interview, telephonic interviews, observation, etc. On the other hand, secondary data for a study can be collected through existing literatures including books and journals, newspapers and magazines, online articles, etc (Primary and secondary sources, 2012). In the current research, both primary and secondary sources will be used for collecting required information. For collecting primary data to identify the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance, there will be use of questionnaires, which will be sent and received after filled by the employees of Vodafone Group plc through e-mails. Whereas, required secondary data for the study will collected through books, journals and online articles associated with the topic of the research. Use of secondary data will be helpful for saving time as well as costs in data collection as well as it will work as basis for the collecting and analyzing primary data (Saunders, 2003). Further, primary data will be helpful for the purpose of getting fresh and actual information to get accurate results as well as to enhance the reliability and relevancy of the study.

Sampling

In the research of identifying impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance in Vodafone Group plc, it is very difficult to involve all the employees of the company, as there are more than 90000 employing working in the organization at different geographically locations so that it is almost impossible to reach all of them as well as it will need huge amount of time and money (About us, 2014). For solving this problem, a sample out of all the people working in Vodafone Group plc will be selected with the help of using judgmental random sampling technique. Only senior employees of the company having sufficient knowledge about the company will be selected in the sample. Further, the size of sample should be appropriate as per the nature of research so that in the sample 100 respondents will be selected. It will help the researcher to easily collect relevant and enough information for doing primary research to identify the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance on business enterprise (Walker and et. al., 2011).

Data analysis

After collecting data through different sources, it is essential to analyze the collected data by using appropriate methods to get findings and move towards outcomes of the research. There different techniques for data analysis such as qualitative approach, quantitative approach, etc (Creswell, 2003). Here, the current research will be of the qualitative nature, it will be suitable to use qualitative approach of data analysis. In the data analysis section, different themes will be prepared and on the basis of these themes both primary and secondary information will be analyzed. Use of this technique of data analysis will be helpful in doing the investigation in right manner and successfully achieving the expected outcomes i.e. evaluation of the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc.

Ethical considerations

At the time of doing any research, it is essential for a researcher to consider various ethical aspects to ensure the reliability and feasibility of the study. In the current research on the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance, different ethical aspects will be considered to maintain feasibility and credibility of the research (Stead and Gilbert, 2001). For doing this, it will be ensured that the any confidential information about any respondent and their responses will not be disclosed at any cost. Along with this, it will be ensured that there is no kind of biasness at any stage of research process, which can affect the outcome of the study. Further, all the secondary data will be collected thorough reliable and authentic sources only without trying to access restricted and confidential data through any source (Gregory, 2003). Further, the complete research will be performed very genuinely with the help of not making any harm to the company and following laws and policies of Vodafone Group plc so maintain ethical standard of the research.

Limitations of the study

Even though, the research will be carried out through use of most suitable approaches, there are some limitations related with the current study on impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance in Vodafone Group plc. Such as, available time and financial resources for conducting the research are limited, which will lead to effectiveness of the study. Further, due to lack of time and money, many of the useful but costly sources of secondary data are not used and less numbers of employees have been involved in primary research, which may increase affect the accuracy and reliability of the study.

Efficient use of resources

The research for identifying the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc, as range of research questions have prepared, which are:

  • What is importance of promotional activities for Vodafone Group plc?
  • How promotional activities affect the sales of the company?
  • Which is the key factor that affects the sales and performance of the organization?
  • What is the usefulness of different promotional activities for improving organizational performance?
  • What strategies should be used for making improvements and achieving success in promotional activities?
  • How the behavior of customers is affected by promotional activities of Vodafone?

Further, a variety of resources have been used for doing the study on identification of impacts of promotional activities on the sales and performance. Financial resources and time are the key used resources to the research questions and due to their limited availability then utilized very efficiently along with other resources. Such as, the questioners are prepared and send to various respondents through e-mails by the researcher himself for minimizing and avoiding additional expenses as well as for doing the research in minimum time. Internet on the researcher’s laptop has been used to access online articles along with relevant books and journals for collecting secondary data. Along with this, all the activities to find out the solutions of research questions have been performed in a systematic and planned manner to successfully complete the research in available time and other resources including finance and human resource.

Proposed research investigation

The research investigation has been successfully undertaken as agreed in the proposal. As stated in the proposed investigation data has been collected with the help of both sources i.e. primary and secondary sources. Primary data has been collected with the help of questionnaires, which contains seven close-ended and one open-ended question related with the study besides the basic personal details of respondents. For taking sample, 100 respondents are selected on the basis of judgmental sampling method and all of them are senior employees of Vodafone Group plc only. As mentioned in proposal, the questionnaires are sent and received through e-mails. Questionnaires are prepared in such a manner that respondents can easily give responses and without involvement of any kind of biasness.

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Data collection

Data collection is the presses of colleting various kinds of required information and data through different sources. It is essential to collect all the information appropriately and from the reliable and suitable sources to get optimum results of the research. Further, the research has to identify appropriate sources of data collection so that all kind of needed information to find out the optimum solutions of the research questions can be properly accumulated. For doing research on the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance on Vodafone Group plc, there is a need of a variety of information so that researcher has collected relevant data through both kind of sources of the data collection viz. primary sources and secondary sources.

For collecting primary data, the researcher has made a survey of employees of the company with the help of questionnaires. In the survey, the data has been collected from 100 senior employees of Vodafone Group plc, who have enough knowledge about the functions of the organization. The employees to be involved in the data collection methods are selected through judgmental random sampling techniques. Further, they have been mailed the questionnaire and received with their responses through e-mails. With the help of collecting data through questionnaire, the researcher has got fresh and accurate information for finding accurate results and enhancing the reliability and relevancy of the study.

On the other hand, secondary data has been collected through books, journals and online articles associated with promotional activities and the sales and performance of an organization. For collecting secondary information, only reliable and authentic sources of information have been used so that reliability and credibility of information can be successfully maintained. With the help of collecting secondary data, the researcher become able to save time and cost in collection of data for understanding the research background and getting findings and expected outcomes. It has greatly helped the researcher to easily collect relevant and enough information for doing research to identify the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance on Vodafone Group plc.

Evaluation of the research

The current study on the impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc is very effective, as various techniques and approaches used in the research are best suitable as per its nature. The interpretivism philosophy and inductive approach have been used under the research paradigm has been used as they are suitable as per the qualitative nature of the research and for making focus on the specific study. These approaches are based on the observation of general theories and their patterns so that accurate findings through subjective interpretation of subject are got (Johnson and Christensen, 2010). Further, there is the need of identifying cause and effect relationship between the promotional activities and sales of Vodafone Group plc in the current study so that making use of casual research design along with doing qualitative investigation is found suitable here.

Along with this, there is a requirement of an extensive investigation so that it has found appropriate to collect various information through both primary and secondary sources. The sample for the survey includes 100 senior employees so that size of sample is appropriate. They are selected through judgmental random sampling in such a way that they have exactly represented all the employees of Vodafone Group plc and effectively participated in the study. Further, only relevant and authentic sources of secondary data are used so that the findings of the study are accurate and reliable. The research is of qualitative nature so that use of qualitative and thematic approach for analyzing the collected data is found suitable and effective findings are received from the investigation (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009). At the time of conducting the research, proper consideration on maintaining ethical standard has been given with the help of maintain privacy, avoiding biasness, following various legislation, rule and policies of the company, etc. Hence, it can be said that overall research was carried out in appropriate manner by using relevant theories and analyses Even though, most suitable approaches have been used in the study, but limitation of time and financial limitations has affected the reliability and accuracy of the outcomes of the study.

Interpretation and analysis of results

The interpretation and analysis of the results have been made through thematic analyses, which are explained as follows:

Theme 1: Vodafone is using promotional techniques for promoting its products and services

From the secondary research, it is found that there is a very tough competition in the global business environment so that it has very difficult to sustain and grow in the market (Blaise and Carlton, 2007). Due to this reason various firms operating at international level have to make focus on their marketing strategies as well as require promoting their products and services to successfully operate in the market. Further, Vodafone Group plc also makes huge investment on its promotional campaign for promoting its products.

With the help of analysing the responses given by the employees of Vodafone Group plc, it is identified that almost all of the respondents of the company, excluding 2 respondents, have said that the company is promoting its products and services with the help of using an effective promotional campaign. The reason behind maximum positive responses is huge investment made by Vodafone Group plc on its promotional strategies to achieve competitive advantages.

Theme 2: The Company promotes all of its products and services

In the current era, most of the business organization offers a range of products and services to their customers as well as continuously increasing their product ranges with the intention of business expansion and achieving competitive advantages (Kaser, 2012). By considering the level of competition, many of the firms have to make individual promotions for their products and services. Vodafone Group plc has a wide range of products and services including calling service, massaging, internet, broadband, etc. and it promotes them with the help of using suitable promotional strategies.

Further, with the help of the analysis of data collected through questionnaire it is found that Vodafone Group plc promotes different products and services. Majority of the respondents i.e. 33 out of 100 employees have said that main focus of promotional activities of the company is on its internet services. Along with this, calling services and broadband is answered by 25 and 24 respondents respectively. Further, 18 employees have replied that Vodafone Group plc is mainly focusing its promotion on the massaging services. Hence, it can be said that out of Vodafone’s four major products and services i.e. calling, massaging internet and broadband, the company mainly focus on its internet services.

Theme 3: Sales of the firm’s one product or service differ from others

Many authors and industry experts have claimed that most customers of the telecom industry tend to purchase products of players of the industry which provide them with internet services. It is seen that today the customers do not just buy products of mobile telecom companies just for the connection and calling services they provide. Instead they want to avail the value added services (Semenik, Allen and O'Guinn, 2011). They cited the main reason behind it that calling is not the kind of product customers want to buy, rather for them, value added services such as mobile internet, caller tunes, etc is more important.

During the analysis of data collected for present report, it was seen that nearly 45% of the respondents said that customers subscribe for a connection with Vodafone not to enjoy the superior network for calling, but to enjoy the fast internet services which the company provides. According to respondents, since the company gives more attention to promoting internet services to customers, their sales are also very high. But only 15% of the total respondents said that they subscribe to the company so as to enjoy messaging services.

Theme 4: Sales and performance of Vodafone is affected by a variety of factors

Researchers and academicians have stated that sales of organizations are significantly affected due to a wide variety of factors present in both internal and external environments. Sales are such an aspect of business operations that can be subjected to a wide range of factors present in the environment (Hurtz and et. al., 2007). According to various authors there are numerous such factors. It includes the likes of promotions, prices and quality of the product, brand image, etc. In this regard they have stated that sales for an organization are of a very volatile nature and are dependent upon factors stated above.

During the analysis of data collected for this report it was observed that according to majority of employees of the company, one of the major factor which affects sales of Vodafone is that of the promotional activities carried out by organization. According to them, efforts made by the organization in this regard over the years have paid off their results and have been very beneficial. In this context, it can be said that promotions carried out through various channels and mediums stimulate and attract customers, thus making them purchase a product or service.

Theme 5: Vodafone’s sales is continuously increasing

In the telecommunication industry, the sales of company are dependent on the number of subscribers i.e. customers, which is further affected by population and quality of services (Sikdar and Vel, 2010). Various telecommunication firms are providing high quality services to their customers and there is high growth rate of population, which leads to increase the number of customers and sales telecommunication organizations including Vodafone Group plc. Further, with the help of analyzing the financial reports of the company, it is found that sales of Vodafone Group plc are increasing with a steady rate and it is achieving competitive advantages.

In the survey of senior employees of Vodafone Group plc, when they are asked about the trend in sales of the company, majority with 85 out of 100 respondents have said that the sales of Vodafone Group plc is continuously increasing. On the other hand, 15 employees said that sales of the organization have not been changed and it is stable since last few years. But, no employee has said that there is decrease in the sales and profit of the company. Hence, it is clear that sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc is continuously increasing with a constant rate, but there may be variety of factors behind increase in the sales of the firm.

Theme 6: The Company uses different promotional activities

In the era of rapidly changing business environment, there are a variety of promotional strategies such as advertisement, sales promotion, publicity, personal selling, online marketing, etc, which can be used by various business enterprises to promote their products and services (Miles, 2013). By considering the competition level, it has become essential for the organizations to use integrated promotional strategies to achieve competitive advantages and maintain position in the market (Fuchs and Diamantopoulos, 2010). Vodafone Group plc is also using an integrated approach as instead of using an individual promoting activity, it promotes its products and services through use of a combination of different techniques including advertisement, sales promotion, publicity, and online marketing.

From the primary research it is found that out of different methods of promotion used by Vodafone Group plc, online marketing is mostly used by it. As per the responses given by various employees of the organization, 36 have said that online marketing is the mostly used, 29 have voted to sales promotional strategies, 22 have supported advertisement, and only 13 have said that publicity is the most used is the most used promotional method by Vodafone Group plc. Hence, the company uses all of the promotional activities very effectively but key focus is given to the online marketing.

Theme 7: Various promotional activities have different impacts on the sales and performance of Vodafone

There is a great relation between the promotional techniques and sales of a company, as various promotional techniques like advertisement, sales promotion, publicity, personal selling, online marketing, etc affect the sales and performance of the organization (Aydin and Ziya, 2008). Further, a variety of promotional techniques are used by the business organizations for promoting their products and services, which have different impacts on the sales and performance of the company. It is found that impact of one promotional technique may differ from impacts of other activities, so that these impacts should be effectively considered at the time of developing promotional campaign of the company.

On asking about the impact of four major promotional on the sales and performance of Vodafone Group plc, different respondents have given different responses. Majority of the employees i.e. 40 % respondents have said that online marketing have major impacts on the sales of the company. The main reason behind this is that Vodafone Group plc gives major emphasis on its online marketing as compared to other techniques. Further, advertisement, sales promotion and publicity are also replied by other employees i.e. 28%, 21% and 11% respectively. Hence, out of all the promotional methods of Vodafone Group plc, online marketing have the major impact the sales and performance of the organization.

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Recommendations

Even though, the current research has been completed successfully along with getting accurate findings, but there are a variety of areas and possibilities of further improvements in any study. At the time of doing this research, the research has faced a variety of problems due to lack of availability of time and financial resources. He has not become able to successfully complete the research very extensively, as it was not possible for him to access a number of costly but important sources of data, so that the accuracy and credibility of the research is not achieved up to higher level. So that it is recommended that make proper arrangement of sufficient financial resources before carrying out further studies in this area. Along with this, due to limited time, a small size i.e. few number of employees are only involved in the investigation so that there may be changes of biasness and sampling error, which affect the accuracy of the study. Thus, it is recommended that in further studies the researchers should give more time for doing extensive research as well as they should involve more number of respondents customers and employees from other business organization also to enhance the accuracy and reliability of the research with the help of reducing sampling error and biasness and getting accurate findings. Along with this, in the future studies, a researcher can take help of other researchers also for conducting extensive and more effective research on impact of promotional activities on the sales and performance of an organization or an industry.

References

  • Blaise, D. and Carlton, M., 2007. The Power of Promotional Products: How to Motivate Propects, Reward Performance and Create Targeted Promotions with Residual Value. Maruki Book.
  • Creswell, J., 2003. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. SAGE.
  • Gregory, I., 2003. Ethics in Research. Continuum.
  • Hakim, C., 2012. Research Design: Succesful Designs for Social Economics Research. 2nd ed. Routledge.
  • Johnson, B. and Christensen, L., 2010. Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. UK: SAGE.
  • Kaser, K., 2012. Advertising and Sales Promotion. Cengage Learning.
  • Maxwell, J., 2012. Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach. SAGE.
  • Saunders, M., 2003. Research Methods for Business Students. South Africa: Pearson Education.
  • Semenik, R., Allen, C. and O'Guinn, T., 2011. Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion. Cengage Learning.
 

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