• Factors that can affect promotion

    Chapter 3 - Cotton marketing - Cotton promotion 

    Quality, quality consistency and quality assurance can influence promotion in a positive way. In a price competitive market, quality consistency makes it more difficult to identify differentiating features in the end product, but quality assurance adds value, and can be offered as a provided service. Quality also contributes to a promotion programme, in that it is easy to promote good quality, but nearly impossible to promote a product of inferior quality.

    Research and development and new product development functions have different objectives in the cotton and textile industries, but the focus and importance placed on each is critical to successful cotton promotion. Research and development indicates to the supply chain that, regardless of what improvements chemical fibres can offer, natural fibres can do the same and better. New products make those improvements tangible. Both research and development and new product development provide substance for cotton promotion.

    Economic conditions have a strong impact on cotton promotion, and cycles can be maximized. When the world economy is weak, that is the time for research and planning for better times. When the world economy is strong, cotton promotion has the advantage of its own profitability, but also the knowledge that the support industries will have the ability to consider investing promotional resources in a strong market showing growth and growth potential.

    When fibre prices dip, that is the time to aggressively promote cotton, and position the industry for when the prices firm up. Low fibre prices can mean that the textile manufacturing complex is probably adding new cotton-rich products, or is amenable to doing so, including changing blend levels in cotton’s favour. However, the reaction of many industries is usually to cut back on promotion during difficult economic times, and that is the case with cotton also.

    Fibre content labelling is an important issue, but difficult to fix. No matter how visible the promotion, if the consumer does not know what the product is made of, the consumer can’t buy what he or she wants. A research study conducted by the Strategic Planning Department of Cotton Incorporated in 2003, found that in an initial sample of 166 countries, detailed information could be gathered on 73 countries and there was no information for 76 countries. Only 59 of 166 countries (36%) have known labelling laws, only 49 countries (30%) have known apparel fibre content labelling laws, and only 47 countries (28%) have known home textiles fibre content labelling laws. In many parts of the world, the label is not a true indicator of the true fibre contents. This will affect fibre consumption negatively, even if fibre demand is influenced positively.

    The more a retail community within a country is organized, the easier communicating with the consumer will be, and the more likely it is that a cotton promotion effort can be implemented. Usually more developed countries have established communication channels. When retailers of cotton products are not organized geographically or demographically, especially in developing countries, the mechanisms for creating cotton promotion are not in place, and the retail level of the supply chain becomes an obstacle rather than a partner in the effort. Not being able to communicate through retail can be overcome by working with municipalities or by communicating directly with the consumer, but the chance of a measurable success is lessened.

    Changes in market share or in the competitive landscape will affect the level and type of promotion. Usually a significant drop in market share precipitates action by those affected, and that begins cotton promotion activity. 
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    Cotton Exporter's Guide

    Brochure - African cotton promotion
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