• The cost of cotton promotion

    Chapter 3 - Cotton marketing - Cotton promotion 


    Cotton promotion activities can be segmented into high cost, medium and low cost activities. The perceived cost of cotton promotion activities is an important barrier that must be overcome when beginning a promotion programme. Without question, well-funded cotton promotion programmes have the ability to be more effective in a shorter period of time, but there are many activities that are inexpensive and effective.

    High cost promotion activities 

    • Developing logo programmes including support systems to make the promotion effective;
    • Consumer broadcast campaigns;
    • Consumer print advertising campaigns;
    • Programmes that involve certification;
    • Trademark programmes that require registration in many countries, including support and enforcement mechanisms;
    • Programmes that offer technical assistance;
    • Programmes that require exploratory, descriptive and causal research;
    • Programmes that require extensive travel;
    • Programmes that rely on contracting established professional task-specific firms;
    • Comprehensive public relations initiatives. 

    Medium cost promotion activities 

    • 'Cotton Day’ activities;
    • Tie-ins with cause marketing or retail efforts;
    • Cotton promotion workshops;
    • Trade print advertising (usually less expensive than consumer print);
    • Cooperative and payment-in kind-programmes;
    • Hang tag and label programmes;
    • Fashion shows;
    • Billboards and posters;
    • In-store product displays;
    • Trade booth. 

    Low cost promotion activities 

    • Logos as identification, with no claims or enforcement;
    • Sponsorship programmes;
    • Working with higher education;
    • Publishing in trade journals and conferences;
    • Printed educational materials;
    • Publicity;
    • Websites;
    • Design contests;
    • Visibility/speaking engagements;
    • Education. 

    Promotion strategy

    Most cotton promotion combines push and pull communication strategies.

    In a ‘push’ strategy, the product flow and the communication flow run parallel as seen in Figure 3.11. The push strategy has a direct customer focus, is usually based on manufacturing efficiency, and relies on the manufacturing supply chain to promote the product. The ‘push’ strategy relies on price.

    In a ‘pull’ strategy, the product flow follows a linear process, but communication flow moves forward in the supply chain. The focus is on the end-user, or on the final consumption product, and the unique selling proposition (USP) is usually based on consumer benefits, or retail selling issues. The ‘pull’ strategy also frequently requires front-loading the promotion, which can require a significant cash outlay.

    Most cotton promotion employs a combination of both the push and pull strategies, to get the benefits of both. This combination enables the promotion effort to convey messages directly to the consumer, while at the same time providing technical support to the supply chain, including product and service providers.


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    Cotton Exporter's Guide

    Brochure - African cotton promotion
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