Sales Promotion And Consumer Preference For Noodles: A Study Of Noodles Eaten In Moua Of Ikwuano L.g.a. Of Abia State

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1.1 Background of the Study 
Sales Promotion is a tool that is used by the retailers or manufacturers to attract consumers to purchase more of their products. The outcome of sales promotion always result to the use of high amount of reserve, which attracts a lot of new customers and thereby resulting to additional increase in sales. In as much as all the marketing activities are linked with sales promotions, which results to increase in consumers’ purchases and thereby improving intermediaries or retailer’s efficiency and co-operation. According to Withier and Moore (2007), sales promotion remains indispensably in any marketing activities. Many purchase situations are so usual that shoppers conduct a very minor cognitive activity. Actually, it is hard to stimulate behavior such as brand switching or increasing in the number of units purchased The increasing interest in the use of sales promotion as a marketing tactic has resulted in an unusual growth of research in this area. Sales promotions consist of a huge variety of temporary planned promotion tools which is generating a preferred response from the consumer (Gilbert and Jackaria, 2002). 
Sales promotion has become an integral part of the promotion schemes of both manufacturers and retailers of durable as well as non-durable consumer goods. It consumes a very significant portion of the promotional expenses of marketers. In some of the developed countries allocation of promotion budget to sales promotion has far exceeded spending on advertisement. Brand managers are now relying heavily on sales promotion because its impact on sales is more direct, immediate, and quantifiable as compared to advertisement. Marketers use both price and non-price promotions either independently or in association with each other. Price promotions allow buyers to make some savings of money where as non-price promotions like premium add value to the offer. Point-of-Purchase promotions like feature advertisements and displays lead to impulse buying. The dynamic nature of sales promotion has inspired many researchers to turn their attention to study the various issues related to this element of promotion mix. Studies have been conducted on the planning, implementation and evaluation aspect of sales promotion worldwide. These studies are reviewed and presented briefly under suitable titles or headings like Studies on Consumer Promotion, Studies on Sales Force Promotion, Studies on Trade Promotion and Other Studies on Promotion.
Sales promotion is a marketing activity that adds to the basic value proposition behind a product (i.e. getting more for less) for a limited time in order to stimulate consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness or the effort of the sales force (Aderemi, 2003). This implies that, sales promotion may be directed either at end consumer or at selling intermediaries such as retailers or sales crews.
Sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a new product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. More so, sales promotion tend to work best when it is applied to items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands of demonstration (Kotler and Keller, 2006). Sales promotion includes communication activities that provide extra value or incentives to ultimate customers, wholesalers, retailers or other organizational customers. It also stimulates sales product trial (Kotler and Keller, 2006).
However, according to Keller (2003), consumer preference is the process by which the individual search for, selects, purchase, use and dispose of goods and services, in satisfaction of their needs and wants. The consumers’ behavior has a direct effect on the success of the firm and therefore must ensure that they create a marketing mix that satisfies consumers. The consumer mostly goes through about five steps in taking one purchase decision. These include Problem recognition, Information search, Evaluating of alternatives, Purchase decisions, Purchase and Post Purchase evaluation. Actual purchasing is only one stageof the process and not all decision processes lead to a purchase. Also not all consumer decisions will include all the stages but will depend on the degree of complexity and risk involved.
Instant noodles have become a common kitchen item in most Far East countries since its introduction in 1958. Noodles have a history of more than 2000 years in China and from there it has spread to Japan and Europe. However, it was not until 1958 that Nissin Foods of Japan introduced the first instant "Chicken Ramen" which was intended to be eaten anywhere. Instant noodle is called “Raumen” in Japan. "Raumen"is a noodle soup loved by all Japanese. The four components of raumen noodles, sauce, broth and toppings can create countless variations. The key ingredients in the sauce include salt soy-sauce and miso. The history of Raumen had not appeared by 1900.Since this year, Chinese cooks have started to make Chinese noodle in all over in Japan and Japanese people re-make those noodle for Japanese climate and favourite taste. In 1958 Raumen rapidly became popular among the Japanese people, this year; the first instant noodle in the world was sold. After that, invented Miso Raumen in 1961 and cup noodle in 1971. In the late 1980's Tonkotsu, or pork broth, marked an epoch in Tokyo. After that, people started searching for local varieties with new tastes. Among the cities spotlighted were Asahikawa in Hokkaido, Wakayama and Tokushima. Since the mid-1990, however, the focus has shifted from localities to individual chefs. And now there are over 200 thousands raumen restaurants in Japan. Raumen became Japanese national food.
In Nigeria, Noodles are popular among most of the citizens of the country. Noodles has become a common and popular category among the young and old as it identifies them with a quick satisfaction (Adeleke & Aminu, 2012). This has prompted Indomie noodles to become a household name. However the Indomie market is amongst the turbulent markets due to increased competition, environment, quality, promotion, brand name among others and all these factors affect the brand loyalty. Noodles like Dangote noodles, Cherie noodles, Golden Penny noodles are some of the other Noodles we have in Nigeria yet the common name attached to all is Indomie Noodles thus making Indomie noodles have the competitive edge over others.
The study seeks to find out the effects of these sales promotion tools, bearing the given demerits above, and also to see if Noodles producers can implement better sales promotion techniques especially directly to consumers. 

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