Analysis of the effects of promotional tools and strategies on the pharmaceutical firms' sales performance in Nairobi
The purpose of the study was to investigate how one of the marketing mix elements, promotion is utilized in the marketing of the pharmaceutical products in Nairobi. The main objective of the study was to explore the extent to which pharmaceutical marketers can utilize promotion tools and strategies to improve knowledge and trust among medical professionals and the public to enhance demand and thus sales for the pharmaceutical products in Nairobi. The descriptive research design was applied in study in order to provide an accurate picture of the application of promotion tools by the pharmaceutical firms. The study population consisted of all 81 pharmaceutical firms based in Nairobi, from which a census was applied. The data collection instrument was a questionnaire with structured and unstructured questions which was completed by the sales and marketing managers in the respective pharmaceutical firm studied. Questionnaire covered questions on several issues including the choice of the promotional tools, reasons for promotion, firm's range of products, and the importance the firm attach to the promotion. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) for tabulation and statistical analysis was utilized. The study revealed that commercial detailing was commonly used tool of promotion at 60% followed by drug sampling at 33%. In choosing the promotion tools and strategies pharmaceutical firms indicated that target market, type of the product and competition with mean scores 4.27, 4.47 and 4.4 respectively are the main factors of consideration. Findings also revealed that 80% of the firms indicated that target market was extremely important factor in choosing a promotion strategy. The researcher concluded that commercial detailing and drug sampling are the two most important promotion tools in the pharmaceutical industry. They are drivers in the promotion and adoption of new products in the market Commercial detailing is very influential on prescribing practices of doctors and in some cases they serve as key source of drug information. In addition to providing information, drug reps are also in a position where they can employ subtle influence to encourage medical practitioners to change their prescribing practices. The use of internet technology is poorly embraced by pharmaceutical firms in Nairobi yet it is the driving force for the future business communications. Review on past studies on leading world pharmaceutical industries have shown that much of their promotion efforts are carried out via the internet With fiber optics cable, digital terrestrial television and relatively literate Kenyan pharmaceutical industry stands to benefit from the internet technology. The firms should take more active role in sponsoring continuous medical education programs so as to establish closer working links with key stakeholders in the industry. The firms should strengthen their marketing efforts in the neighboring countries, COMESA region and beyond. Countries such as Southern Sudan, Rwanda, Eastern Congo offers rich grounds for pharmaceutical marketers in Kenya. The success of promotion tools and strategies adopted should be measured to determine their level of effectiveness. The researcher recommends customer satisfaction and increase in sales as ways of determining the success of the strategies adopted.