The impact of direct marketing on sales performance: The case of seed potato co-op
Mukorombindo, Beatrice Ratidzo
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The general conclusion from literature is that direct marketing strategies namely face-to-face selling, direct mailing, catalogue selling, telemarketing, online marketing and direct response advertisements if carried out properly result a number of benefits which include increased sales and profitability, increased loyalty and business with existing customers and expansion of business to new customers. However, most of the existing literature in direct marketing mainly refers to direct marketing experiences in other countries like North America, Europe, Asia and Australia . Therefore, the aim of this study was to was to attempt to fill the research gap by investigating the the impact of direct marketing on sales performance in the potato seed industry in Zimbabwe. This research was carried out as a single case design of the Seed Potato Co-op (SPC). The data was obtained from face to face interviews of the employees and customers of the Seed Potato Co-op who had been employed or affiliated with the company for a minimum of 3 years .The questions asked were semi-structured and provided rich, in depth information. A qualitative research philosophy was followed and the data that was gathered was analysed through data displays in the form of content analytical summary tables The study found that there was no formal marketing plan at the Seed Potato Co-op which resulted in poor communication of marketing activities in the company. The company also only practised one major direct marketing strategy and there was a weak relationship between direct marketing and sales performance. The study showed that several constraints which include a lack of properly trained marketing personnel, no dedicated finances or marketing budget, a lack of a proper customer database and no proper blueprint for carrying out marketing activities inhibited the Seed Potato Co-op from fully undertaking direct marketing during the period under study. In view of the above, the study recommended that the company to carry out formal marketing planning to give direction to their marketing activities. It was further recommended that the Seed Potato carry out direct marketing using several direct marketing strategies, and also generate, and maintain a customer database.