1.1 Background of the Study
The recent phenomenon in the marketing environment in Nigeria has resulted in a drastic turnaround from a production oriented market to a buyer oriented market. It has demonstrated the importance of recognizing a remarkable change in buyer behaviour, and the need of every production company to reappraise its marketing system and adapt to the new environment and even exploit it. A key operation in this marketing system is DISTRIBUTION. Distribution is a operation marketing tool representing one of the four arms of the marketing mix, oen referred to as “4Ps”. These 4P’s are: PRICE: This measures the ability of the buyer to purchase the products. PRODUCT: (quality and quantity): this includes all the attributes to make the product attractive for exchange purpose. PROMOTION: Promotion involves creating awareness about the product, educating the potential and actual consumers about the product, and at purchasing the product or even reducing dissonance. PLACE: (Distribution) the core of the matter being distribution is very important because the place developing the product, creating awareness and the product, creating awareness and putting or displaying the product at the best price will be defeated if it is not made available at the place that exchange can take place. The marketing mix thus comprises the decision element in company’s marketing programme, the total packages that determine the degree of marketing concept. The “4P’s” summarises clearly the major ways the firms can influence sales. We are concerned with the place variable. This therefore, pinpoints the importance of distribution in achieving available products. This availability of product bridges the gap of space and time between the production and consumption.
Before a production could achieve the desired satisfaction, it must get to the consumers the way they want it, thus breaking all the barriers or gap between the production areas to the consumers. Schare and Smith 1980 (page 386) saw the desired satisfaction, it must get to the need for effective distribution when they remarked that the most innovation product at an attractive price is worth absolutely nothing if it is not available to the buyers when they want it. Product availability then is one requirement of an exchange. Therefore, marketing managers all around the world appreciates the role the distribution play in providing place, utility or satisfaction to the product is available, the value is therefore enhanced. So, distribution can be seen to increase the time of utility of a product by putting down the distance between the parties to the exchange. Nigeria Bottling Company Plc (NBC) practices the traditional distribution system that is their products are distributed through various types of middlemen like wholesalers, retailers to customers, direct from the company or through the salesmen. As successful marketing operation must tell an organization where they would result to be on a long-term basis, “that is why it is often said that marketing operation is a continuous process”, it must rest on a carefully but well-planned action (Baker 1995: 17). The operation aspect of the plan should be based on what is known of the competitor’s strength and weakness, the casual characteristics of the battle ground the friendly or hostile sentiment of those territory, and course, the nature of resources available to the organization (Stanton 1982: 35). In the business organization, there is safety on activity where the marketing must not therefore make the right decision about the four components of the marketing mix-product price promotion place/distribution through the employment of marketing operation. These key components must be coordinated and moved into a unified effective operation if the product must perform well in the market (Kotler 1997: 315). The analog to business operation is direct and useful in business and in marketing, the terrain is the market place in particular and economic, political social and technological environment in general. The resources are personal with wide-ranging skill and expertise as well as factory, laboratories, transportation system, financial resources and the co-operate reputation (Henry 1934: 72). More so, depending on the nature of business, operation may have another dimension as well. At the heart of any business operation is marketing operation. Business exist to deliver product to the market to an extent that they serve this purpose efficiently through profit maximization. All these are marketing efforts the objective of an organization has to be considered, particularly in customers satisfaction and increasing their sales volumes at profit making. Conclusively, Samsung electronics company being one of the leading electronic outfits in Rivers State must reflect and consider marketing operation as a means of success in the markets and above all must anticipate the action and reactions of their competition (Nwosu 1996:112).