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English & Literary Studies

Linguistic Styles And Discourse Strategies In Telecom Sales Promotion Text Messages In Nigeria




The study is focused on linguistic style and discourse strategies in GSM advertising and sales promotion text messages in Nigeria. A total of fifty four (54) undergraduates of Imo State University, Owerri, users of MTN and Globacom Nigeria were sampled using stratified random sampling; and textual samples were gotten from sales promotion text messages sent to these subscribers. The data were subjected to textual analysis for any unique stylistic features and discourse strategies using foregrounding theory. It was observed that linguistic styles such as pretentious diction, exaggeration, weasel words, passive voice and discourse strategies like slanting, euphemism, deceptive expressions, plain folk appeal, slogan and evasion; and figurative languages are used to appeal to the needs and desires of subscribers thereby controlling their thoughts and actions to utilize the telecom services and enlist in the promotion draws. Linguistic deviations were also observed helped to create the stylistic effect of foregrounding and some linguistic elements give the needed prominence. The researcher therefore concludes that MTN and Globacom exploit some functional and stylistic patterns and discourse strategies for effective marketing and increased sales.



Telecom advertising is the marketing procedure that is used to promote sales by triggering excitement and granting various incentives to customers, thereby persuading them to make a decision. Advertising and sales promotions are the main methods utilized in selling telecomm service to consumers in Nigeria. ‘Advertising positions a product, service against that of competitors to convey a message to consumers and to enhance its value in the consumer’s eyes whereas sales promotion gives incentives which are short term for the customers or subscribers to take on the service available’ (Ogungbe 36-49).

Telecommunication promotional campaign is often put together to persuade consumers that the products and services provided by the service operators are necessary for their satisfaction. Marketers attempt to convince consumer/subscribers by presenting draws, stringing to the rise of lucky winners of numerous gift items like power generators, refrigerators, cars, television sets, recharge cards, cell phone and cash awards. These are the kinds of incentive Nigerians look forward to owning; therefore lots of consumers participate in the draw which considerably increases sales. Consequently, the telecomm sales objective is generally met, which is unlike other sales promotions that is to rise above the actual quota (Ogungbe 36-49).

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Telecomm sales promotions function directly with advertising which is a major part of marketing. It however incorporates a large number of techniques which includes special price reduction, (GLO to GLO calls), competitions (projection in the course of a football match), games, debates, premiums, gifts and lotteries. The promotional messages are generally passed across to consumers in a persuasive and convincing style and language via text messages, newspapers, television and radio (Ogungbe 36-49). In order to affect these within the shortest time and space available, the advertiser tilts the language items in such a way as to suit his purpose. This results in the linguistic style of advertising.

Language and discourse are not mere instruments of communication but are loaded with power; they are action –oriented, they have the ability to influence or control peoples action and thought. In fact language as well as discourse is ‘a powerful tool which allows human beings to articulate the sequence of intentions, decisions, responses, acts and consequences that make up human lives’ (Bradford 93). In other words, seldom are ‘non- experts conscious of the real power of language to lead (or mislead) and the effect of the user’s choice of discourse style on readers or neither is the awareness general that human perception, conviction, thoughts and actions are shaped by language and discourse styles’ (Malcolm 46). Therefore, with the belief that social and economic liberation could begin with the awareness of the power of language to lead and mislead, this research examines the patterns of language and discourse styles employed by telecomm business managers or marketers in Nigeria and tries to highlight their functional value with the hope of fostering critical linguistic awareness.

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Statement of the Problem 

Network service providers use various linguistic styles and discourse strategies for marketing of their products without appreciating fully the effects of this promotional strategy on consumer’s final purchase. The study is set to identify various linguistic styles and discourse strategies employed by MTN and GLO for the effective marketing of their products.

 Purpose of Study

The aim of telecom promotional advertising is customer acquisition and retention. They employ specific discourse strategies and linguistic devices to appeal and persuade the consumers. Thus, the aim of this study is as follows:

  • To examine the lexical choices that are more prevalent in the MTN and GLO telecommunication sales promotion text messages.
  • To examine the grammatical choices that are mostly used by these telecommunication sales promotion text messages.
  • To identify the linguistic styles and discourse strategies mostly used by these telecommunication providers in their sales promotion.
  • To examine how these choices promote or inhibit customers’ response in these telecommunication sales promotion messages in Nigeria.
  • To examine the levels of linguistic deviation in telecommunication text messages.
  • To examine the poetic languages in the sales promotion text messages.

Scope of the Study

This research is limited to the electronic media specifically MTN and GLO mobile phone sales promotion text messages. The data were drawn from both English, indigenous languages and pidgin advertisements. The pidgin and English data were analyzed on linguistic styles and discourse strategies that relate to the relevant messages.

Significance of the Study

Sales promotion is a promotional strategy that helps in sale of products as at when the manufacturers want. Meaning with sales promotion you can help sell your goods and services when you decide. A lot of companies, industries and organizations employ knowledgeable use of this tool and have outstanding output.

The telecom companies are not left out of this wave as there is a strict competition amongst brands and customers alike. Sales promotion has over the years helped in speeding up the selling process and maximized sales volume amongst users. Thus this research work will be of great significance to the telecom companies as they will be informed on the various strategies of sales promotion and how these strategies can be used to attain organizational performance as it pertains to her objectives. It will also enlighten them on the need to ensure the appropriate use of a particular strategy for a particular product. The upcoming unselected telecomm sectors will have a lot to learn from this study as they will not follow the band wagon in the use of sales promotion styles that will work against their organizational goals and objectives.

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This study will provide literature for  linguist sand researches in English and literary studies on  sales promotion text messages and their style of language use. The study will also help the government make polices on the products and services enforced on the subscribers. The study will also enlighten the society at large about  the products being  advertised .

Area of the Study

The area under study covers, Imo State  University , Owerri metropolis, Imo  state.

Research Questions

  1. What lexical choices are more prevalent in the MTN and GLO telecommunication sales promotion text messages?
  2. What grammatical choices are mostly used by these telecommunication text messages?
  3. What discourse strategies are used in the SMS?
  4. What are the linguistic styles that are mostly used by these telecommunication providers in their sales promotion text messages?
  5. How do these choices promote or inhibit customer’s response in these telecommunication sales promotion text messages in Nigeria?
  6. What are the levels of linguistic deviations in the telecom sales promotion text messages?
  7. What are the poetic languages in the sales promotion text messages?

Pages:  83

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF         

Chapters: 1-5                                 

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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