Marketing Communication

The development and management of customer relationships has, in recent years, become a central focus of marketing research and conceptualization as it has been realized that they are valuable assets of a firm. Businessmen from the advertising industry should take the following key issues into account while planning their marketing communication process.

The first stage includes preparation of a SWOT analysis (strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats) in order to identify the core areas of activity and avoid possible threats. The following questions are important here:

What is the target audience you want to achieve?

What do our customer need?

What are our competitors doing?

The answers obtained will form the basis for product planning decisions for the future profitability of the company.

– Management must ask itself a basic question about the present business of the company and its future plans.

The second stage includes budget planning:

How much can you spend on this campaign?

Create a detailed budget plan for marketing communication for a definite period of time.

Evaluate response mechanism.

The third stage should include various elements of product planning which have to be modified or changed during the var­ious phases of the cycle in accordance with the changing environment, for example,

– whatever communication marketing plans are made to direct and control the marketing operation, they must be flexible, as there are many outside factors which can easily affect the plans, e.g. government legislation;

-plans should be set up for each aspect of marketing, e.g. media strategy, sales promotion, budget appropriation.

– marketing policy of the company should be known by all the staff; this enables them to act in a unified manner with wholesalers, retailers and customers.

The forth stage is implementation and control of the campaign. Research has shown that over 95 percent of people forget the exact message within six weeks of seeing it. That is why repetition in promotion campaign is so important as the promotion itself (Stone Jacobs 2001).

The main activities for advertising agencies have some peculiarities in contrast to traditional marketing communication. But, still, marketing communication mix is the most powerful tool to reach the wide audience in a short period of time. It will include:

  • Bonusing
  • Provision of display materials
  • Premium-based promotions (d’Astous, Landreville n.d.).
  • Incentive schemes. These should be tailored to the needs of a retailer’s sales staff and may also include competitions, particularly for sales staff. Competitions linked to generating window displays make a good example of use here, with prizes such as holidays being regularly used.
  • On-line type of promotion. It is featured at the location where many of the final decisions and actual purchases are made. Tech­niques used here include: temporary price reductions; extra value offers, including offers relating to future purchase; premium offers  (incentives), including free mail-in premiums, self-liquidating premiums and banded free gifts (relevant for electronic services).
  • Immediate benefit promotions. A consumer is rewarded for purchasing is immediate, and, as with most incentives, the sooner the reward can be expected and received after the qualifying action, the greater will be the positive effects of that incentive in stimulating purchase action. Included in this promotion category are: price reductions; free gifts (which can be additional service – such as two for the price of one) banded pack offers(service plus discount); economy (special proposition) (McDonald, Christopher 2003).

The choice of medium is clearly closely intertwined with the distri­bution strategy.

Today, in rapidly changing environment these communication methods become more varied and sophisticated because of technological innovations borrowed by marketers and the level of competition which forces companies within advertising industry to look for new effective ways to attract customers (Rich 2000).

Sampling is a very effective sales promotion technique which provides consumers with the opportu­nity to try a product or service at no cost, but it cannot bring benefits for advertising industry. For this reason, communication methods should be thoroughly selected.

The development of long-term relations with customers, stakeholders and channel members is necessary for advertising industry because:

– a customer-orientated approach persuades them to become its ‘supporters’ – meaning that they are pleased with the service they receive and happy to provide continued custom.

– the conversion of a ‘prospect’ to a ‘customer’ is seen as the start of a journey of building customer loyalty elevate the customer to ‘client’ status,

– a pattern of repeat buying makes it easy for the customer and channel members to do business with it.

– given the power of word of mouth, can be worth more than any amount of

advertising.

– ‘partnership’ is fast gaining acceptance, particularly in industrial and business-to-business marketing

– create the rapport and mutual trust, respect. (Barnes, 2003).

Incentive schemes and bonusing are the suitable marketing communication methods here. In any case, all the promotion methods have an influence on these relations because they reflect (to some extent) the professionalism of the company and the level of its maturity and growth to stakeholders, partners and customers.

References

  1. d’Astous, A. Landreville, (n.d.) “An experimental investigation of factors affecting consumers’ perceptions of sales promotions” Available from: http://www.managementfirst.com/marketing/articles/premium_promotions.php
  2. Barnes, J. (2003) “Establishing meaningful customer relationships: why some companies and brands mean more to their customers”, Managing Service Quality, Vol. 13, #. 3, pp. 178-186.
  3. McDonald M., Christopher (2003), Marketing: A complete Guide. Palgrave Macmillan
  4. Rich, M.K. (2000). “The direction of marketing relationships”. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing 15, #2, pp. 23-35.
  5. Stone B. Jacobs (2001), Successful Direct Marketing Methods, Seventh Edition. McGraw-Hill.
Let's make that grade!