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Marketing communication remains one of the most visible and controversial aspects of marketing. Everyday we see hundreds of ads, redeem coupons, are approached by a variety of salespeople, and are told by countless companies how good they are. This chapter introduces the persuasive arm of marketing communication. In it we suggest that since everything about a company is going to communicate something, it would be beneficial to have as much control over this process as possible. Other reasons for planning the communication effort are also discussed, as are the primary objectives: (a) to communicate, (b) to convince, and (c) to compete. The systems model of communication is discussed to clarify the general communications process. Components of this process are defined and described. Types of communications systems are described. IMC is defined from a broad perspective, and then categorized into four components: (a) advertising, (b) personal selling, (c) public relations, and (d) sales promotion. The eight-step process involved in designing an IMC strategy is discussed.
Advertising is discussed in the context of marketing communication that is targeted at mass markets. It contains a sequential process, but is highlighted through its creative strategy and media strategy.
Sales promotion and public relations are two components that are both misunderstood and misused. The second part of this chapter develops some basic concepts related to both strategies. Reasons for sales promotion and types of sales promotion are discussed. Public relations is viewed in terms of its two publics, internal and external. Several techniques used to reach these publics are proposed.
Professional selling has been defined as personal contact aimed at successfully persuading prospects to buy products or services from which they can derive suitable benefits. Selling is a major force in our economy, both in terms of employment and its impact on the success of various organizations. The product, customer, competition, and environment must all be considered in determining the relative emphasis to place on personal selling in the promotional mix. The activities of a salesperson can be broken into a series of steps called the sales process. Not all of the steps are required for every sale, but the complete process includes prospecting, preapproach, planning the presentation, the approach, delivering the presentation, handling objectives, closing, and follow-up.
Advertising (consumer's perspective) One of several incoming messages directed at the consumer, the salience of which is influenced by the emotional, physical, and need state of the individual, and the benefit of which can be information, motivation, and entertainment.
Advertising (societal perspective) An institution of society that has the capability of informing the citizen, stimulating economic growth, and providing knowledge useful in decision making, as well as the tendency both to misallocate scarce economic resources and lead consumers to engage in behavior that may not be in their best interest.
Advertising (business perspective) Advertising's function is primarily to inform potential buyers of the problem-solving utility of a firm's market offering, with the objective of developing consumer preferences for a particular brand.
Advertising campaign The culmination of all the strategic, creative, and operational efforts of the people working towards a particular set of advertising objectives.
Creative strategy Concerns what an advertiser is going to say to an audience, based on the advertising objectives. Strategy should outline what impressions the campaign should convey to the target audience.
Creative tactics Specific means of implementing strategy.
Sales promotion Temporary special offers intended to provide a direct stimulus to produce a desired response by customers.
Price deals Short-term reductions in the price of a product to stimulate demand that has fallen off. Coupon offers, certificates for a specified amount off a product.
Combination offers Link two products together for a price lower than the products purchased separately. Contest A promotion that involves the award of a prize on the basis of chance or merit.
Rebates A refund of a fixed amount of money for a certain amount of time.
Premium offers A tangible reward received for performing a particular act, usually purchasing a product. Consumer sampling Getting the physical product into the hands of the consumer.
Push money A monetary bonus paid by a manufacturer to a retail salesperson for every unit of a product sold.
Dealer loader A premium that is given to a retailer by a manufacturer for buying a certain amount of a product.
Trade deals Strategies intended to encourage middlemen to give a manufacturer's product special promotional efforts that it would normally not receive.
Public relations Public relations practice is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders, and implementing planned programs of action that serve both the organization's and the public interest.
Internal publics People connected with an organization with whom the organization normally communicates in the ordinary routine of work.
External publics People not necessarily closely connected with an organization.
Campaign Planned series of promotional efforts designed to reach a predetermined goal through a single theme or idea.
Communication A process in which two or more persons attempt to consciously or unconsciously influence each other through the use of symbols or words in order to satisfy their respective needs.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) US government agency established to protect businesses against unfair competition.
Marketing communication Includes all the identifiable efforts on the part of the seller that are intended to help persuade buyers to accept the seller's message and store it in retrievable form.
IMC mix Various combinations of elements in a promotional plan: advertising, sales promotion,personal selling, public relations.
➢ List the basic objectives of marketing communication. Why is it often difficult for promoters to reach their objectives? Provide some valid reasons why marketers should pursue these objectives.
➢ Assume that top management for General Equipment, Inc. hired you to determine if a promotional opportunity exists for a fabricated part that has been developed for heavy-duty equipment. What criteria would you use as a basis of investigation?
➢ Define the phrase "sales promotion”. Cite some examples of how sales promotion can supplement or complement the other components of the IMC mix.
➢ What steps might a public relations person take to prevent the firm from acquiring a negative public image?
➢ Assume that you are the public relations director for a bank. Suppose that two people were robbed while withdrawing money from an automatic 24-hour teller machine. Develop a program in response to this incident.
➢ How is the consumer's definition of advertising different from that of a businessperson's?
➢ Give some examples of situations in which primary demand product advertising might be fruitful. When would selective demand product advertising be useful?
➢ Assume that you have been charged with organizing an in-house advertising department for a growing consumer products company. The first task is to hire an advertising manager who will have ultimate responsibility. What responsibilities should be mentioned in the job description for this position?
➢ Explain the difference between creative strategy and creative tactics.
➢ List and describe the various types of appeals. Develop an appeal, as well as tactics to operationalize this appeal, for Old Spice Shave Cream.
➢ Why are organizations shifting from specialized to integrated marketing communication strategies?
➢ How can organizations design marketing communication programs that keep pace with the rapid changes in technology?
➢ What careers are available in advertising? Sales? Public relations? What skills are employers seeking for these positions?
Can you cite some examples of how either advertising or another form of marketing communication led you to purchase a product that did not satisfy a need? Could any form of MC (marketing communications) or gimmick lead you to repurchase it? Has MC enabled you to find a product which satisfies a personal need? How might future MC keep you loyal to a product? Write a two to three page response.
One of the fastest growing industries in the United States in the past ten years has been the direct marketing of a wide variety of consumer goods and services. Today it is not unusual for most of us to shop by mail (or use some other form of direct marketing) for almost anything imaginable. Among the most well-known and successful direct marketers is Neiman Marcus, a retail department store that also discovered the additional profits of selling such unusual gifts as elephants, airplanes and USD 1,000 boxes of chocolate candy–all by mail.
However, Neiman Marcus is certainly not alone. There are literally thousands of companies selling via direct marketing. One of these companies is American Import Corporation. American Import was started in 1969 by Tom and Sally Struven. They started their business by importing a line of Japanese-made sports watches and selling them for USD 29.95 with advertisements in The Wall Street Journal, The Rotarian, Elks Magazine, and the Legionnoire. At that time, comparable watches were retailing for USD 49.95 to USD 79.95. The Struvens were successful, and in the next few years they continued to expand their product lines, compiled their own customer list, and eventually issued a shopping catalog. Although the catalog was successful, they discovered the most successful way to introduce a new item was to advertise it separately.
In early 1980, Tom and Sally Struven made arrangements to purchase 50,000 micro-recorders from a Korean manufacturer. These recorders measured 1 x 2 ½ x 5 ½ inches (approx. 2.5 x 6.35 x 13.97 cm) and were supplied with a built-in microphone, a vinyl carrying case, a wrist strap, and a 30-minute micro-cassette. The micro-recorder is operated by 4 AA batteries or an optional AC adapter.
This type of recorder became very popular in the past few years, particularly among businesspeople. A traveling executive or salesperson could dictate letters on the micro-recorder and then have a secretary transcribe them onto letterhead. The micro-recorder is also ideal as an audio notepad, substituting for paper-and-pencil note taking.
The first micro-recorder was brought to the mass market in 1975 and retailed for USD 400. Since then, several companies entered the market, and today there are approximately twelve major brands available through traditional retail locations. The prices of micro-recorders vary by the sophistication of the individual piece of equipment; however, the retail price range is USD 90 to USD 250.
American Import Corporation decided to offer its micro-recorder for USD 39.95. Although American Import's product was a technically simple product, it did a very capable and reliable job of performing the basic task of recording and playing back the human voice.
With several years of direct marketing experience behind them, the Struvens decided to introduce the micro-recorder via direct marketing. They were planning an advertising campaign in Barron's, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and a spot television campaign in selected markets.
The Struvens were very excited about the sales prospects of their new micro-recorder, and while the media portion of their advertising campaign was rather obvious, they could not decide on the best creative approach for the product.
Several possible themes came to mind. For example, should the product be sold on the basis of its comparatively low price? Its simplicity of operation? Its flexibility of use? Its size/convenience? Perhaps they should use a competitive-comparison strategy? How about their no-risk, 30-day trial?
The products had arrived from Korea. The media schedule had been set. Shipping procedures were established. Contractual arrangements with service organizations had been made. The only obstacle between American Import Corporation and a new source of profits seemed to be the selection of the most promising creative strategy for this new mini-recorder.
1Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum and Robert F. Lauterborn, Integrated Marketing Communications, 1993, Chicago: NTC Business Books.
2Tom Duncan, "A Macro Model of Ingetraged Marketing Communications:' American Academy of Advertising Annual Conference, 1995, Norfolk, VA.
3Melanie Wells. "Many Clients Prize Agency Efficiency over Creativity," Advertising Age, May 16, 1994, p.28.
4Terrance A. Shimp, Advertising Promotion, Fifth ed., 2000, The Dryden Press, p. 561.
5Ann M. Mack, "Banner Daze," Adweek, May 22, 2000, p.86.
6"Shaping the Future of Sales Promotion," Council of Sales Promotion Agencies, 1990, pp. 3.
7"Careers in Public Relations," Public Relations Society of America, Summer 1989, pp.18-30.
8Regis McKenna, "Relationship Marketing," 1991, Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
9Don E. Schultz, "Make Communications Worth the Profits," The Marketing News, January 15, 2001, p. 13.