What is Marketing Communication?
Marketing communications are messages and related media used to communicate with a market. Marketing communications are the promotion part of the marketing mix or the four Ps: price, place, promotion, and product.
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Those who practize advertising, branding, brand language, direct marketing, graphic design, marketing, packaging, promotion, sponsorship, publicity, public relations, sales, sales promotion and online marketing are termed marketing communicators, and marketing communication managers.
Marketing communication represents the collection of all elements in an organization, marketing mix that facilitates exchanges by establishing shared meaning with the organization’s customers or clients.
Process of Marketing Communication
The marketing communication process can be very complex but it is based on the universal model used in all forms of communication which includes a sender, the message, receivers, and a medium and, in the case of two-way communication, feedback.
However, this universal model needs to be presented in the context of marketing communications in order that its relevance to marketing is understood. The purpose of a marketing communication campaign can best be described by reference to the hierarchy of communication effects represented by the following model as shown in Fig.
Communicator (sender or encoder) is the one who initiates the communication process. He may be an editor, a reporter, a film-maker, a teacher, a writer, a speaker, a leader or anybody who takes the initiative to start a dialogue. Before one speaks or writes, the message is conceptualized first and then encoded.
Encoding is the formulation of messages in the communicator’s mind, that is, the communicator not only translates his purpose (ideas, thoughts or information) into a message but also decides on the medium to communicate his planned message.
A message media or channel is the vehicle through which a message is carried from the communicator to the receiver. The channels of communication are many—written, spoken, verbal, non-verbal, mass media like TV, radio, newspapers, books, etc. Choosing the appropriate channel, one most suitable for the message as well as the receiver, is a complicated task.
Decoding is the interpretation of the message by the receiver. Actually, the receiver looks for the meaning in the message, which is common to both the receiver and the communicator.
Feedback is the response or acknowledgement of receiver to the communicator’s message. The exchange is possible only if the receiver responds. Even through fluttering eyelids, raising an eyebrow, making a face, organizing a point and asking for an explanation, the message is shaped and reshaped by the communicator and the receiver until the meaning becomes clear.
Noise is an interruption that can creep in at any point of the communication process and make it ineffective. Environment is one major cause that interferes with message reception: like noises from the roadside, constant chattering of individuals outside the communication act, blaring loudspeaker, faulty transmission, etc.
Noise can occur in other forms also; poor handwriting, heavy accent or soft speech, communication in a poorly lit room, etc. In fact, these are barriers to effective communication. For smooth and effective communication, it is necessary to eliminate or reduce noise as far as possible.
Elements of Marketing Communication Mix
A company’s total marketing communications mix consists of the specific blend of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, and public relations tools that the company uses to pursue its advertising and marketing objectives.
The five major types of promotion are:
- Advertising: Any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.
- Personal Selling: Personal presentation by the firm’s sales force to make sales and build customer relationships.
- Sales Promotion: Short-term incentives to encourage the purchase or sale of a product or service.
- Public Relations: Building good relations with the company’s publics by obtaining favourable publicity, building up a good “corporate image,” and handling or heading off unfavourable rumours, stories, and events.
- Direct Marketing: Direct communications with carefully targeted individual consumers to obtain an immediate response. The use of mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, and other non-personal tools to communicate directly with specific consumers or to solicit a direct response.
Tools of Marketing Communication
A marketing person has many tools at his disposal for generating awareness and supporting the selling effort. While there are numerous marketing communication tools, there are also numerous mixes for these tools.
One important note is remembered that marketing communication tools do improve understanding your product or service, reinforcing your messages, supporting the sales cycle and generating awareness.
- Advertising: This tool can get your messages to large audiences efficiently through such avenues as radio, TV, magazines, newspapers (ROP), Internet, billboards and other mobile technological communication devices. This method can efficiently reach a large number of consumers, although the costs may be somewhat expensive.
- Sales Promotion: This tool is used through coupons, contests, samples, premiums, demonstrations, displays or incentives. It is used to accelerate short-term sales, by building brand awareness and encouraging repeat buying.
- Public Relations: This integrated marketing communications tool is initiated through public appearances, news/press releases or event sponsorships, to build trust and goodwill by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light.
- Direct Marketing: This tool will utilize e-mail, mail, catalogues, encourage direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics.
- Personal Selling: Setting sales appointments and meetings, home parties, making presentations and any type of one-to-one communication, to reach your customers and strengthen your relationship with your clients, initiate this IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) tool.
- Internet Marketing: Websites provide a new way of transmitting information, entertainment, and advertising, and have generated a new dimension in marketing: electronic commerce. E-commerce is the term used to describe the act of selling goods and services over the Internet.
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