Research indicates that marketing communication is a very important tool in any business set up; it is even more important in the modern business world. For a business organization to be successful and attain its marketing objectives the marketing managers have to use very effective marketing communication strategies. This is about products or brands that the organization trade with in the market place. Further research indicates that, the current modern business environment keeps on changing and therefore calls for a high level of effectiveness in the marketing communication strategies to remain competitive in the market. When marketing communication is rightly used in an organization it can motivate the employees as well as attracting many customers thus increasing output. However when it is wrongly used it will always demoralise the workers and at the same time fail to attract the potential clients. Of course such demoralisation affects their effectiveness hence leading to loss in the organization. Therefore, for any manager to be effective in his work, he will need prior knowledge in communication skills with particular emphasis on marketing communication strategies.
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In business terms a brand is usually a name or symbol utilized to classify products of the organization and to distinguish such products from those products of its rivals. In essence, a brand is defined as a promise by the organization ton its client: i.e. by identifying and validating a good or service to meet the specifications, contentment and superiority that the customer requires (Kottler, 1996).
Purpose of a Brand
Branding helps to catch the customer’s attention. Branding can highly influence whether consumers will purchase the product or not. This can affect the penetration of the products.
Product branding is a key factor in determining the selling trends of the product and it should also be considered by the any organization. Under this, we find that a good brand name should be; legally protectable, easy to pronounce, easy to remember, easy to recognize and to attract attention. There are different kinds of brands which organizations may apply in its marketing communication strategy which are as follows; premium brands, economy brands, fighting brand, licensing brand among other brands depending on the viability of the business. Other factors to be considered by the organizations before branding its products includes pricing and competition issues that will incorporate the brands demand, supply, quality and the prevailing economic conditions in the target market. An excellent brand name of a firm is considered a strength that the firm has over its main rivals in the industry because its products will do well in terms of increased market share and exploring new markets as well as dominating the market. This is what is referred to s brand image (Kottler, 1996).
Research indicates that IMC plays a major role in brand building by organizations thus enhancing marketing viability and organization success in the long-term. The role of IMC is that of market positioning which entails comprehending clearly on how the target markets are defined, brand building as well as shaping positioning of brands that an organization wish to market.
Market position in terms of branding may include an organization carrying out the following strategies: Product adoption strategy- making modifications to existing product and raising its price. Availability and security strategy: – countering perceived risks by overcoming transport risks and other costs then making a suitable price for the product. Technical strategy- demonstration of superior products; in this case, issues such as shortening life cycles for manufacturing equipment will be considered and technical advise given to the customers accordingly since they might complain of bad quality brands. Total adaptation and management strategy- it guides the company’s organizational and technical portfolios especially the development of new brands for low earning persons who want to enjoy the brands. Conformity strategy- strategizing on how legal matters, tariffs and legislation for the business will be handled without hitches such as encountering losses (Carter and Lee, 2005).
Research indicates that once clients have decided on which organizations to go they have to decide on what brands to buy. If such decision by the client has been taken earlier then it implies that the client must have taken such decision because of experiences of the past or promotional activities that had reached him early. Further research onto client consumer decision has revealed that approximately fifty five percent of the consumers usually plan for their purchase decisions while the rest does not (Hoyer and MacInnis, 2001). Conversely, most clients normally buy more products than what they have budgeted for thus revealing the inherent opportunities for the organizations to foster unplanned buying behavior by producing quality, attractive and affordable brands. The figure below clearly illustrates the consumer decision regarding their purchase behaviour.
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Role of Marketing Communication
Marketing is dynamic and has been evolving since 1960s with the beginning of marketing orientation which involved marketing communication strategies; this was during the initial stage of capitalism business whereby, initially, firms were concerned with only production and manufacturing of goods i.e. the focus was on producing effective brands to meet the demands of the consumers. However, in the 70s companies realized that the needs and wants consumers were the one directing selling of products produced. Therefore, marketers and strategists expanded their knowledge too and came up with plans for their businesses to meet such challenges; this witnessed the drafting of marketing communication guidelines in the form of business strategies, marketing plan and marketing strategies.
Marketing communication can be described as a process that reveals the firm’s essential actions that it has to implement to attain its main business goal of attracting and retaining customers; usually product line, service or a brand. Marketing communication strategies are usually prepared by the marketing department of a firm and ranges from plans of one year to five years. Marketing communication plans for one year is usually referred to as an annual plan. Businesses usually incorporate the marketing communication plan to be part of the firm’s overall business strategy that is normally referred to as business plan. A good marketing communication strategy should usually move from general objectives to specific objectives. The plan aids the concerned management on how to improve business performance stage by stage and provides room for any amendments if it arises in the ordinary course of the business to achieve the set objectives i.e. popularizing its brand to the target market.
Marketing communication strategies form the basis of drawing marketing plans for firms in their bid to popularize there brands. Marketing mainly entails crafting a business mission and vision that aids in guiding a business to achieve its goals and more particularly attracting customers. Therefore a good mission statement should consist some of the following features; the targeted clients, customer’s needs and wants, customer’s characteristics, the products, particular requirements of customers to be targeted and client’s attitudes among other factors. Also the marketing communication plan should spell out the firm’s objectives, i.e. in what is referred to as SMART criterion; SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound objectives (Carter and Lee, 2005).
Types of Marketing Communication
The strategies of communication used in marketing communication involve the activities through which the organization aims at informing and influencing people outside the firm to buy the products or its brand in the market. Under this, advocacy is the major area in marketing communication whereby, it’s a process where the organization through its marketing managers attempts to influence the entire public to create an impact on the brand that the firm is intending to market to them. It includes a range of activities such as lobbying, public education and information work through the media or publishing programs, campaigning. Under this lobbying means the efforts through a reasoned argument to influence decision makers who are the customers on specific features of its brand while campaigning means the efforts to mobilize wider public to buy the organization products. Therefore, the firm should be able to look at the reasons behind the brand development and also at any features that will be able to attract many customers as well as satisfying the welfare of the people. The marketing managers should consider the following issues when carrying out public relations through an external marketing communication; images and perceptions. Under this the marketing managers will have a responsibility to present accurate and honest images of brand and the features of the products that the organization has focused on. This may help in countering for the widespread public perception of the organization’s brand and thus attracting potential customers as well as maintaining the existing ones.
Another type of marketing communication is that of advertising which has over the past become the key ingredient to any organization success with regards to conquering new markets. Research indicates that the history of advertising can be traced back to back to approximately five thousand years ago to current decade; however, more vigorous advertising campaigns have been noticed in the last two decades.
Advertising is the key ingredient for the successes of any company in terms of increase of sales: Through this any organization has to utilize this concept and thus it will gain a larger market share as compared to its rivals. The advertising strategy adopted should propel the firm to another level with particular regard to the response of its brand’s consumption by the customers. Most organizations have utilized mostly advertising campaigns through the use of media, for example many firms does a lot of constant reminding advertising through television and radio presentation which have enabled the firms to achieve a strong and wide customer base of their brands. Therefore any company ought to utilize the use of advertising strategies that cope with business environment; for instance; organizations should launch a website where potential customers can get to know the brands that it offers in its attempts to increase its market share.
Whichever media is used in advertising, it should pass across the message to the target group. The sender must always seek for the feedback from the target customer. An organization should use various ways to promote its brands i.e. products. One of the ways an organization can use to advertise its brands is through billboards, brochures, magazines, posters, letterheads, folders, displays, videos and CDs among other mediums. Such advertising strategies will show the type of brands to be sold, the prices and the places to be found. Any organization that seeks organization success through marketing communication strategies should utilize the services of a public relations officer to promote the company’s image. Organization can have sales promotions where customers will be given discounts on large quantities purchased.Direct marketing will be done by employing direct marketers. These advertising strategies will lead to increase in sales thus increase in market share (Graydon, 2003).
Marketing Communication Theory
This will entail outlining the basic goals that the firm wants to achieve after implementing the marketing communication strategies adopted; for instance a firm may wish to improve its market share or augment its sales. The question of business viability i.e. how a firm can enhance its business operations by popularizing its brand will be addressed to better the performance than the way it is currently. Under this too, the current marketing communication strategies utilized should be reviewed to determine there feasibility and if it can be retained or done away with. Further the issue of funds is addressed with clear budgets drawn to avoid shortage or misappropriation of funds in due course of the marketing communication undertakings.
It should be noted that any marketing communication tactic adopted should be in line with business strategies formulated. Research indicates that business strategies take in to account the essence of the business existence i.e. what to accomplish, how to conduct business undertakings, what products to produce, location of the business and the target audience. Marketing on the other hand entails selling of business, mainly linking the business with its potential consumers. Therefore we can conclude that business strategy have a closer link with marketing communication strategy in that at one point they focus on how to improve performance of a business based on some tactics i.e. branding. On the other hand the marketing communication strategy is concurrent to a well written marketing plan since it outlines how to implement the action plans chosen i.e. how to popularize organization’s brands.
How Can Marketing Communication Help Brand Awareness
Marketing communication help brand awareness in that marketing mix strategy will be adopted to popularize the organization’s brand: A marketing mix is usually used especially on branding and advertising as argued by Jerome McCarthy. The populous four Ps of marketing mix strategies are utilized, these are; Product: Product marketing and management aspects deal with the specifications of the actual good or services and how it relates to customer needs. The products produced by any firm should be diverse and meets the expectations of the customers. The characteristics of the products should be well defined to meet the needs of the consumers; the packaging of the product should also be attractive to entice the customers to buy the products.
Pricing: Pricing is the process of setting a price for a product to be sold in the market. It is not necessarily fixing a monetary value but simply what is exchanged for the product or service at stake e.g. attention, time etc. Firms may adopt the following pricing strategies to enable product reach its marketing standards. Premium pricing is where the uniqueness of the company product is defined such as a fixed online fee; Penetration pricing whereby, once the company achieves the market share, it increases the price of its product. Other strategies may include regional pricing strategy which defines the price according to the regions where the products are sold.
Promotion: Promotion strategy comes in various forms; personal selling, publicity, sales promotion or advertising and it refer to the various marketing strategies of convincing the customers to buy the brand, product or company. Firms should come up with various and best suitable channels of distribution to enable there products reach the targeted market.
Place: Place is also the distribution modes which refer to how the product gets to the customer. Firms should ensure that products are available to customers in time and convenient places to satisfy their needs. The utilization of computer technology for instance can aid a firm to get access to a wider market thus boosting its business performance (Winer, 2007).
How Can Marketing Communication Help Consumer Decision Making
Marketing can be defined as an organizational function and a set of processes for communicating, creating, implementing and delivering value to customers and for managing customer-business relationships in a way that will benefit both the organization and the stakeholders including consumers involved. Such processes succeed in moving consumers closer to deciding to purchase and facilitate a sale. In the long run, these processes will anticipate, identify and try to satisfy customer requirements successfully and profitably. Marketing communication strategies which are effective are important to organization that aims at increasing its market share. Before one starts up a business, market research has to be done to know the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities and threats available thus understanding clearly the consumer decision or behavior. Market segmentation is important when attempting to understand the consumer decision making. This is because it leads to improved image of the organization or product. When marketing is done efficiently it leads to increased sales and more profits are reaped by the organization since consumers will be much conversant with the brand and its benefits. It gives the business competitive advantage over the other businesses. When marketing is well carried out it means customers will be more satisfied with the services offered since their changing needs will be met thus more favourably enhancing positive consumer behavior. Marketing helps to change the attitudes of brands i.e. products and services being offered thus changing consumer decision making because best marketing communication implies that customers will be attracted to buy the organization’s brand. Before starting up a business in any sector, preliminary research regarding the type of marketing communication strategy to be utilized is always very important. This helps in knowing the size of the industry one wishes to join and the brand it intends to market. Marketing communication helps an organization to fully understand knowledge and trends of growth thus consumer buying behavior in the desired target market segment. Effective marketing communication considers issues such as the target audience which ultimately translates to an organization market share in the long run. The location will help in determining how the brand will be distributed. Further marketing communication is critical since it allows the organization to know its competitors in the market and how they carry out their businesses thus understanding consumer decision making process. Therefore, all these are important aspects that need to be put into consideration (Baker, 2000).
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Conclusion and Recommendation
Marketing communication is very important tool in any organization which seeks to augment its market share to survive in the current unpredicted business environment. Marketing managers need to use the right marketing communication strategies such as constant personal selling and advertising in their organizations to attain their set objectives. They may sound very simple but in the real situation very few marketing managers implement them. Therefore any organization should have an internal coordination system and structure; this is usually a practical cooperation which can help to build stronger relationships among the customers thus building brand loyalty. When market research is effectively done it gives important information that helps in putting in place the right market communication strategies. For any organization to make profits and not losses, the right market communication strategies have to be used during different situations. There are different situations under which various marketing communication strategies are used; this enables the organization to increase its sales. Costs influence the developing of the marketing communication strategy. It is very easy for an organization to become a market leader than to maintain the price leadership. Organizations have to put in various strategies so that they maintain their role as a market leader (Kottler, 1996).
Baker, M. (2000): Marketing Management and Strategy: 3rd Edition: London. Macmillan Business.
Carter, S. and Lee, K. (2005): Global Marketing- Changes, New Challenges and Strategies. 1st Edition: London, Oxford Press.
Cox, T. (1994): Marketing in Small and Medium-sized Companies; The Marketing Initiative; Economic and Social Research Council Studies into British Marketing. London: Prentice Hall.
Graydon, S. (2003): Made You Look – How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know, Toronto: Annick Press.
Hoyer, W. and MacInnis, D. (2001): Consumer Behaviour: 2nd Edition: London. Macmillan Business.
Kottler, P. (1996): Principles of Marketing: – Stages of customer relationships. 4th European Edition, Prentice Hall, Harlow.
Shiffman, L. and Kanuk L. (2002): Consumer Behaviour. Low Price Edition, Prentice Hall of India Private Limited.
Winer, R.S., (2007): Marketing Management. 3rd Edition; Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall.