Marketing Communication: Prof.
Kul Narsingh Shrestha
A. MEANING AND KEY ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
The term communication is derived from the Latin word communis. Literally it means to inform, to tell, to show or to spread information. Communication is the process of transmitting message from one person or group to another. It involves flow of information and understanding between the sender and the receiver. Hence, communication is the process of transmitting, receiving and understanding the message. Key Elements of Communication In communication, there is a transmission of message from a sender to receiver. To communicate effectively advertisers need to understand the fundamental elements of effective communication. Figure 1.1 shows a communication model with nine elements. Two major elements represent the major parties in a communication— sender and receiver. Another two elements represent the major communication tools— message and media. Four other elements represent major communication functions— encoding, decoding, response, and feedback. The last element is noise which refers to any extraneous factors that can interfere with the process and work against the effective communication.
MESSAGE & MEDIA
Fig. 1.1: Key Elements in Communication Process
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha
The above model identifies the key elements in effective communication. (1) Sender: There must be a sender of message for communication to take place. The sender is the advertiser, who is the source of message. (2) Receiver: The receiver is the person who receives the message. When the message is transmitted through media, the receiver receives the message. The receiver is the target of communication. Generally, receivers are the consumers or audience who read, hear and or see the message. (3) Message: Message is the subject matter of communication. The sender creates the message to be communicated. There must be a message to be transmitted for communication to take place. (4) Media: The message and advertising copy is transmitted through appropriate media known as communication channels. The channel is the method by which the communication travels from the sender to the receiver. Media can be personal or impersonal. (5) Encoding: Encoding is translating the idea into advertising message and advertising copy for transmission to the target audience. The sender encodes the message in such a way that the receiver will understand it. It can be words, pictures or actions. (6) Decoding: Target audience receives the message. The receiver decodes the message to understand. It is the process of giving meaning to the message for understanding it. (7) Response: The receiver's reactions after seeing, hearing or reading the message is known as response. (8) Feedback: The response of the receiver about the message is feedback to the sender. When the sender (source) receives the feedback, the communication process is said to be completed. It tells the sender whether the message was received as intended or not. The effectiveness of the communication is measured through feedback. (9) Noise: Noise is anything that reduces the accuracy of communication. Noise can be defined as any factor that confuses, disturbs or serves as a barrier to the successful communication. It reduces effectiveness of communication.
B. THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS
The communication process is the method by which the sender transfers information and understanding to the receiver. Based on the above communication model, communication process consists following steps:
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha
Developing Ide a SENDER ENCODING
Transmission o f Message
Receipt of Me ss RECEIVER DECODING
Fig. 1.2: The Communication Process
Step 1: Developing an idea or thought The first step in communication process is to develop idea or though to be communicated. It is the subject matter of communication and may be in the form of opinion, feeling, views or suggestions. The advertiser is the sender or source that generates the idea to be conveyed. In reality, this function is mostly performed by an advertising agency. Step 2: Encoding the message Encoding is translating the idea into advertising message and advertising copy for transmission that can be understood by target audience. The sender's goal is to encode the message in such a way that the receiver will understand it. This means using words, signs, or symbols that are familiar to the target audience. The sender or advertising agency encodes the idea or thought. Step 3: Transmission of message The encoding process leads to development of a message that contains the information or meaning the source hopes to convey. The encoded ad message and ad copy is transmitted through appropriate media known as communication channels. The channel is the method by which the communication travels from the source or sender to the receiver. Channels of communication can be broadly classified as personal and nonpersonal communication. Personal channels of communication are direct interpersonal (face to face) contact with target individuals or groups. Non-personal channels of communication are those that carry a message without interpersonal contact between sender and receiver. Nonpersonal channels of communication consist of: print, electronic, and display media. Media carry the encoded message to the target audience. This step allows the message to reach the receiver.
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha Step 4: Receipt of the message When the message is transmitted, the receiver receives the message. Generally, receivers are the consumers in the target market or audience who read, hear, and or see the marketer's message. At this point the target audience receives the message. They can be current or prospective consumers. Step 5: Decoding the message In this step the receiver decodes the message to understand. The message received is analyzed and interpreted so that it is correctly understood. Thus, message is decoded for understanding the message. Step 6: Use of response and feedback The receiver's set of reactions after seeing, hearing, or reading the message is known as a response. This is also known as feedback information. It remains to be seen whether the receiver has understood the message in the same sense as the sender wants. This can be ensured only when the receiver sends feedback to the sender. Feedback is very essential for communication to be effective. This involves two-way communication. It ensures flow of communication and understanding between receiver and sender. The communication process is complete with this step. It takes the form of circular flow of information as shown in fig. 1.2. The communication sometimes fails to accomplish its purposes—creation of an appropriate response or understanding when the message is distorted by 'noise' element. Successful communication is accomplished when the marketer selects an appropriate source, develops an effective message or appeal that is encoded properly, and then selects the channels or media that will best reach the target audience so that the message can be effectively decoded and delivered.
C. BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
Communication always involves two parties, one who transmits or sends the message i.e. the sender or the source and the other who receives the message i.e. the receiver or target audience. Only sending a message is not communicating. To be effective communication, the message must be understood for whom it is meant. Barriers to communication often prevent the sender and receiver from achieving mutual understanding. Barriers can exist in the sender, in the transmission of message or in the receiver. The primary barriers to effective communication can be grouped into the following four categories. (1) Personal Barriers Personal barriers are those human factors that interfere with the communication. This interference arises from human emotions, feelings, attitudes, judgement, attention, and negative personal qualities. Persons differ in emotions, feelings, and attitudes. Hence, they may have problems in encoding and decoding messages. They obstruct the free flow of communication. When there is a lack of mutual trust between the sender and receiver the message may not be followed properly. Lack of retention ability, inadequate
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha attention, and lack of ability to communicate also causes obstruction in the free flow of communication. (2) Physical Barriers Physical barriers are environmental factors that obstruct the communication. They include physical distance, distracting noises and other interference. Distance between the sender and receiver of the message is an important barrier to communication. Noise and other environmental factors also block communication. (3) Semantic Barriers Semantic is the science of meaning. The same words and symbols carry different meanings to different people. Hence, the meaning intended by the sender may be quite different from the meaning following by the receiver. People interpret the message in terms of their own experience, educational background, and behavior. In order for a message to be clearly understood, it must have the same meaning for both the sender and receiver. Faulty sentence structure and poorly chosen words can distort understanding. These barriers can be overcome if the sender uses simple, easy, and unambiguous language. (4) Other Barriers to Communication There are several other barriers that hamper flow of communication. It is natural tendency of human beings to prefer status quo and resist a new product or change. Thus, a new product is usually not welcomed with the seriousness it deserves. Persons like to hear what supports his belief and may ignore what he does not want to listen. In this frame of mind he may not listen to whole message or give a different interpretation. The above communication barriers obstruct free flow of communication and understanding. It is very necessary to take effective measure to overcome these obstacles and to improve communication.
BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION Semantic Barriers Other Barriers
Fig. 1.3: Barriers to Effective Communication
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha
D. STEPS IN DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
There are seven steps in developing effective communications. These steps are: (1) Identify the target audience (2) Determining the communication Objectives (3) Designing the message (4) Selecting communication channels (5) Establishing the total marketing communication budget (6) Determining on the marketing communication mix (7) Measuring results
1. Identify the Target Audience 2. Determining the Communication Objectives 3. Designing the Message 4. Selecting Communication Channels 5. Establishing the Total Marketing Communication Budget 6. Determining on the Marketing Communication Mix 7. Measuring Results Fig. 1.4: Steps in Developing Effective Communication
Step 1: Identify the Target audience The target audience is that part of the target market that organization wishes to attract. It can be entire target market or merely a small segment of that market. The nature and type of communication program will depend on the nature and type of the audience for whom it is to be designed. Therefore, the first step is to identify the target audience for developing effective communication. The target audience is a critical influence on the communicator's decisions on what to say, how to say it, when to say it, where to say it and to whom to say it. Identifying the target audience also involves analyzing it characteristics and perceptions. It is the central communication decision. Other communication decisions are based on this. Step 2: Determining the Communication Objectives 6
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha After identifying the target audience, the next step is to determine the objectives of the communication. An ideal set of objectives should be specific, measurable, and achievable. The ultimate objective of communication is to influence buyer decision and help the people in the target audience in making their purchase decisions. But a buyer passes through a number of stages before he makes decision to purchase. These stages can be referred as cognitive (i.e. learning), affective (i.e. feeling), and behavioral (i.e. doing) responses. The communication objectives heavily depend on the responses of the target audience. Within the target audience there are knowers and non-knowers, trier and nontriers. The communication objectives for knowers will be different form those for the non-knowers, as there would be no need to create awareness among the former. According to hierarchy of effects model, a buyer progresses through following stages: awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction, and purchase. Thus, communication objectives will be determined on the basis of the responses of the target audience. Step 3: Designing the Message After identifying the target audience and determining the desired response, the communicator develops the effective message. An ideal and effective communication message should gain attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and elicit action as suggested by AIDA model. AIDA model suggests the desirable qualities of any communication. Designing a message is one of the most creative parts of communication. It involves determining what to say- message content, how to say it effectively- message layout, and who should say it- message source. In determining message content, communicator searches for an appeal, theme, idea or unique selling proposition. The message content should hit the right audience. A message layout or format is the presentation of various elements of message like headline, copy, illustrations, symbols, and colors that may enhance the message to be conveyed. A well designed layout and content together make the message interesting and attractive. The effectiveness of communication also depends on the source from which a message originates. Messages delivered by attractive or popular sources achieve higher attention and recall. This is why advertisers often use celebrities as spokesperson. Message delivered by highly credible sources is more persuasive. Step 4: Selecting Communication Channels Communication channels refer to various vehicles used for carrying messages. The communicator must select efficient channels to carry the messages to the target audience. Their presentation must be quick and convincing. Communication channels are of two types- personal and non-personal. Personal communication involves personal contact or interaction with the prospective buyers. Personal influence carries especially great weight with products that are expensive, risky or purchased infrequently. Here the buyers are likely to be strong information seekers. Non-personal communication is carried on without personal contacts or interaction. It includes print media (newspaper, magazines, direct mail), electronic media (radio, television, video, etc.) and display media (poster, billboards, neon-signs, etc.). Step 5: Establishing the Total Marketing Communication Budget
Marketing Communication: Prof. Kul Narsingh Shrestha Marketing communication cannot be successful without adequate budget. The most difficult marketing decision is how much to spend on marketing communicationpromotion. The selection of communication media and determination of communication mix depends on the amount of money available for promotion. There are number of methods used for determining marketing communication budget. The common methods are affordable method, percent-of-sales method, competitive-parity method, and objective-task method. Many organizations set marketing communication budget at what they think the organization can afford. In affordable method organization decides the budget that can be afforded. Organizations also set marketing communication budget at a specified percentage of sales either current or anticipated sales. The percentage is modified as per the requirements of marketing goals. In competitive-parity method, organization determines marketing communication budget on the basis of expenditure pattern of major competitors. Here, the communicator wants to spend as much as their competitors are spending so that they are not placed at any disadvantage. Objective-and-task method determines communication budget on the basis of objectives to be achieved and the tasks involved therein. It means communication objectives are set first and the cost of achieving these objectives are calculated in detail in terms of tasks to be performed. Step 6: Determining on the Marketing Communication Mix Marketing communication or promotion includes five tools—advertising, sales promotion, public relations, personal selling, and direct marketing. After establishing total marketing communication budget organizations must allocate budget to each of the tools. In modern business organization cannot depend on only one tool. Each tool has its own unique characteristics, strengths, and weakness. An organization has to secure such combination of mix of these tools that may give the best results and achieve the identified objectives with the total budget. Step 7: Measuring Results After implementing communication program and decisions, the communicator must measure its impact on the target audience. In measuring results, it is necessary to find out to what extent the set objectives are achieved. If the objective is to increase the sales or market share then its effect on sales or market share should be measured. This involves collecting information from target audience through market research. Such feedback will tell the communicator how far marketing communication has been successful and in case of inadequacy, what changes are needed.