Marketing Communications Strategy – An Overview
A Definition of Marketing Communications Strategy :
The following are the several definitions and attributes of the Marketing Communications : 1. Communication is the unique tool that marketers use to persuade the consumers to act as in a desired way, say to vote, to buy, to donate, to patronise, etc. 2. Communications take many forms, like verbal, visual or symbolic, and convey special meaning that the marketers want to impart to the consumers. 3. Communications can evoke emotions that put consumers in more receptive frames of mind, and it can encourage purchases that help consumers solve problems or avoid negative outcomes. 4. In short, Communications is the bridge between marketers and consumers, and between consumers and their socio-cultural environments. 5. The new view of communication is an interactive dialogue between the company and its customers that takes place during the preselling, selling, consuming and postconsuming stages. Companies must ask not only “How can we reach our customers?” but also, “How can our customers reach us?” 6. Generally, the marketing communications of any company are designed to make the consumer a. Aware of the product, b. Induce purchase or commitment, c. Create a positive attitude towards the product,

d. Give the product a symbolic meaning, or e. Show how it can solve the consumer’s problem better than the competitor’s products or services. 7. The marketers always try to explore the world of communications and devise means to improve upon the communications process so as to be effective. 8. The Meaning of Strategy : The word was extensively used during the WW-II, and generally refers to the planning and execution of tactical moves in the war process. Later it has found a use in the general situations where critical and meticulous planning and execution is done towards an important goal. Detailed meanings are as follows : a. The art and science of devising plans, methods, stratagems (tricks, deceptions), tactics and employing them towards achieving a goal. b. The art and science of deploying all the available resources and means to achieve or accomplish and end or goal, with the help of critically devised plans, methods, tactics and stratagems.

Description of Communications Objectives in the context of “Marketing Objectives” :
Deciding the marketing communications objectives and designing the plan to achieve them can’t be done in isolation. We know that the communication is a part of the overall marketing process. So it’s logical to decide the objectives of marketing first and design 1

the plan, and then the communications objectives can be decided and a plan can be designed, which are in conformity with the former. Let’s discuss them comparatively, as follows : 1. A Marketing Plan : The following are the usual steps in a marketing plan : a. Situational Analysis : The Company’s overall marketing environment, external, internal, the resources, the demand and competition, SWOT analysis, etc. are critically examined. b. Identifying Marketing Objectives : This has to be decided on the basis of the organisational objectives (vision and mission) and the findings of the situational analysis. They must be in complete agreement or harmony with each other. c. Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning : This is segmenting the market, choosing the target(s), and positioning the individual products / services.

d. Creating a Marketing Strategy, with the 4 Ps of Marketing Mix : A marketing strategy for each of these Ps. e. Implementation of Marketing Strategy : Deciding action plans, schedules, and timeframes and implementing procedures and putting all these into action. f. Evaluation and Control : This is measuring, estimating and analysing the outcome or the results of such an exercise in terms of achieving the objectives, and if need be, correcting, changing, rescheduling, replanning, etc.

2. A Marketing Communications Plan : The marketing communications plan is an integral part of the overall marketing plan. The following are the steps in a marketing communications plan, which are basically similar. They are : (1) Situational Analysis, (2) Establishing Marketing Communications Objectives, (3) Budget Planning, (4) Developing a Marketing Communications Programme, and (5) Evaluation and Control of Marketing Communications Programme. These are discussed below : 3. Situational Analysis : As explained above we have four key areas to analyse : a. Competition Analysis : In today’s world of fierce competition, the marketer must consider critically all the aspects of competition, like : i. ii. List of competitors, with the emphasis on the major ones, local companies and multinationals, etc. Collect information from the primary or the secondary sources regarding these companies’ communication objectives, methods, message, media, and the tactics or strategies employed.

iii. Collect information about other promotional activities, public relational activities, annual reports, brochures, publications, press releases, websites, etc. iv. Another source is the third party opinion about the competitors, trade publications, research papers, past history, etc. v. The company can apply all kinds of the MR methods that can be fruitfully used for this purpose. vi. The basic idea is that the customer is exposed to various kinds and degrees of marketing communications from different companies. The most effective message will finally shape or influence its attitude towards a particular product or brand or company.


b. Company Analysis : The marketers need to assess the internal environment and the resources of the company with regard to the desired marketing communication strategy (MCS). A SWOT analysis is done for this purpose. The company may decide to do in-house MCS or an out-sourced one. E.g., for a customer relationship card scheme the company must have necessary IT infrastructure, a direct marketing company may out-source the telemarketing activities. c. Market Analysis : This is a sort of external environment, where the marketer needs to assess or evaluate the opportunities present in the market, current trends- both commercial and technological, the political scenario, global changes, economic changes, socio-cultural changes, lifestyle changes, etc.

d. Customer Analysis : This is the assessment of the consumers. Assuming that the company has already done the segmenting and targeting, the company can plan MCS for the customers, the general public, the reference groups, organisational customers, etc. By identifying the customers, the marketers can understand their buying behaviour, their attitudes towards the products and communication, and then they can go further to improve upon the products, the communication, and the awareness. e. Positioning Analysis : Positioning is the relative position occupied by a particular product / brand / company in the perception of the customer amongst other products, etc. And this can happen mainly through communications that is to let people know about the products’ attributes, like quality, benefits, features, performance, durability, price, etc. And thus a lot of effort by MCS is spent to create a positioning. 4. Establishing Marketing Communications Objectives : on the basis of this assessment, evaluation and analysis the company needs to define its objectives for the MCS. This will guide the process and act as a performance measure. The following are the five general objectives : a. Creating brand awareness and building brand equity : The inherent value in a brand is its brand equity. The value can be a combination of esteem and utility, rational and emotional, or physical and psychological. Thus the objective of MCS is to build or enhance the value content in the company’s brand. b. Providing Information : This is the presentation of plain fact, at the right time, right place and to the right people, about the company, its products and brand. c. Increasing Sales : Increasing sales and thereby increasing profits is the prime motive of any commercial organisation. This can be done in several ways- MCS is one of them, and so are these methods.

d. Differentiating the brand : Differentiating a product, or making it a special one so that the consumers have a specific perception about the product, enhancing the positioning of the brand. e. Influencing the consumer behaviour : We all know how the persuasive communication works towards the changing of attitudes, perception, knowledge, learning, motivation, etc. f. Objectives in conformity : We have three basic levels of objectives which must be in harmony with one another. This is called “alignment”. At no point of time there should be any disagreement between any two of them. They are : i. The organisational objectives that are defined and decided by the vision and mission of the company, 3


The overall marketing objectives that are in harmony with the organisational objectives of the company,

iii. The marketing communications objectives that are in conformity with the overall marketing objectives. g. Specific and Realistic Objectives : As a general rule, the objectives should be clear-cut, precise and well defined. Also the must be practicable and achievable. Goals should be created on the basis of its communications resources. This can be done by accurate evaluation of the situations as a whole, and with flexible and dynamic planning, scheduling and implementing. h. Measurable and Time-Specific : The time factor is very important, and the objectives have to be set in a timeframe. And for the accurate estimation of the end result the objectives have to be in measurable terms. This can also help in proper control and corrective steps in time. i. Involvement of Personnel : Personnel involved in achieving the MCS objectives must know, understand, appreciate the whole MC process and its objectives, and must endeavour to reach the goal.

5. Budget Planning : Like any activity in a business organisation MC programme needs funds and monetary resources. The funds allocated must be commensurate with all the three levels of objectives. Different objectives with different situations and products need different sizes of fund, and a matching fund can be allocated. If the financial resources are restrained for a particular objective, then it may be readjusted or some part of the MC programme may be out-sourced. Proper economic evaluation should be carried out for the purpose of MC objectives and the results expected, thereby justifying the budget for the MC plan. There are several ways of budgeting, which is beyond the scope of this chapter. 6. Developing a Marketing Communications Programme : The next step is to design or develop an appropriate MC programme to achieve the MC objective. The company has to select two MC tools like message, media, five MC mix like Ads, SP, PR, PS, DM, and three MCS like the push, pull and combination strategies, along with several other MCS. a. The Push Strategy : The push strategy is persuading the channel intermediaries such as distributors, wholesalers, retailers to help achieve the marketing objectives of the company thro’ trade promotions, public relations and personal selling. Generally applied to existing products. b. The Pull Strategy : The pull strategy is directly communicating and persuading the target customer by achieving the marketing objectives of the company thro’ mass media promotions (ads) direct marketing, etc. Generally applied to new products. c. The combination strategy : This is a combination of the above two strategies in varying proportions aiming at achieving the marketing objectives of the company.

d. Selection of MC Mix : We have the five basic MC mix elements, like Ads, SP, PR, PS, DM, and several sub elements under each of these. The company has to decide which one or more of these elements fit into its MC objectives and budget for the best or optimum results/returns. The company may have different objectives for different products, and so can have different choices of MC mix elements with different budgets.


e. The creative strategy : There are several companies having multiple products with various messages in the market. The most important determinant of attention by a customer is the creativity / inventiveness strategy of the MC which involves message and its cutting edge over that of competitors’. Creative talents are generally part of the Advertising and public Relations group. The top management of the company has to decide and select this group. These creative people decide on the three important factors : i. Message Content : In plain terms the message is the subject matter, the theme or the appeal – the thought, idea, attitude, image, or other information that the sender wants to convey to the intended audience. Three major appeals are there : 1. Rational : This is the information about the product and all its physical attributes on the basis of which a rational or logical decision can be made for purchase. 2. Emotional : This appeal arouses the customers’ emotion which can result in a positive attitude for a buying decision, and includes love, honour, pride, ego, fear, guilt, etc. 3. Moral : This appeal includes ethical, social, judicial, religious and moral explanations to influence the consumer behaviour. ii. Message Structure : This can be of three types, as follows : 1. The Conclusion Type : This type of message confidently draws a conclusion, like “Simply the Best” or “You can’t get cheaper and better than this”; and presents to the consumers, so they get the message of confidence and precise information. Some others convey incomplete messages which break at an interesting point so as to arouse interest / inquisitiveness amongst the customers, so that they can further strengthen their attitude towards the product. 2. The Argument Type : This can be positive-negative framing type or Onesided/Two-sided presentation type. 3. The Order of Presentation : When several arguments or explanations are presented, the order of putting one after another is important. The order can start at weaker points and end with stronger points or vice-versa. It may be chronological- from older features to newer features. iii. Message Format : This is the style of presentation, like headlines, highlighting effects, colour, music, background, illustrations, supporting message, main story, size, layout, etc., depending on the media of presentation chosen. f. Media Decisions : Selection of media is very important because different media have different exposure in reach, size, target group, different budget, and different persuasive effect. More often the company chooses multimedia campaign, and the presentation style, format, timings, etc. may differ from medium to medium, although the central objective and theme is the same.

7. Evaluation and Control of Marketing Communications Programme : This is the final step in the MC process, and is the evaluation of the results or the achievements according to the set objectives. This is often done by MC audit. This is done to see if the MC programme is worthwhile and to design future programmes with more accurate and effective plans. This is done in three steps :


a. Planning and Design : For this the goal and the scope of audit are to be defined, then the MC programmes that need be evaluated and the time frame of the audit are to be decided. b. Research and Measurement : The next step is to measure the outcome of such an MC programme. For this the various MR techniques are employed. Depending on the scale, nature and situation of the MCP, one or more suitable MR methods are chosen and employed. c. Analysis and Reporting : The result of the MR study is finally analysed to find out to what extent the MCP has fulfilled its objectives w.r.t. various parameters, like sales volume, attitude change, brand awareness levels, perception levels, etc. These observations are utilised as inputs in the designing the future plans of the company.

The Importance of an Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy :
1. Introduction : Many companies still rely on one or two MC tools (Ads, SP, PR, PS, DM,) to achieve their MC objectives. This practice still continues in spite of the following facts : a. Fragmentation of mass-markets into a multitude of mini markets, each requiring its own approach, b. The proliferation of new types of media, c. The growing sophistication of consumers,

d. A wide range of communications tools, messages and audiences. 2. Definition of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) : All these factors make it imperative that the modern companies move towards an “Integrated Marketing Communications” or the IMC approach. The following are a few definitions : a. As defined by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), IMC is a concept of marketing communications planning that recognises the added value of a comprehensive plan. Such a plan evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communications disciplines - for ex. General ads, direct response, sales promotion and public relations – and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum impact to the seamless integration of discreet messages. b. Another definition describes IMC as “A strategy in which a company coordinates Ads, SP, PS, PR, and DM in order to present a single and consistent image for the product and the company”. Thus IMC can be loosely defined as the process in which messages communicated by each of the promotional elements needs to be harmonised so that consumers will receive a consistent message on the brand or the company. c. Don E Schultz (1993), considered a key proponent of these concept, defined IMC as “The process of developing and implementing various forms of persuasive communications programmes, with customers and prospects over time”. The goal of IMC is to influence or directly effect the behaviour of the selected audience.

d. A more contemporary and comprehensive definition has been given by Duncan in 2002, as IMC being a process for managing the customer relationships that drives brand value. More specifically, it’s a cross functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationships with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups and 6

encouraging data-driven, purposeful dialogue with them. Duncan has also defined the types of messages that the company has to manage in IMC. They are : i. The Planned Messages : These refer to the company’s external communications civilities like Ads, SP, PR, PS, DM, which are controlled by the company itself. The Inferred Messages : These refer to the messages that the company communicates thro’ the marketing mix elements, like distribution channelschoosing high end stores gives a message that the products are of premium class.


iii. The maintenance Messages : These refer to the messages that the company communicates indirectly thro’ its service personnel by interaction with the customers. iv. The Unplanned Messages : These refer to the messages that the customers get from a third party source about the company, brand and product. These sources can be research reports, publications, broadcast/telecast media, print media, etc. In the IMC approach all the message types from all the sources must have consistent theme, and in case it is not, then the company must adopt IMC strategies to achieve consistency. 3. Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications : The importance of the IMC may be described as follows : a. IMC is seen and felt thro’ all the activities of a company. The products’ styling and price, the shape and colour of the package, the salespersons’ manner and dress, the store décor, the company stationery, all communicate something to the buyer. All brand contact delivers an impression that can strengthen or weaken the customers’ view of the company. The whole marketing mix is integrated to deliver a consistent message and strategic positioning. b. IMC does produce stronger message consistency and greater sales impact. It forces the management to think about every way the customer comes contact with the company, how the company communicates it’s positioning, the relative importance of each vehicle, and timing issues. It gives someone the responsibility- where none existed before- to unify the company’s brand image and message as they come thro’ thousands of activities of the company. c. IMC improves the company’s ability to reach the right customers with the right message at the right time and in the right place.

d. Advocates of IMC describe it as a way of looking at the whole marketing process instead of focusing on individual parts of it. Several companies (HP, Motorola, Xerox) are bringing together their Ad, DM, PR, and employee communications experts into “super councils” that meet a few times each year for training and improved communication among them. Other companies (PandG) recently revised its communications planning by requiring that each new programme be formulated jointly, with its ad agency sitting together with the company’s PR agencies, DM units, promotion merchandising firms and internet operations. 4. Driving Factors of Integrated Marketing Communications : The increased focus on IMC by the companies can be attributed to several factors as : a. Increasing Competition : Competition has assumed huge proportion in today’s world of marketing, as a result there’s a clutter in the market with a plethora of MC from all sources, and there are very close similarities between the companies, brands and products. Naturally, the MC to reach the target customers and attract 7

their attention becomes very difficult. The company has to rise above the general lot to be heard, seen, felt, perceived and remembered. For this a single MC campaign may not solve the purpose. A cohesive and integrated multidimensional communications campaign will help to draw attention and differentiate the brand from the clutter. b. Increased Number of Information Source for Consumers : Most often consumers try and get a lot of information about a company, brand or product. In today’s world it has become very easy and handy because of the internet and telecommunication revolution. So trying to persuade the consumers with only providing knowledge or updating may not work adequately. The company has to be very careful about the point-of-contact interactions, or by making their presence felt from all possible sources. And this is where the MC comes in. c. Declining in Effectiveness of Mass Ads : Because of the vast number of marketers, most of the common mass media are full with ads. TV/satellite channels are increasing day by day and the TV ads also fill each one of them. So much so that the TVC (TV commercials) occupy almost 60% of the telecast time, and this is apart from the TV editorial ads or commercials. This has resulted in media fragmentation. As a result most companies with adequate resources completely or partially switch to, or reallocate (or rearrange) to other forms of communications. On the other hand there a small number of companies who almost completely avoid the most common mass media, and rely entirely on other forms of communications (MC Mix).

d. Technological advances : The technological advancements are a wonderful thing to have happened to us in the last decade of 20th. century. This is the age of information. And the flow, collection, processing and analysis of information are vital for the MC. The developments in digital computing and communications have helped and enabled the integration of MC. Evaluation of the communications campaign, like pre-testing, post-testing can be done more effectively using these advanced analytical tools. 5. Integration Process of Marketing Communications : As we see in the above discussions, the IMC involves all the aspects if marketing efforts along with the participation and cooperation of all the key personnel. Thus it is not easy. The American Productivity and Quality Centre (APQC) has made an extensive study and suggested a four-stage process for the implementation of IMC. They are as follows : a. Tactical Coordination of Marketing Communication : This is comparatively simple and refers to the external MC functions to communicate “one idea”, “one thought”, “one sight”, “one sound” or “one image” about the company, brand or product. All the creative activities are directed towards the MC Mix tools that are to be employed for this purpose, and it is ascertained that all the messages are in harmony with each other. b. Redefining the Scope of Marketing Communication : This stage involves the company’s understanding of the target consumers and their buying behaviour, which can be done by the help of MR. And then the designing is done from the customers point of view, i.e., customer oriented. Also it involves the inclusion of both external and internal Communication. The help of HRM is required for the training and induction of the personnel to make them consumer oriented when communicating with them, so that there must be complete harmony with the three levels of objectives. c. Use of Information Technology : This stage involves the extensive use of IT, in building a database of the entire mass of customers. IT provides various tools, 8

like CRM, database, analytical and statistical. This is basically meant for creating and retaining a good number of satisfied customers and giving them specialised service. Of the various databases available with the reliable resources, the company can choose on the basis of STP, and then a consistent MCP can be developed. The use of internet also enhances the ongoing flow of communications between the company and the consumer. d. Strategic and Financial Integration : In this stage, the company tries to integrate the MC activities with the financial and other strategic goals of the company. We know that for the IMC, we need cohesion between several functional areas like finance (budgeting and ROI), HR (hiring, training and orientation), general administration and of course the top management. The company seeks a well defined return of this integrated MC approach. Also this approach is employed in cases of mergers and acquisitions (MandA). 6. Barriers to Integrated Marketing Communications : Though companies adopt the new approach to MC as envisaged by the IMC concept, there are several impediments to this process : a. Lack of Top management Support : The top management must support the implementation of IMC. Some cases where the CEO or any other member of the top management having some ego problem may act as a hindrance to the process. b. Barriers of Organisational Structure : The traditional Organisational structure may act as a barrier, where the internal communication is controlled by the functional heads. For the IMC to be successful all the communications must be integrated with a flexible hierarchy and placed under one umbrella. Failure to have such an arrangement may be a hindrance. c. Barriers of Organisational Culture : IMC is a relatively new concept and it needs the cooperation of all the employees and the coordination of all the functional departments. If the corporate culture of the firm is favourable then it will help the IMC process. Else, the IMC will be ineffective. Some employees resist change, some fear of loosing importance or budget allocation, and such a situation is a barrier to the IMC process.

7. Ways for Successful Implementation of Integrated Marketing Communications : We’ll discuss now the guidelines for the successful implementation of IMC. a. Organisational Culture : As discussed earlier, the IMC doesn’t include the marketing function alone, but it also embraces the entire organisational functions, mainly, Finance, Logistics, HR, Production, and above all the top management. The communications that take place between Mgt and employees, Mgt and distribution channels, Mgt and consumers or employees and consumersall have to be in harmony and in complete agreement with each other. Apart from these, the physical evidences like products, retail stores, ambience, and behaviour of personnel are all adding to the communication. We may call this the overall culture of the company which is oriented towards the IMC. b. Client Agency Relationship : In today’s world of specialisation, more often external agencies are hired for the external MC activities, where there is interaction between the agency and the customers. No doubt, the agencies are expert in their field and they know their job, but the company must monitor all these activities so that the consumer gets the correct, consistent, and coherent message regarding the company, brand and products, in all the MC tools. 9


Collaborative Strategy : This is similar to the above point, but the difference is that it’s internal to the company. In reaching the goods and services to a consumer, all the functional departments and the employees have equitable participation. And similarly in the IMC the co-ordination and co-operation are highly desirable. Therefore, during the planning stage itself, the company must clearly define the various roles of various sections w.r.t. the IMC, like say training, awareness, information, presentation, promotion, etc.

d. Customer Centric Strategy : In MC the flow of information / communication is both ways- inside-out and outside-in. But more emphasis is given to outside-in approach which is customer centric. Mostly for the internal communications the inside-out approach is followed. For the external communications the outside-in approach is followed. It starts with the STP, then the behaviour, preferences requirements of the consumers, and then a communication strategy can be planned. For this the firm can make use of various modern management / marketing tools, like CRM, consumer database, statistical methods, MR, internet, interactive communications, etc. 8. Product Life Cycle (PLC) : After the Segmentation and Targeting the company adopts the strategy of Positioning and Differentiation. This strategy is not static, and needs change and modification as the products, markets, competitors and consumers, all change with time. This leads to the concept of “Product Life Cycle” (PLC) and the normal changes as the product passes thro’ each of the stages of life cycle. a. This concept assumes the following points : i. ii. The products have a limited life, The product sales pass thro’ distinct stages, each posing different challenges opportunities and problems to the seller,

iii. The profits riseand fall at different stages of the product life cycle, iv. The products require different marketing, financial, purchasing, and HR strategies in each life cycle stage. manufacturing,

b. Product life cycle : Nothing lasts for ever. The products that are introduced in the market last for a definite period and then slowly vanish. This period from entry to exit is known as the product lifecycle. Most product life cycle curves are portrayed as bell shaped. This curve is typically into four stages : Each of these stages is associated with its own problems and challenges, along with the relevant marketing and MC strategy. i. Introduction : A period of slow sales growth as the product is introduced in the market. Profits are non-existent because of the heavy expenses incurred with product introduction. The MC can be basically of Information, Education, Awareness, Training, Demonstration, etc. Emphasis is given to brand awareness, and Pull Strategy. Growth : A period of rapid market acceptance and substantial profit improvement. The break-even occurs during this period. Here the MC is basically of Persuasion, strong Intermediary Communication, Comparative Advertising, etc. Emphasis is given to Brand Preference, Market Penetration, and Push Strategy.


iii. Maturity : A period of a slow down in sales growth because the product has achieved acceptance by most potential buyers, and the volume movement remains flat. Profit stabilises or decline because of increased competition. 10

Here the MC strategy can be of Reminding, with Reminder Ads, Direct Mail Reminders, Sales Promotion in the form of Discounts and Coupons, etc. iv. Decline : The period when sales show a downward drift and profits erode. This is the winding up period, where the budget for the MC is reduced progressively. This period is vital for the development of another new product, or re-launching of the same product with a new light entirely, or choosing a different target market. For this the timing has to be very accurate. Else the company may have a lean period. c. Actions in various Lifecycle Stages : The following Table depicts the MC strategies that need to be adopted for the Four Product lifecycle stages : GROWTH To Persuade MATURITY To remind Reminder Advertising Sales Promotion in forms of discounts and coupons DECLINE To wind up

INTRODUCTION To Inform Publicity Sales Promotion in form of free samples Sales force calling on Intermediaries Advertising

Limited personal Launching of a new or selling Re-launching of Product Direct Mail Reminders d. Product Life Cycle Decisions : These decisions are nothing but the various market offers of the company at various points of time, like the starting of business, and later. The timing, the different markets, the different products, etc. A new company starting business may offer one product to a particular market, and later may add another product or another market or both, and so on. The following are the four possibilities : For Existing Product ↓ For New Products ↓ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT DIVERSIFICATION

Advertising to the brand attributes from those of competing brand Personal selling to intermediaries

Decrease the Marketing Communications Budget

For Existing Markets → For New Markets → i.


Market Penetration : This is a kind of strategy where the company wants to sell more of its products / services to the existing markets to achieve a larger market share, but doesn’t try to change the product or the market. Market Development : Here the marketer tries to enter into new markets with the existing products / services.


iii. Product / Service Development : Here it’s just the opposite – a new product / service is developed, or an existing service is modified for the existing market. iv. Diversification : This is the case where both the services are changed / modified / developed and the new markets are sought.

The Marketing Mix Communications :
1. Marketing Mix : The process or the tools of creating, communicating and delivering value to the customers is thru “Marketing Mix” a concept devised by McCarthy. This concept is the 4 Ps of marketing : 11

a. Products – Product Variety, Design, Features, Brand Name, Models, Style, Appearance, Quality, Warranty, Package (design, type, material, size, appearance and labelling), Service (pre-sale, after sale, service standards, service charges). b. Price – Pricing Policies, List Price, Margins, Discounts, Rebates, Terms of Delivery, Payment Terms, Credit Terms, Instalment Purchase Facility, Resale Price Maintenance. c. Place – Channels of Distribution (channel design, types of intermediaries, location of outlets, channel remuneration, dealer-principle relation, etc.), Coverage Assortments, Physical Distribution (transportation, warehousing, inventory levels, order processing, etc.)

d. Promotion – Personal Selling, Selling Expertise, Size of Sales Force, Quality of Sales Force, Advertising (media-mix, vehicles, programmes, sales promotions, publicity, and public relations). 2. Marketing Concepts : The competing concepts under which organisations have conducted marketing activities include : a. Exchange Concept – Exchange of goods and services between two agencies called buyer and seller, or exchange of goods and services for money or barter system. b. Production Concept – Making the goods widely available and making it inexpensive by high production efficiency. c. Product Concept – Quality, performance, utility, innovative features etc.

d. Selling Concept – Aggressive selling and promotion effort. “The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff to more people more often for more money in order to make more profit” e. Marketing Concept – “Products/Production” oriented concept (make and sell) has changed to “Consumer” oriented concept (sense and respond). Instead of “hunting” marketing is gardening”. The job is not to find the right customer for the products, but the right products for the customers. The perceptive contrast between the selling and marketing concepts – selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer. f. Holistic Marketing Concept – This is based on the development, design and implementation of marketing programmes, processes and activities that recognise their breadth and interdependencies.

3. Sellers’ Point of View vs. Buyers’ Point of View : Note that the 4 Ps represent the sellers’ view of the marketing tools available for influencing the buyers. From the buyers’ point of view, each marketing tool is designed to deliver a customer benefit. Robert Lauterborn suggested that the Sellers’ 4 Ps correspond to the Customers’ 4 Cs. Successful companies are those that can meet customer needs economically, conveniently and with effective communication. They 4 Cs are : 4 Ps 4 Cs Product Customer Solution Price Customer Cost Place Convenienc e Promotion Communication

4. The MC in each of these elements of 4 Ps and 4 Cs, and the Modern Marketing Concepts : The MC has its presence in each of these tools of marketing mix. 12

a. Products (Customer Solution) : The feedback or the MR study collected from the customers normally decides the product improvement programmes, new product launch, or even re-launching of the existing product in a new light. Almost all the functional divisions participate in this, like R and D, production, finance, HR, etc. And this necessitates the flow of internal communication, like training, awareness of the features of product / services, usage for the personnel handling them and the distribution channel intermediaries. And also the external communications carried out with the consumers. b. Price (Customer Cost) : All the price decisions must be well communicated and publicised both internally and externally, so as to remove any doubt or ambiguity from the minds of consumers. c. Place (Convenience) : Here both the internal and external communications are required to inform the consumers of the availability of goods and services, the dealers, their facilities and other attributes. And also the feedback regarding dealer services reach the company, on the basis of which it can improve these services.

d. Promotion (Communication) : This part is the communication itself, and the latest trend is to go for IMC. e. The Modern Marketing Concept : Thus we see that in the modern concepts of marketing, whether it be 4 Ps or 4 Cs the flow of information or communication is an inherent part of the business or marketing process. The company as a whole, the management, the heads of functional divisions, the employees, the service personnel, the ambience, the distributors, the dealers, their dealings, behaviour – everything should speak volumes in verbal, nonverbal, silence, messages to the consumers, regarding and enhancing the image of the company, the brand and the products / services.

© Himansu S M / Written Oct-2006, Published Feb-2010


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