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Marketing Communication Strategy

The Communication Process

An effort by: Sunil Kumar, Assistant Professor APIIT Business School Panipat.


Principles of Advertising and IMC Tom Duncan McGraw-Hill

Advertising & Promotions an IMC perspective By Kruti Shah & Alan DSouza McGraw-Hill

Current Lecture based on the book: Advertising & Promotions an IMC perspective Kruti Shah & Alan DSouza Tata McGraw Hill



Noise occurs if:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. the sender isnt sure about what message to communicate, the message is not clearly encoded, the wrong communication channel is chosen, the message is not received or decoded properly, the receiver doesnt have the experience or time to understand the message, the word chosen have multiple meanings (different meanings in different contexts), and the context is not clearly explained/ understood.

Let us make it more clear: The word Fine

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. If you exceed the 100-kph speed limit, you may have to pay a fine (penalty), Aamir Khan in Ghajini turned into a fine performance (excellent), The machine runs at a slow speed, because the tolerance is fine (delicate), The puzzle is difficult to put together because the pieces are so fine (small), Recent experiments have tried to produce drugs that are fine (pure), The pages of that antique book are extremely fine (flimsy).

So, the problems in communication may be at any step of the entire process. This may be at the time of:
1. 2. 3. 4. Understanding the message to be conveyed (the sender), Coding, Transmitting (media selection and noises), Decoding (receiver).

Hence, the utmost importance of feedback. Feedback in any communication and particularly in marketing is of prime importance. A customer expresses his feedback by: - making an enquiry, - purchasing his products, - praising you before his friends/ knowns (word-of-mouth publicity) - by complaining So, the feedback of any marketing communication is in the form of the action taken by the customer. If the action taken is on desired lines, the marketing communication is effective, otherwise not.

COMMUNICATION RESPONSE HIERARCHY Experts believe that consumers respond to messages in a hierarchical order of behavior. behavior Various models have been tried by experts to explain the consumer response. FIGURE: TRADITIONAL CONSUMER RESPONSE HIERARCHY MODELS. STAGES AIDA MODEL HIERARCHY OF EFFECTS MODEL Awareness Attention Knowledge AFFECTIVE STAGE Interest Desire BEHAVIORAL STAGE Liking Preference Conviction Interest Evaluation Trial Action Purchase Adoption Behavior Awareness INNOVATION ADOPTION MODEL INFORMATION PROCESSING MODEL Presentation Attention Comprehension Yielding Retention


The traditional response models propose that a consumer moves through various stages of responses ranging from first becoming aware about a product to finally purchasing it. These responses can be divided into cognitive, affective and behavioral responses. For each stage of consumer readiness or response, communicators (marketers) must perform specific actions. The communicator might need to imprint something into the consumers mind (cognitive response), change an attitude (affective response) or get the consumer to act (behavioral response). THE AIDA MODEL: A consumer passes through the following four stages:
- Awareness. In relatively new product category, this function assumes the maximum importance. So, the major purpose of communication is to create awareness, to inform of the presence of any particular product - Interest. At this stage, the consumers graduate from awareness about the product to interest in it. Interest in the product can be created by showing some unique feature of the product, demonstrating how it works, presenting entertaining ads, fetching in popular celebrities etc.

- Desire. Can be built by showing how the product addresses a specific need and by creatively promoting quality, value and other significant features. - Action. The ultimate aim of any marketing communication is to spur the target audience into action i.e. to purchase the product offered through the communication. E.g. this is done through offering discounts etc. in many of the product categories.

THE HIERARCHY OF EFFECTS MODEL: another stair-step and linear model. Proposed by Robert Lavidge and Gary Steiner. States that advertising must move people up a series of steps from cognitive processing to attitude change to purchase behavior. Consumers do not switch from being disinterested individual to convinced purchasers in one instantaneous step. Rather, they approach the purchase decision through a series of steps ranging from awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction and purchase. A major assumption of the model is that advertising effects over time. Hence advertising must move consumers through the above mentioned five psychological stages before it can lead them to purchase. This model is often used in objective setting and the measurement of advertising effectiveness.

THE INNOVATION ADOPTION MODEL: is based on the diffusion of innovations theory, looks at the consumers as adopters of a news innovation. This model classify the consumers into various categories as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards, based on how soon they adopt an innovation. Trying to quickly convince the masses regarding a new, unconventional idea is futile. It makes more sense to convince the innovators and early adopters first, and taking others gradually through the decision-making process (awareness, interest, evaluation, trial and adoption) that occurs when individuals consider adopting a new idea or product. The adoption process can be speeded up through demonstrations or sampling programmes that increase consumer confidence in new product.

THE INFORMATION PRCESSING MODEL: The model views the receiver of a message as an information processor and problem solver, who goes through six stages:
- message communication to the receiver, - attending the message (attention), - comprehending the message (comprehension), - getting convinced by the argument and yielding to the message, - retaining the information, and finally - carrying out the desired behavior.

The advertising will fail if it is unable to convince the audience at any of these stages. So any campaign is as strong as its weakest link. So each stage must be measured through consumer surveys or other mechanisms to provide feedback regarding advertising effectiveness. ANOTHER THEORY: Most people fall into three stages of interest in any product at any given time.
Inert Stage: In this stage, the attitude of people towards the product is passive, and possibly they dont take the advertisement. So, its better not to target and waste advertisement money on this segment. Acquirement Stage: People in this stage realize the need for the product and are eager to get more information that will aid their purchase decision product facts, brand information and like. They will be more receptive to advertising and will even engage in critical evaluation. Advertising directed to people in the acquirement stage should move beyond only interest generation and give important information to the consumers. Decision Stage: Consumers now having already evaluated the desired product and have narrowed in on their brand choices. Now they are extremely vulnerable to price and value related information, which is very often conveyed at the point of sale.

EVALUATION OF THE TRADITIONAL RESPONSE HIERARCHY MODELS The response models are useful in several ways.
Gives an understanding regarding how the consumers relate to advertising in terms of their interest in buying a product when they see an advertisement. Marketers when account for each response stage and moves customers through each stage can increase the results of advertising. Helps in making the strategic decision as to the audience in which phase should be addressed through a specific campaign. If the advertisement is targeted at the people in the inert stage, it should do nothing more than informing the people about the product. If advertising is targeted at the people in acquirement stage, it should be more persuasive and should focus on definite product advantages and distinctive features or image. People in the decision stage already know what they want and are aware of their brand choices. They are only looking for a cue or right opportunity to make their final choice. So the reminder advertising can close the sale by convincing them that now is the right time to make a commitment.

In spite of the usefulness, the traditional models suffer from some oversight.
All the five models mentioned above assume that consumers move through a hierarchical sequence of cognitive-affective-behavioral response. This learn-feel-do sequence is appropriate with high involvement products with high product differences. This hierarchy is not always relevant and has been questioned after extensive researches.

ALTERNATIVE RESPONSE HIERARCHIES Does awareness leas to feelings and then to purchasing behavior? Depends. Three alternative models of information processing based on consumers level of involvement in a product and perceived product differentiation are identified by the social psychologist Michael L. Ray. These are:
1. 2. 3. The Standard Learning Hierarchy The Dissonance/ Attribution Hierarchy, and The Low-Involvement Hierarchy FIGURE: ALTERNATIVE MODELS OF INFORMATION PROCESSIONG INVOLVEMENT WITH PRODUCT






1. The Standard Learning Hierarchy: This model assumes a learn-feel-do sequence. Information about a brand leads to development of feelings or preference for it, which translates into actions. This occurs when buyers are involved with the product, alternative products are clearly differentiated, mass media promotion is important, and the product is in the early stages of product life cycle and hence the need for the information is the highest. Examples: Consumer Durables and Industrial Products. Implication: Communicators should focus most on imparting information. 2. The Dissonance/ Attribution Hierarchy: This hierarchy follows a reverse of the traditional hierarchy, as presented above. Hence, action takes first which leads to the attitudinal shift, and finally development of awareness and comprehension. Thus, this assumes a do-feel-learn sequence. Here, the product involvement remains high, but the product quality is similar and differences between alternatives are complex and unclear. Further, mass media information is generally less available and influential for such products. Examples: Steel tubes, Electrical appliance, Home Entertainment Products etc. Implication: Personal selling is more important and the main effects of mass media is after the purchase to reassure the consumer, reinforce his purchase decision, and provide information that reduces any possible post-purchase dissonance (also known as cognitive dissonance). So communication efforts directed at consumers and not just at prospects, so that the brand choices can be reinforced and repeat behavior can be ensured.

3. The Low Involvement Hierarchy: put forward a learn-do-feel sequence for low-involvement products. So, the customer first becomes aware throgh mass media, but is not intensely involved in the message, and hence does not develop any attitude about the product. Instead, when the opportunity arises, he purchases the product. Then he develops the liking or preference for the product relevant for the repeat purchase behavior. Examples: Convenience Goods or social acts like voting etc. fall in this category. Implication: Consumers are passive receivers of communication and dont process the messages actively and the specifics of the message are largely ignored. So, in such circumstances, repetition of the message again and again becomes important so as to increase the brand (product) memory that ultimately translates into the purchase. So, in case of reminder advertising, the purpose is to create awareness rather than creating any affective effect. Evaluation of Alternative Response Hierarchy Theories: There may be more response hierarchies. For example feel-do-learn sequence that is appropriate when products command high emotional involvement and differentiation is also high, as in the case of perfumes and fashion jewellery. Further, the models do not talk about negative cognitive evaluation of an ad.

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