What is Marketing Communication?

Marketing Communication is basically the process of using different communication channels and tools to communicate marketing information to target groups and desired parties.

Marketing departments use various communication channels such as web, radio, printed media, billboards, opinion leaders, word of mouth, sponsorships and many other ways like television. This is also known as the promotion which is a key factor of the marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) or else called as 4Ps. The whole process of marketing is executed through this marketing communication mix.

Marketing communication can be further explained using a sort of ice burg theory. It is the tip of the iceberg and it is the highlighted and visible process. All other marketing mix activities are not directly visible to customers. Therefore this is one of the most important factors of marketing operations and these tools below are used to achieve marketing goals and objectives of an organisation.

Marketing Communication Tools/Strategies.

• Advertising – Communicating text, audio or visual messages through various communication channels with the intention of promoting products and brands and to provide information.
• Sales Promotion – An incentive given to either consumers or traders to grow sales for a short period of time.
• Personal Selling – Sales persons making sales by approaching individual customers personally.
• Direct Marketing – This is a way of communicating promotional details and other information directly to customers.
• Public Relations (PR) – The process of developing and maintaining a positive image of the company by good communication with the public and society.
• Digital Marketing – Marketing products and services through digital channels and mediums such as websites, E-mails, social media, search engines etc.
• Sponsorships – Financial or nonfinancial support given to a third part with the intention of using the third part to do marketing activities.
• Event Marketing – Organising online or offline events and activities attached to the brand or the product to promote the brand and the product through experiential marketing.

Combination of the marketing communication mix is not the same for every business; it differs with the type of business, size of the business, target market, type of the product etc.

Today Digital Marketing has influenced a lot on this subject. Therefore it is vital to create an effective and bespoke marketing communication mix combining the above tools. This is your marketing strategy.

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Marketing Tools. There are lots on offer.

Marketing is multifaceted. The suite of marketing tools available these days means there are a wide range on offer for you to place what you do in from of clients and prospects. To me, these “tools” can be categorised into 6 key areas which are –

Cold calling (canvassing) – Appointment making rather than selling
PR – This can be press releases and/or public relations
Advertising – Online and offline, both fall under the heading of paid for publicity
Direct Marketing – Not just direct mail but selling direct to customers rather than through a 3rd party
Print – Company brochures and literature
Conferences, seminars, exhibitions – Placing your skills and services in front of an audience

None of the above should be used as a singular entity or a solus route to a successful marketing campaign. In my opinion, all of the above could and should be used when developing a holistic marketing strategy. Each initiative must be used for the right purpose, with the right objective, at the right time, for the right target group.

I appreciate that the 6 above could be added to, but I didn’t include telesales as this is more about making a direct sale over the phone than the Cold Canvassing indicated in my list. There are cross overs between the skills required to sell a meeting and to make a physical sale, but the intrusion factor is quite different!

Similarly, there are other marketing related initiatives such as offering free samples or special introductory price offers and I haven’t included the wonders of client entertainment, but I don’t really feel I have much to offer here. Obviously taking a client or prospect out and plying them with alcohol or food at a sporting event can play a very lubricating role in your sales and marketing process, but it is really a form of bribery!

Think about what your marketing objectives are. These objectives have to be business related. Aiming for a date to retire or an annual turnover figure are more personal objectives really. Once you set your objectives, allocate a budget and a timescale. Plan what you want to do and more importantly why. Not everything you do will be a success so prepare to test activities and remember, you are unlikely to be an expert. There are good companies out there who can help!

 

Work with the media to help your marketing

The media can and do play a major part in marketing, but media Relations should go beyond submitting the standard press release to your local paper. The media exist to inform the public of news, events, business opportunities etc so it is their duty to be kept informed of what is happening out there in the business world!

If you want to get onto the media’s wave length, one option could be to provide some sort of media pack detailing (in brief) the company, its services, the key personnel, levels and sectors of expertise, a current client list and even some up to date case histories. Whatever you decide to use, you need to make sure that the information you supply acts as a carrot!

Options to consider would be to profile your company or someone within it. Has this person achieved something or been recognised in a particular category? You could also look to a diary piece if quirky as this tends to attract attention.

Whatever you decide, don’t be despondent if you’re not given coverage straight away. There are a number of factors that will influence whether or not you’ll appear such as – lack of space, lack of familiarity of your company, bad timing, relevance or even the actual content itself. But, don’t give up. Column inches achieved by you and your company will place you as an expert in your sector.

Always be alive to possibilities. These possibilities may arise as the result of an event (economic or social!), by editorial comment; by industry issues or by developments in your company. Be aware of opportunities beyond the media such as speaker platforms, seminars and/or sponsorship openings.

What are your marketing resolutions?

Well, 2013 has started and could this be the year to really plan your marketing activity and take it to the next level?! The start of a new year often comes with personal resolutions like losing weight, getting fit or stopping smoking, but what about the business side of things? Are you making a business resolution for 2013 and if you are, what is it?!

The reason I ask is that Bath Marketing Consultancy has already received 4 enquiries in 2013 from companies looking to “get their marketing into shape for 2013.” Each company had identified that they have sat on their laurels too long with regards to their marketing activity and each one had decided that it was time to put a cohesive plan in place and bring in a company to work with them.

Despite every time you turn on the news you hear that the economy is stalling and that the government is looking to take disposable income away by taxing people all over the place and taking away benefits etc, we are finding it very refreshing that small to medium companies seem to be starting to look ahead and then planning for their futures when it comes to how they market themselves. We have always maintained that an effective marketing plan can make a huge difference to the success of an organisation!

Many moons ago, I wrote a post based on my suggestions on the “20 golden rules for running a successful business” which might be something in this article to look at to spur you on!?

Don’t panic, it is impossible for a single person within an organisation to be solely responsible for all marketing initiatives and be an expert at them all so there is nothing wrong with consulting…..a marketing consultant!