The following report is directed to the Charity Commission of Great Britain, describing, analyzing and discussing the possible role of marketing communication in the wider environments. It shows the difference between marketing communication in consumer environments and wider environment through a description of the five principles of marketing communication mix. The paper brings out the market communication applications and the corresponding advantages and disadvantages posed in the implementations of marketing communication mix. The report also offers realistic and justified recommendations for the short and long term usage of marketing communication mix (MCM) in the wider context.
Marketing Communication Mix
MCM refers to a combination of variables that define how a product should be introduced and placed in the consumer and wider environments, whereby companies use advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotions and direct marketing to achieve their objectives. Each component of the MCM has several strengths and weaknesses that are very important in deciding how a company should act in order to achieve its marketing and advertising goals. Marketing communication mix can be applied in consumers’ environments or in other wider contexts such as large organizations. MCM can be said to consist of three main elements namely tools, messages and media. The five tools in MCM include advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotions and direct selling. With the changes in technology and lifestyles, organizations need to use various combinations of market communication tools in order to achieve their objectives (Hanssens 2009). This is what has led to media and audience fragmentation as more and more interactive forms of communication continue to emerge. The traditional marketing communication mix model has continued to evolve through the years and consumers have changed from receiving messages through the television and newspaper. Rather than just receiving information through the media, consumers are actively using the media to discover more, participate in information sharing and express themselves through active engagements.
Advertising in the wider environment
Over the years, companies and organizations have been using this marketing communication mix tool very extensively. An example of advertising is the poster created by a charitable organization appealing to well-wishers to help some starving communities in Africa. The poster consisted of a picture that had a woman carrying her baby on the back, her sad face reaching out to well-wishers to come and help the starving persons. On her hands, she held out a handful pint of maize flour, an expression of how bad the situation was. On the side of the poster, there were writings expressing that Nancy held her whole day’s food in her hands but well-wishers held the mix to fix the situation right in their hands. Advertising for charity is much more complicated than advertising products and brands. This is because a charity advert must get value for its money, and it can lead to depletion and wastage of resources if not well planned. Adverts that involve charity should not be too glamorous, neither should they be non-glamorous. Some people have complained of the kind of adverts that are used to create disaster awareness or hunger awareness due to their shocking and frightening status. The advantage of advertising charity issues is that the ads usually provoke discussion in a creative and innovative way. However, the advert is one-way form of communication since it only conveys a message but does not give audiences a chance to air their concerns, queries or views (Hanssens 2009).
Sales promotion refers to an approach in the marketing communication mix strategies that can target the consumer or a wider context of marketing. Sales promotion uses coupons or premiums that can attract much attention in the marketing field. The main aim of using sales promotion in marketing communication is usually to increase sales and gather as much marketing information as possible. Just like in advertising, sales promotion offers a non-personal form of marketing communication. It is possible for a charity organization to use sales promotions when doing marketing. A charitable organization can structure its sales promotion in numerous ways as long as it carries out all the tasks as stipulated under the charitable-solicitation laws. This can be done by starting a marketing campaign which says that if people buy a particular item, a percentage of the total cost will go to charity (Deeter 2011). It complements a macroeconomic need although its audience credibility is quite low as compared to advertising.
Personal selling refers to face-to-face marketing communication tools usually undertaken by an individual or group of people in order to persuade the audience to take up a certain task. For example, a marketer from a charitable organization may be campaigning for a stop-to-starvation initiative in a country, going to prospective socially-responsible organizations and having one-on-one conversations. The marketer may talk to the leaders of the organizations or groups of audiences in order to deliver her message. Unlike sales promotions or advertising, the control found in managing personal selling is much lower. This is because a sales person may go to deliver a message to an audience and end up distorting the message. This shows that at the point of contact, there is little that an organization can do to control what is delivered or what is not delivered by the salesperson. However, personal selling is advantageous since many messages can be passed across by a single salesperson or marketer. By delivering many messages, the sales person enhances the possibility of making a sale or striking a deal with the target audience. Unfortunately, the many different messages passed across by the sales person may also lessen the process of decision making on the part of the client, leading to more costs and time (Shahhosseini 2011).
This is a tool related to the marketing communication mix that is concerned with creating and maintaining relationships in the wider aspects of marketing. It is usually used as a corporate strategy that large organizations and companies use in order to create healthy ties with all stakeholders while improving their own image and reputation (Smith 2010). Public relations are usually used to create knowledge and advertising of an organization’s initiatives. In most cases, advertising becomes successful once there have been prior public relations. For example, the organization that deals with the aged and funeral matters for the aged came up with a plan to educate people on how beneficial an aged trust fund could be if those persons who were over 50 years applied. It was more comprehensive than advertising since it explained the many reasons as to why people should be encouraged to save for their funeral expenses. Charitable organization should understand the importance of Public relations (PR) in all their activities. In most cases, these organizations use local media press to cite their appeals and coverage. A charitable organization should engage with societal relations, corporate relations and donor partners because public relation messages are always the most effective in charity. Public relations can be said to contain high credibility among the audience and they have an ability to catch buyers off guard through dramatization of the company’s product. The message can be passed across through public affairs, event managements and sponsorships where by the company can take time to create knowledge and understanding of a product. Public relations can be used to create long term relationships with stakeholders although it is the least used among the five tools.
Direct marketing refers to the passing of message through non personal ways such as telephone, online and direct mail marketing. Most organizations use this form of marketing communication tool as a standard communication mode in an interactive non personalized ways. Direct marketing aims at creating strong one- on- one relationship with each and every customer that the message is directed to. Mostly, this tool deals with those products which are flexible enough to get alterations in terms of prices such that the product. According to Arora et al., 2008, charitable organizations have started giving out telephone numbers, e- mails and websites to allow a direct interaction with the prospective clients. Nowadays, internet offers a very convenient mode of communication that can be used as a form of distribution channel. For example, some companies may offer their e mail addresses and phone numbers to allow contacts on both ways.
Effective marketing communication in the wider aspect
There are several aspects of effectiveness in marketing communication. For example, an organization must identify the kind of audience they want their message to reach. Target audience may include potential clients, the public, influencers, individuals and various groups of people. Once the communicator decides on the target audience, it becomes easy to make decisions on what should be incorporated in the message and where to say it. The other factor to consider is the communication objective for the organization. An organization may venture into marketing communication with several objectives in mind such as the category need, awareness, and attitude or purchase intention. This is the reason as to why every company must understand its own objectives so as to venture into market communication strategies. The other factor to consider is the designing of a message that can attract attention, obtain interest and obtain action. A message that is being passed from the marketer to an audience must be in such a way that it arouses desire in the targeted people. When designing a message, the marketer should formulate a way on how and what to pass across the message. Therefore, the message must start with winning the audience’s attention by creating interest in gaining awareness so that it can create a basis for effectiveness. A good message must have appealing message content, good message structure and a strong message format by the use of headlines, color and illustrations (Eid et al. 2006).
The next factor that must be considered is the media through which the message should be sent. At this point, the communicator must choose either a personal communication channel or a non-personal communication channel that can enable two or more persons to communicate. This is the point where the communicator chooses either face to face, telephone, mail, chats, newspapers, television, radio, posters, billboards or electronic media audio tapes. The other point that should be considered to ensure effectiveness in communication is the selection of the message source. It is important for organizations and companies to understand that the effectiveness of a message also depends on how audiences view the communicator. Messages that are delivered by credible sources tend to be more motivating and persuasive. Finally, the target audience must be given a chance to collect and portray feedback from the marketing communication strategies used. This can be done by asking the audience about how the message was and how they felt about a certain message. Sometimes a company may be dismayed to learn that the advertising was too degraded such that the audience recalls very little about it or it feels nothing positive about the advert. This is the importance of collective feedback among the target market.
Factors to consider in creating Marketing Communication Mix for the wider market
There are several factors that organizations must consider in choosing the best communication mix for their marketing. For example, they must choose the marketing communication mix depending on the type of product that they usually deal with. Those marketers targeting the wider aspect, rather than the consumer market, must understand that their issues are more complex and they would require majoring on personal selling. This is because their market is much more risky and expensive, and they must find a way of dealing with the challenges. This is the point where the company chooses which type of promotional mix it uses: either push or pull. The other factor that has to be considered is the buyer readiness stage, a time when the organization must understand the consumer’s awareness level. This aspect helps the client to comprehend the product details and it is usually influenced by personal selling and advertising. It is important to understand which of the five marketing communication tools should be used at every single level of consumer conviction (Keller 2001). For example, at one point a company may feel that it is better to use sales promotion rather than advertising if the sales person is almost closing a business deal.
The other important factor to consider in choosing the best marketing communication mix is the product life cycle stage. This is because the five marketing communication tool vary significantly across the various stages of the life cycle of a product. The different life cycle of a product can be said to be the introduction stage, growth stage, maturity stage and decline stage. For example, in the introduction stage, the marketer must use more and more of advertising, publicity and personal selling in order to increase the product promotion’s coverage. The final factor that needs to be considered during the process of marketing communication mix is the company’s market rank. Measuring the impact of a promotion on the target audience is a vital factor to consider since it gives the company unbiased feedback from the audience. At this point, it would be important for the company to understand how many people bought, liked or discussed the product based on the promotion done during the market communication process.
The following are the recommendations that can be considered in order to reduce the problems related to control, costs, credibility, and communication and audience dispersion in regards to the problems posed by each of the five MCM tools.
1. Control should be imposed on each of the five tools of marketing communication so that the marketer can ensure that the message is passed to the intended audience. For example, the charitable organization’s intention could be to make leaders aware of a certain task that they need to approve for the success of an organization, and the best way to ensure that the required control is exercised is by ensuring that there is no distortion, corruption or interference of the message.
2. A charitable organization should ensure that it chooses a marketing communication mix that is considerate of the available financial resources. Different media such as newspapers, posters, radios, internet and televisions have varying costs and it is the task of the marketer to decide on the most cost effective. Marketers must understand that there are costs that come with using a third party for transmitting the message.
3. A marketer should ensure that the message contains credibility. Audience perceives credibility in the form of third parties especially celebrities and experts, although in charity, extremely glamorous ads are not appropriate, neither are the least glamorous. When organizations endorse such important figures in the adverts, they succeed in making the audience to perceive the message as trustworthy.
4. In specialized wider aspects of marketing communication mix, one on one contact would be very appropriate especially when the message needs designing, installation or demonstration.
5. The best method to use in Charity is public relations, although it is the least considered method of advertising by organizations. It is advantageous to find a way that is not being used by every other charitable organization.
The above report has described, analyzed and discussed the roles of marketing communication in a charitable organization. The paper has also shown that there is a difference between consumer-oriented and wider aspects marketing. The paper has also brought out the market communication application tools and the corresponding advantages and disadvantages posed in the implementations. It also explains the opportunities and problems posed in the implementation of marketing communication and the most justified recommendations to counteract the issues of cost, control, communication and audience dispersion.
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