There are multiple components of a communications mix. The communications mix in marketing comprises of the various ways that a company can communicate with its customers. Because marketing communications is of utmost importance in today’s day and age, the communications mix and the marketing vehicles used within it are also important to marketing.
As can be seen from the concepts of marketing there were initially various different concepts which were used when manufacturing first started. They were the production concept, the sales concept etc.. However, slowly but surely we moved on to implement the marketing concept and today we generally use the customer concept in the market.
The key principle behind the marketing concept is that we should add value to our products so that the customer will automatically buy our products above that of competition. However, how will the customer know that we have value added products? This is the job of the Marcomm department and hence the communications mix is needed.
Generally when a company makes a marketing communications plan, it combines multiple forms of communication channels into the mix. This is done to ensure that the message of the company reaches the end consumer. It is also done to ensure repetition so that the customer recalls the brand because of the brand message being repeated in multiple channels at once.
The 6 most common variables of the communication mix are as follows.
We are very well with the impact that advertising has on our purchase behavior. Advertising may be in many forms but the two most common forms are ATL advertising which includes television, radio and print and the other type is BTL advertising which majorly includes out of home advertising.
Advertising is strongly used by brands who have deep pockets or who have a lot of competitors in the market. Advertising requires that you have a unique advertising message as well. The more unique and impactful the message, the more is the connect between the brand which is advertising and the consumers.
#2 Personal selling
Personal selling is the second most common method to communicate the benefits of your products to the end customer and convert him from a lead to a prospect and ultimately to your customer. This is the reason that many top companies and even small businesses nowadays are focused on personal selling.
If you enter a branded retail outlet, you will many times find that the company promoter is already present in the retail outlet. The reason that the company appoints their own brand promoter is because this ensures that the customer will have better attention from their individual brand. Along with this, the company’s salesman will also have more knowledge of product and competition as he has been dedicatedly hired by the brand.
If instead of a brand promoter, there was the retailers own salesman, he would have promoted any brand on the shelf. At the same time, the retailers salesman might not be as knowledgeable as the brand salesman because he has so many brands and products to sell. He gets overloaded and ultimately forgets the features of products he is selling. So, if a company wants to communicate the benefits of its products, convince and convert the customer, then personal selling with hand picked and trained executives is the best option.
#3 Sales promotion
There are many different ways of running sales promotions and many different tips and tactics present depending on the sector you are in. Where trade discounts and freebies work very well in FMCG, in consumer durables, free services and value addition (free installation) works better then discounts.
Sales promotion also involves providing the consumer with an incentive for the purchase of the product. At the same time, it may involve giving incentives to dealers or distributors to get the product selling & moving in the market. The expenses in Sales promotion is lower and the investment is very less because it gets the product moving.
Sales promotions is increasingly being used as a tool especially after the rising popularity of E-commerce and online sales. Every other day you will see a “Sale” or “Deal” online which will be time bound and which customers will impulsively purchase. Due to some discount being given for certain amount of time, online retailers can move huge quantities of products across the country or the region they are selling in.
#4 Public relations
Public relations is the art of spreading the news about your products or services in the public domain so that some hype is created and people talk to each other about it. One of the most commonly observed public relations exercise is when there is some news related to a Movie or related to a product which is published in the newspapers just before the movie is supposed to be released or the product is supposed to be launched.
Similarly, there are multiple public relation exercises which can be carried out by a brand. In today’s date, social media is one of the biggest platforms for public relations exercise. You will see a lot of news being published with regards to what is trending. Similarly, press conferences, face to face interaction with consumers, newspaper advertorials, involving the community are various ways that public relations exercises can be implemented.
Public relations is an important part of the communications mix. It helps in building a strong brand image and a brand can slowly release the information therefore keeping the public attention intact. In fact, if you notice, information about a movie which is going to be big starts coming in newspapers much before the movie launch date is announced.
This is nothing else but Public relations wherein the marketing manager wants the public to be hooked to whats about to happen in the movie. They want to create a hype. Off course, some movies (like the latest star wars franchise) would rather hide their details then show it to public.
#5 Direct marketing / Internet marketing
In the last few years, Digital marketing was giving tough competition to television advertising as well as newspaper advertising. As of end quarter of 2016, digital marketing has practically overtaken Television advertising and has a major spend amongst all media.
Off course, the benefit of digital advertising is that even small businesses can get involved and it is not as costly as Television advertising. As a result, the overall revenue generated from digital advertising is much more then television or newspaper. But even then, not only small businesses, even top brands take part in digital marketing because it helps the brand in reaching the end consumer.
The key attraction of digital marketing is the personal connect that the brand makes with the consumer. Your email box, your facebook wall, your twitter feed are your private space and via social marketing, brands can enter this private space and make a connection. The brand which really does good campaigns can actually walk away with a large population of digital followers.
Although packaging is supposed to be a part of the marketing mix and not the communications mix, lately, due to competition and the increasing rivalry between businesses, even packaging is considered as an important medium of communicating with your consumers.
The packaging of the product is the last point of sales for the company. When the consumer is standing in a retail aisle, he or she has a plethora of products in front of them to choose from. Many a times, the decision is made looking at the overall packaging of the product as well as the information written on the product.
If a customer wants an aloe vera shampoo, he might look at the packaging and decide against an Anti dandruff shampoo. However, if the packaging is poor, and the distinguishing feature is not mentioned clearly, the consumer might ignore the product altogether. As a result, BECAUSE even packaging communicates to the consumer, it is now considered as an element of the communications mix.
So overall, the above 6 media vehicles are the ones which are considered as the communications mix. Whenever a brand wants to communicate to their consumers, they will use one of the above methods to do the same.