Definition of Marketing Communication
Marketing Communication can be defined as the methodologies and tactics adopted by the companies to convey the messages in a unique and creative manner to their existing and prospective customers about their offerings of products and services. The messaging communication is either direct or indirect in nature with an intention to persuade the customers to indulge in the purchase of the products and services.
The various channels and platforms of marketing communication include Google promotions, print advertisements, television commercials, social media marketing, PR exercises, blogging, content marketing, and participation in trade fairs and exhibitions amongst others.
Marketing communication is made of two terms marketing and communication. Before we learn about what marketing communication is, let us first learn about marketing and communication separately. Marketing consists of activities which a company takes to increase the sales of the products.
To do this, they opt for various methods such as advertising, market research, catching up with old customers, writing them emails, using celebrity endorsements, attention-grabbing graphic designs, catchy slogans or phrases, etc.
The main propose of marketing is to grab the attention of potential customers using various promotional techniques. And the dictionary meaning of our second term “communication” is an act of sharing or exchanging information from one entity to another using some kind of medium like writing, speaking, etc. communication can place between two parties, communication is incomplete in the absence of one party.
Marketing communication can be defined as the use of various communication channels like print media, radio, television, emails, events, brochures, etc. to fulfill the goals of marketing. There are various marketing communication methods that one can choose from.
Read this article further to learn about different marketing communication techniques that you can use to fulfill the goals of your business.
Importance of Marketing Communication :
1) Develop a strategic vision
The first point in the list of Importance of Marketing Communication is that it helps the management of the company and marketing managers develop a strategic vision about leveraging on the various marketing opportunities and platforms and device the plans that make the company come up with the new and innovative methods to promote the offerings to the customers.
It makes the company curate a distinctive identity in the market and in the minds of the customers as the brand that craves out the marketing and promotional ways that are not only strategic in nature but have an edge in the ways to communicate about the features and attributes of the products and services.
2) Create brand awareness
The concept of branding is totally related to the promoting the objectives and vision of the brand and company as a whole but understating the Importance of Marketing Communication helps in the creating and providing the required impetus to the brand awareness in an indirect manner as the strategy and the creative artworks of the marketing communication starts with leveraging on the strong legacy of the brand followed by the features and unique selling propositions of the products and services.
3) Expresses competitive advantage
There are way too many brands in the market offering the similar line of products and services giving the customers quite many options and alternatives to pick and choose from and many a time the customers go for the products and services offered by the competitors.
Hence, understanding the Importance of Marketing Communication helps the company to promote its offerings in a unique and innovative manner by selecting various marketing and media channels such as print advertisements, television commercials, radio spots, digital marketing, interactive marketing, and PR amongst others that enables to showcase the features and nature of the offerings in a positive light giving a tough competition to the arch-rivals of the company and it works as a pull factor for the customers.
4) Fosters goodwill
Next in the queue of the Importance of Marketing Communication is that it helps the company to foster the goodwill in the market as when the communication strategy is on a consistent and continuous basis, the facet of trust gets ingrained in the minds of the existing and prospective customers as they are steadily witnessing the communication and messages from the company and its offerings and gives them a perspective that the company is genuine and authentic in its offerings.
Another aspect to this point is that the marketing communication also involves participating in various activities related to the corporate social responsibilities and in the benefit of the society that helps the company to command the goodwill from its patrons and stakeholders.
5) Attracts talent
The genuine and innovative marketing communication and messaging strategy not only attracts the new set of customers but also attracts the talent for the company that is willing to get associated with the company as employees, vendors, investors, agencies, and other business associates that helps the company to grow from strength to strength and attain its aims and objectives in the highly successful manner.
6) Enlightens the investor community
In continuation to the above point and harping on the Importance of Marketing Communication, yet another benefit to the company is that it enlightens the investor community about the strengths, core values, fundamentals, vision, approach, and objectives of the company along with its competitive advantages, unique selling propositions, and the features and attributes of the products and services offered to the target market.
And once the investors are impressed and satisfied with the values and objectives of the company they are ready to invest in the company and that helps the management to achieve their financial goals that will further provide the impetus to the business operations and result in the higher sales and elevated profits.
7) Boosts profits
As the thumb rule of business strategy states that the marketing and sales departments work as the backbone of each other and when they both join forces, the profits of the company are on an all-time high owing to the increased sales and market share as compared to the competitors in the market as the marketing communication is strategic, innovative, and creative in nature plus is well aligned with the overall business objectives of the company.
8) Improved communication with the customers
In order to attract the new set of customers and retain the existing ones on a long-term basis, it is important for the marketing communication to be transparent, consistent, crisp, direct, and helps to solve the problems of the customers.
And when the management of company and marketing department duly understands and grasps the Importance of Marketing Communication, there is an automatic improvement in the communication with the customers and their level of trust in the brand, its offerings, and the overall company is increased in manifolds with the company able to accomplish its desired goals and objectives as well.
9) Come up with innovative marketing and promotional ideas
Understanding the Importance of Marketing Communication helps the management and the marketing department to try and come up with the innovative marketing and promotional ideas that do not only convey the brand messages in an inventive fashion but also gives the brand an edge of creativity as compared to their competitors in the market.
It is also imperative for the company to do a continuous research on what are the latest marketing trends in the market and be open to trying out new and novel ideas for the promotion of products and services.
The above were all the reasons which explain the Importance of Marketing Communications.
13 Elements of Marketing Communication
First and foremost, a technique in my list of types of marketing communication is advertising. Advertising can be defined as an activity of promoting products or services using advertisements. Advertising is one of the most used methods of marketing communication.
Companies spend millions of dollars on promoting their products through advertising. However, the money spent on advertising is worth the return on investment in advertising is quite high.
You can either choose to create your advertisement, or you can hire an advertising company depending on your budget. There are different advertising platforms, such as television, radio, YouTube ads, etc.
Where you can pay to run your advertisements, and you can also increase the frequency of your advertisement by paying more. Big companies usually prefer to advertise on television as this platform has the largest audience reach. Another preferred platform for advertising is online ads.
Online ads are cheaper as compared to television ads and have a quite high return on investment, and another advantage of using online ads for advertising is because of its ease of calculation of return on investment.
#2. Public Relation
The public relation method of marketing communication is one of the most credible methods as it is not directly from the company, but there is a third party involved in it. In this type of marketing communication, the information is shared with the audience with spending a single penny.
Many companies opt for this type of marketing communication, and it is effective too because the information comes from the genuine source and not from the paid source of company.
There is a reason that why advertising is preferred by companies rather than public relations is because they lose control over the content.
Advertising aggressively promotes the products, whereas public relation promotes the products in subtle and soft ways. However, if your product is genuine and you have something worth to offer, then you should opt for this method of marketing communication.
#3. Sales Promotion
Let us talk about people’s favorite method of marketing communication. People love sales. They fill with joy when they read the sign of “on-sale” or “50% discount”.
There are various methods that you can opt for running a sales promotion such as discounts, coupons; premium gives away, sample’s give away, contests, two-for deals, rebates, loyalty programs, and free shipping, etc.
Small new businesses usually prefer this marketing communication method. Using this method, you can create your place in the market and can re-boost the sales of your products. You can use sales promotion at any time of the year or at a specific time like in festival season.
But make sure that you plan your sales promotion rather than simply hanging an X% discount next to the products whose sales you want to boost. Otherwise, rather than making profits, you will end up losing your precious money.
#4. Online Media
Online media is the most preferred type of marketing communication nowadays. There are two reasons for this. One is nowadays, almost 90% of the total population spends their most time online. Therefore, it has the maximum reach, and the second is that this method of marketing communication is quite cheap as compared to other methods of marketing communication.
The meaning of online media is to promote or to market your products using platforms available online like advertising on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, running ads on websites, blogs, etc. other than that you can also pay social media influencers to promote your products.
In this way, you can target a large audience by spending little. This method of marketing communication is quite effective as it delivers a direct message to a future audience.
#5. Customers’ Advocacy
You must have encountered with one or two people or friends or family members who are so in love with a product that they have used, and they force you to buy and use that product at least once. Believe it or not, they are promoting the product of the company without getting anything in return.
This type of marketing communication is called customers’ advocacy where your happy and satisfied customers advocate your product for you by o expecting anything in return.
However, you can also spend a little to get your customers to promote your products. For example, you can give them a certain amount of discount if they refer your product to their friends.
This is quite an effective method of marketing communication a people trust more the people they know rather than trusting television advertisements, but it has a limited audience reach. For example, your one customer might refer your product to maximum 4 or 5 people that he knows.
#6. Product Launch
Product launch is quite an expensive type of marketing communication. Big companies with huge budgets usually prefer this method of marketing communication as it requires an additional team of experts and a lot of preparation to organize a product launch.
The meaning of product launch is to introduce a new or upgraded version of a new product in the market. It boosts the sales of the product as soon as the product is launched in the market, and it also helps in building the name and image of your brand.
Yes, you have read it right. Building a brand name is one of the effective types of marketing communication. You have observed that many people call products using their “Brand names” rather than calling them with their product name or probably you also have been doing the same unconsciously.
For example, rather than saying “my shoes or my sports shoes,” people referred to them saying “my Nike” or “my Puma.” Or rather than calling a lipstick a lipstick they refer to it using its brand name like “NARS Velvet” or “NYX” (BTW these are the names of lipstick brands in case if you don’t know about them like me.)
#8. Market research
Marketing research is a method to learn about the market and to learn about the requirements, expectations, motivations, and interests of their target customers before they introduce their product in the market.
There are several methods to conduct market research such as focus group, test studies, surveys, one on one interviews, test studies, and recognition studies, etc.
This type of marketing communication is important as you learn about the needs of your customers and also learn about the current situation of the market, using that information you can prepare for an effective marketing strategy to persuade your potential customers into buying your product.
Publicity is one of the effective types of marketing communication. publicity means the media coverage of your product in the newspaper or on television or in any other types of media platform. This type of marketing communication can make your product famous and boost its sales overnight.
You can take advantage of your relationship with local news media people to run a story on your product. However, this type of marketing communication is quite risky too.
It can turn into negative publicity of your product as the content of news is out of your control, and media people can write or say about your product as they please.
#10. Personal selling
Personal selling is one of the oldest methods of marketing communication. In the old times, when media like television, radio, and online platforms were not very popular at those times, companies relied on personal selling for marketing communication.
In this method of marketing communication, companies hire expert sellers to go door to door and sell products to people.
This method is quite expensive as you are required to the huge commission to your sales persons for every unit that they sell. In addition to this, this type of marketing communication is quite slow too as you approach only one potential customer at a time.
#11. Digital Marketing
This type of marketing communication is only possible because of the introduction of digital devices in our lives. Right marketing is offering the right product, with the right offer at the right place.
Therefore, the best way to market your product is on smartphones. Nowadays, people might forget to eat their food, but they never forget to check their phones.
Digital marketing is an effective marketing communication method as it is interactive, portable, targetable, sharable, and, adaptable. Using digital marketing, you can tailor the content of your marketing as per your target audience and can provide offers to individual customers.
#12. Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is quite different from other bulk marketing methods like media marketing and publicity, etc. in this type of marketing communication; you target the customers if you exactly know who your target customers are. You can send them a discount coupon, catalog, postcard, or letters.
This method is quite beneficial for those companies which use promotional codes, discount coupons, special offers as the marketing strategies or when your business is heavily dependent on the repurchase, etc.
If you have personal insight into the customer, you can also include a personal note or letter. For example, you can send them a discount coupon or small gift on their birthday or anniversary. This direct approach will make people stay loyal to your brand.
#13. Blogs and websites
This is quite a new and inexpensive type of marketing communication. In this marketing communication, you promote your product indirectly. The blog is a type of online personal diary where an author writes about their personal feelings or other important things.
For example, if you run a cosmetic’s company, then you can use a blog to write about beauty products or beauty hacks. There you not only share useful content with your audience but also indirectly promote the products of your brand. Similarly, the website is an online identity of your company.
You put information about your company, its certification, products, contact information, and other important stuff on the official website of your company.
Marketing communication Strategy for Small Businesses
1. Brand it to nail it
To put it bluntly, there are only two ways that your product and services can survive in the market. Either it can become a brand or it can become a commodity and it is needless to mention that risks are lower in being a commodity because high volumes can be achieved but the downside is that profit margins are very low and the market is often overcrowded.
The product uses its identity and various products that are unbranded are visible across many industries. For example, when choosing a mouse for the laptop you can either go for a branded mouse-like Intex are you can buy any cheap unbranded mouse. The difference would be noticed in pricing, finish, texture and overall consumer satisfaction.
The branded product provides quality and trust along with service to the customers. Since the branded company puts so much effort and resources in creating the product, that it is justifiable to charge a premium. For example, choosing between a one plus 7T and iPhone 11 would be an easy choice for a price-conscious customer.
In $ 600, you are getting state of the art features which are excellent on paper in one plus 7T, but comparatively, on iPhone, the quality is much better right from the picture quality to the build, the texture feel and the overall customer satisfaction. This is why for a brand-conscious customer, a $ 150 increase in price would not be a big challenge.
Other such examples are Yahoo, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Apple, Warner brothers, Unilever, Audi, etc branded product or service is the only difference between customer satisfaction. This is true especially in the case of premium-level products. These premium products have popular taglines that describe the brand in the minimalist possible way or sometimes they try to convey the core feature of the product.
For example, the tagline of Apple is “Think different”, and Audi has a tagline of Vorsprung Dutch Technik which translates to ‘Advancement through technology.’ A brand should be an epitome of the company’s mission and benefits of the products along with the vision of the company and the industries which they serve in.
For this, it is necessary to associate with the customer on a personal level and understand his needs reactions and desire which will help you to sell the product by designing an effective marketing communication strategy. Apart from all of this branding is also how your sales team reacts with the customer, dresses on the field and has an approach towards the customers.
2. Focus on Logo
The logo is the most visible feature of the brand. It is also the most recalled feature of the brand. It is saying that many of the customers me forget the name of the company but they never forget the logo.
This is why special care should be taken while designing the logo and choosing it because companies spend millions of dollars on the creation of which in itself signifies the priority and importance of logo creation and branding because the logo signifies what the company stands for.
It goes without saying that copying an existing logo would be an extremely unwise decision and the best thing is to hire a designer or an experienced professional logo creator. The logo should stand out from the competition and should be simple but convey a significant message.
It should be clear so that it can be used at multiple places without creating any problems like websites or newspapers or business cards. Many business stalwarts credit the success of a company partly to its logo.
The use of fonts, images or colours which are used in a logo should make it stand out from the competition. Once the logo is finalized then it should be registered with the patent office so that no one else can copy the logo.
3. Target audience
Understanding your target audience and accordingly crafting a customized Marketing communication strategy is a crucial thing for the success of your product. You need to understand the target audience first and then design the communication strategy according. Communication strategy has to be clear and concise and should directly address the needs and characteristics of this target audience.
One of the ways to do this is to conduct many interviews and surveys and ask the customers what exactly do they want directly. These insights that are gathered from research and surveys are crucial for the marketing team. They clearly get a glimpse of what the customer really is and what should be their communication strategy.
The communication strategy should be centred around the analysis of the customer and the company should invest time in understanding the needs of the customer. Communication strategy which is based on insufficient or incorrect research is bound to fail in the market. The use of segmentation and positioning can be done in order to execute the strategy effectively.
In the case of segmentation, the market audience is divided into similar and homogenous groups and individual targeting strategy is used for those groups. When a new product or brand is to be launched in the market then it is to be positioned suitably as premium, regular or entry-level products. Positioning is what company creates a perception of the product of the service in relation to their competitors and answers a very important question of what is the company view as from the point of view of customers.
When the company enters a new market then it would be challenging to define the market and the position of the company in it. Better positioning gives a competitive advantage to the product as well as the organization against its competitors and rival companies.
The positioning strategy would differ in the existing market and should clearly define and differentiate the customer base. The marketing communication should really differentiate the products from their user base.
Examples of accurate marketing communication strategy would be of iPhone 11. The new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are three new flagships launched by Apple this year. The company has clearly differentiated their products to the customers as follows:
The tagline of the iPhone 11 is “just the right amount of everything”. This communication clearly states that the phone is targeted for the majority of audiences. The pricing of the phone is done at a lower rate and most of the features are added.
For iPhone 11 Pro, and Pro Max, the tagline says “Pro Camera. Pro Display. Pro Performance.” Apple has clearly differentiated this phone for high-end users and niche customers because the phone is priced at a higher price point as well as the features and performance are Targeted for high-end users.
Since the price itself is a big motivation for many customers, the phone will automatically get classified for the end-users. The positioning strategy can be a single influence that would differentiate your product to the customer.
The only purpose of advertising is to create awareness about the product or service in the minds of consumers and prospective buyers. Advertising uses a proper message along with convictions in order to buy the product. Proper media planning should be done before positioning expensive brand or product because wrong media can hamper the success of the product greatly.
Different media used for advertising such as television, print, outdoor space, radios and nowadays social media. Digital media has become a more popular medium in order to promote advertising to the right target audience.
Before the application of Marketing communication strategy, it should be ensured that the marketing, as well as advertising goals, are defined by the organization. There can be a company-specific or a brand-specific advertising promotion depending on the requirement of the company and in any case, the USP of the brand of the product for the company should be mentioned.
The requirement of advertising will vary depending on the size and type and the mode or method that is used to advertise. For example in the case of a new company, there would be a requirement for a business that is growing the primary objective would be differentiated from the competition in which case making more convincing messages are campaigns to pull the buyers and retain the existing buyers should be the objective of the advertising.
Advertising guidelines depend on the industry because certain industry guidelines do not allow public advertising of their products for example in case of medicines public advertising is banned but on the other hand products of FMCG can be advertised publicly.
Advertising with the help of digital media is known as digital marketing. The advantages of digital media are that it is extremely economic over traditional modes of marketing and is affordable for everyone right from a startup company to an established one.
5. Implementation, Feedback, Improvisation
Once all of these steps mentioned above are properly and thoroughly done, then it’s time to plan and execute the campaign in order to see the results. Implementation of the plan at the right time is also one of the crucial factors of the success of the marketing communication strategy.
For example advertisement of cold and cough syrup in the month of Summer would be the right strategy to target the season arriving in monsoon and winter. But starting the advertisement in the middle of winter or at the end of the winter will have very less success rate as compared to the situation mentioned before.
Know your product and know the customer then it would be a piece of cake to find the right time to implement the marketing communication strategy to your target audience. Once the implementation is done then take the feedback from the customers about the communication strategy. The feedback should be crisp with closed-ended questions and should address only the strategy rather than the product or service.
Asking customers if the recall the advertisement for a peculiar catchphrase related to the product will help you understand if the customer has thoroughly understood and seen the advertisement or not. The feedback collection may also be based on the brand recall or product recall of the customer which will help to understand the effectiveness of marketing communication strategy.
Once the feedback is connected then improvisation if needed can be done in the communication strategy and may be implemented in the market. In some cases, this feedback can be considered in the launch of the subsequent product in the same product family. Constant feedback and improvisation is the key to a successful Marketing communication strategy.
Multiple to evolve every day in the market and the strategy for marketing communications changes every day because the customers and their needs change every day. It is important for a marketing manager to stay up-to-date with the market and craft strategy accordingly.