Marketing communications are the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind consumers about products and brands they sell.
Consumers can learn about the product and who makes the product. The communications also help in linking the product or brand to other people, places, events, brands, experiences, feelings and things.
The communication process required mass media and the media is providing challenges to marketers. In 1960, companies could reach 80% U.S. women with an advertisement in three TV networks: NBC, ABS and CBS. But now TV channels have proliferated, viewers have means to skip the advertisements, home entertainment like vides, CDs and DVDs, and alternative media like websites and blogs have come into existence.
The other challenge to marketers is that too many business firms are communicating and an average city dweller is exposed to 3000 to 5000 messages a day.
Marketing Communication Mix
Eight major modes of communications were described Kotler and Keller in their 13th Edition.
2. Sales promotion
3. events and experiences
4. Public relations and publicity
5. Direct marketing
6. Interactive marketing
7. Word of mouth marketing
8. Personal selling
Apart from the above many aspects of company's products, production facilities and personnel also act as communications.
Marketing communications contribute to brand equity through creating brand awareness, brand image, brand responses, and brand relationships.
Integrated Marketing Communications
American Association of Advertising Agencies defines integrated marketing communications as concept of marketing communications that recognizes the value of a comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan evaluates the strategic role of each communication medium, channel or discipline and combines them to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum impact through the seamless integration of messages.
To provide integrated marketing communication support media companies and advertising agencies are expanding their capabilities to offer multiplatform exposure to the messages of companies.
A multi-media use example is by Citibank. It used mail, coupon, 800 number, outbound telemarketing and print advertising to market home equity loans, The campaign gave 15% extra accounts compared to mail alone. Giving a website address in a print advertisement is also given as multi-media use.
As already stated, while in the earlier days different agencies specialised in different media channels now, more integrated agencies are coming up. These agencies are changing their names from advertising agencies to communication companies and promising clients to improve their overall communications effectiveness. An example of successful integrated marketing communications is IBM's use of Ogilvy. The result is integrated and more-effective marketing communications at a much lower total communications cost.
Integrated marketing communications can produce stronger message consistency and create greater sales impact through increased brand equity. The companies are now giving someone responsibility to unify the company's brand images and messages as they come through thousands of company activities.
Planned Revision schedule for marketing chapters is in February and March