Marketing Communication mix

Marketing Communication mix
Sales promotion
Events and exhibitions
Public relation
Direct marketing
Personal Selling
1. Advertising
Advertising is an important element of the marketing communications mix. Put simply, advertising
directs a message at large numbers of people with a single communication. It is a mass medium.
Advertising has a number of benefits for the advertiser. The advertiser has control over the
message. The advert and its message, to an extent, would be designed to the specifications of
the advertiser. So the advertiser can focus its message at a huge number of potential
consumers in a single hit, at a relatively low cost per head. Advertising is quick relative to other
elements of the marketing communications mix (for example personal selling, where an entire
sales force would need to be briefed - or even recruited). Therefore an advertiser has the
opportunity to communicate with all (or many of) its target audience simultaneously.
Advertising Media:
Outdoor (Posters or transport)
New Media - Mobile devices
New Media Internet - websites and
search engines
Newspapers (Local and National) Television
Planning for advertising
Advertising agencies and their clients plan for advertising. Any plan should address the
following stages:
Who is the potential TARGET AUDIENCE of the advert?
WHAT do I wish to communicate to this target audience?
Why is this message so IMPORTANT to them?
What is the BEST MEDIUM for this message to take (see some of the possible media above)?
What would be the most appropriate TIMING?
What RESOURCES will the advertising campaign need?
How do we CONTROL our advertising and monitor success?
There are two key categories of advertising, namely 'above-the-line' and 'below-the-line.' The
definitions owe a lot to the historical development of advertising agencies and how they charge
for their services. In a nutshell, 'above-the-line' is any work done involving media where a
commission is taken by an advertising agency, and 'below-the-line' is work done for a client
where a standard charge replaces commission. So TV advertising is 'above-the-line' since an
agency would book commercial time on behalf of a client, but placing an advert in a series of
local newspapers is 'below-the-line,' because newspapers tend to apply their own costing
approach where no commission is taken by the agency i.e. instead the agency charges the client
a transparent fee. There are many facets and elements to advertising - too many to be covered
in this short lesson. Try some of the other lessons to build your knowledge.
2. Sales Promotion
What is sales promotion?
Sales promotion is any initiative undertaken by an organisation to promote an increase in sales,
usage or trial of a product or service (i.e. initiatives that are not covered by the other elements
of the marketing communications or promotions mix). Sales promotions are varied.
Often they are original and creative, and hence a comprehensive list of all available techniques
is virtually impossible (since original sales promotions are launched daily!). Here are some
examples of popular sales promotions activities:
(a) Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGOF) - which is an example of a self-liquidating promotion. For
example if a loaf of bread is priced at $1, and cost 10 cents to manufacture, if you sell two for
$1, you are still in profit - especially if there is a corresponding increase in sales. This is known
as a PREMIUM sales promotion tactic.
(b) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) incentives such as bonus points or money off
coupons. There are many examples of CRM, from banks to supermarkets.
(c) New media - Websites and mobile phones that support a sales promotion. For example, in
the United Kingdom, Nestle printed individual codes on KIT-KAT packaging, whereby a
consumer would enter the code into a dynamic website to see if they had won a prize.
Consumers could also text codes via their mobile phones to the same effect.
(d) Merchandising additions such as dump bins, point-of-sale materials and product
(e) Free gifts e.g. Subway gave away a card with six spaces for stickers with each sandwich
purchase. Once the card was full the consumer was given a free sandwich.
(f) Discounted prices e.g. Budget airline such as SpiceJet and IndiGo, e-mail their customers
with the latest low-price deals once new flights are released, or additional destinations are
(g) Joint promotions between brands owned by a company, or with another company's brands.
For example fast food restaurants often run sales promotions where toys, relating to a specific
movie release, are given away with promoted meals.
(h) Free samples (aka. sampling) e.g. tasting of food and drink at sampling points in
supermarkets. For example Red Bull (a caffeinated fizzy drink) was given away to potential
consumers at supermarkets, in high streets and at petrol stations (by a promotions team).
(i) Vouchers and coupons, often seen in newspapers and magazines, on packs.
(j) Competitions and prize draws, in newspapers, magazines, on the TV and radio, on The
Internet, and on packs.
(k) Cause-related and fair-trade products that raise money for charities, and the less well off
farmers and producers, are becoming more popular.
(l) Finance deals - for example, 0% finance over 3 years on selected vehicles.
Many of the examples above are focused upon consumers. Don't forget that promotions can be
aimed at wholesalers and distributors as well. These are known as Trade Sales Promotions.
Examples here might include joint promotions between a manufacturer and a distributor, sales
promotion leaflets and other materials (such as T-shirts), and incentives for distributor sales
people and their retail clients.
3. Events and exhibitions:
4. Public Relation:
Public Relations (PR) is a single, broad concept. It is broad since it contains so many elements,
many of which will be outlined in this lesson. Public Relations (PR) are any purposeful
communications between an organisation and its publics that aim to generate goodwill. Publics,
put simply, are its stakeholders. PR is proactive and future orientated, and has the goal of
building and maintaining a positive perception of an organisation in the mind of its publics. This
is often referred to as goodwill.
Yes it is difficult to see the difference between marketing communications and PR since there is
a lot of crossover. This makes it a tricky concept to learn. Added to this is the fact that PR is
often expensive, and not free, as some definitions would have you believe. PR agencies are not
cheap. Below are some of the approaches that are often considered under the PR banner.
Interviews and photo-calls.
It is important that company executives are available to generate goodwill for their
organisation. Many undertake training in how to deal with the media, and how to behave in
front of a camera. There are many key industrial figures that proactively deal with the media in
a positive way for example Bill Gates (Microsoft) or Richard Branson (Virgin). Interviews with
the business or mass media often allow a company to put its own perspective on matters that
could be misleading if simply left to dwell untended the public domain.
Speeches, presentations and speech writing.
Key figures from within an organisation will write speeches to be delivered at corporate events,
public awards and industry gatherings. PR company officials in liaison with company managers
often write speeches and design corporate presentations. They are part of the planned and
coherent strategy to build goodwill with publics. Presentations can be designed and preprepared by PR companies, ultimately to be delivered by company executives.
Corporate literature e.g. financial reports.
Corporate literature includes financial reports, in-house magazines, brochures, catalogues,
price lists and any other piece of corporate derived literature. They communicate with a variety
of publics. For example, financial reports will be of great interest to investors and the stock
market, since they give all sorts of indicators of the health of a business. A company Chief
Executive Officer CEO will often write the forward to an annual financial report where he or she
has the opportunity to put a business case to the reader. This is all part of Public Relations.
6. Direct Marketing
What is Direct Marketing?
Direct marketing is a channel free approach to distribution and/or marketing communications.
So a company may have a strategy of dealing with its customers 'directly,' for example banks
(such as CityBank) or computer manufacturers (such as Dell). There are no channel
intermediaries i.e. distributors, retailers or wholesalers. Therefore - 'direct' in the sense that the
deal is done directly between the manufacturer and the customer. As mentioned above, 'direct'
also in the sense that marketing communications are targeted at consumers by the manufacturers.
For example, a brand that uses channels of distribution would target marketing communications
at wholesalers/distributors, retailers, and consumers, or a blend of all three. On the other hand, a
direct marketing company could focus upon communicating directly with its customers. Direct
marketing and direct mail are often confused - although direct mail is a direct marketing tool.
There are a number of direct marketing media other than direct mail. These include (and are by
no means limited to):
Inserts in newspapers and magazines.
Customer care lines.
Door drops.
TV and radio adverts with free phone numbers or per-minute-charging.
...and finally - and most importantly - The Internet and New Media.
The Internet and New Media (e.g. mobile phones or PDA's) are perfect for direct marketing.
Consumers have never had so many sources of supply, and suppliers have never had access to so
many markets. There is even room for niche marketers - for example Scottish salmon could
ordered online, packed and chilled, and sent to customers in any part of the world by courier.
Many companies use direct marketing, and a current example of its use, as part of a business
model, is the way in which it is used by low-cost airlines. There is no intermediary or agent,
customers book tickets directly with the airlines over The Internet. Airlines capture data that can
be used for marketing research or a loyalty scheme. Information can be processed quickly, and
then categorized into complex relational databases.
Then, for example, special offers or new flights destinations can be communicated directly to
customers using e-mail campaigns. Data is not only collected on markets and segments, but also
on individuals and their individual buyer behaviour. Companies such as Amazon are wholesalers
of books (i.e. they do not write or publish them) - so they use Customer Relationship
Management and marketing communications targeted directly at individual customers - which is
another, slightly different example of direct marketing.
7. Personal Selling
Personal selling occurs where an individual salesperson sells a product, service or solution to a client.
Salespeople match the benefits of their offering to the specific needs of a client. Today, personal selling
involves the development of longstanding client relationships.
In comparison to other marketing communications tools such as advertising, personal selling
tends to:
Use fewer resources, pricing is often negotiated.
Products tend to be fairly complex (e.g. financial services or new cars).
There is some contact between buyer and seller after the sale so that an ongoing
relationship is built.
Client/prospects need specific information.
The purchase tends to involve large sums of money.
There are exceptions of course, but most personal selling takes place in this way. Personal
selling involves a selling process that is summarised in the following Five Stage Personal Selling
Process. The five stages are:
1. Prospecting.
2. Making first contact.
3. The sales call.
4. Objection handling.
5. Closing the sale.
A Five Stage Personal Selling Process.
Stage One - Prospecting.
Prospecting is all about finding prospects, or potential new customers. Prospects should be
'qualified,' which means that they need to be assessed to see if there is business potential,
otherwise you could be wasting your time. In order to qualify your prospects, one needs to:
Plan a sales approach focused upon the needs of the customer.
Determine which products or services best meet their needs.
In order to save time, rank the prospects and leave out those that are least likely to buy.
Stage Two - Making First Contact.
This is the preparation that a salesperson goes through before they meet with the client, for
example via e-mail, telephone or letter. Preparation will make a call more focused.
Make sure that you are on time.
Before meeting with the client, set some objectives for the sales call. What is the
purpose of the call? What outcome is desirable before you leave?
Make sure that you've done some homework before meeting your prospect. This will
show that you are committed in the eyes of your customer.
To save time, send some information before you visit. This will wet the prospect's
Keep a set of samples at hand, and make sure that they are in very good condition.
Within the first minute or two, state the purpose of your call so that time with the client
is maximised, and also to demonstrate to the client that your are not wasting his or her
Humour is fine, but try to be sincere and friendly.
Stage Three - The Sales Call (or Sales Presentation).
It is best to be enthusiastic about your product or service. If you are not excited about it, don't
expect your prospect to be excited.
Focus on the real benefits of the product or service to the specific needs of your client, rather
than listing endless lists of features.
Try to be relaxed during the call, and put your client at ease.
Let the client do at least 80% of the talking. This will give you invaluable information on your
client's needs.
Remember to ask plenty of questions. Use open questions, e.g. TED's, and closed questions i.e.
questions that will only give the answer 'yes' or the answer 'no.' This way you can dictate the
direction of the conversation.
Never be too afraid to ask for the business straight off.
Stage Four - Objection Handling.
Objection handling is the way in which salespeople tackle obstacles put in their way by clients.
Some objections may prove too difficult to handle, and sometimes the client may just take a
dislike to you (aka the hidden objection). Here are some approaches for overcoming objections:
Firstly, try to anticipate them before they arise.
'Yes but' technique allows you to accept the objection and then to divert it. For
example, a client may say that they do not like a particular colour, to which the
salesperson counters 'Yes but X is also available in many other colours.'
Ask 'why' the client feels the way that they do.
'Restate' the objection, and put it back into the client's lap. For example, the client may
say, 'I don't like the taste of X,' to which the salesperson responds, 'You don't like the
taste of X,' generating the response 'since I do not like garlic' from the client. The
salesperson could suggest that X is no longer made with garlic to meet the client's
The sales person could also tactfully and respectfully contradict the client.
Stage Five - Closing the Sale.
This is a very important stage. Often salespeople will leave without ever successfully closing a
deal. Therefore it is vital to learn the skills of closing.
Just ask for the business! - 'Please may I take an order?' This really works well.
Look for buying signals (i.e. body language or comments made by the client that they
want to place an order). For example, asking about availability, asking for details such as
discounts, or asking for you to go over something again to clarify.
Just stop talking, and let the client say 'yes.' Again, this really works.
The 'summary close' allows the salesperson to summarise everything that the client
needs, based upon the discussions during the call. For example, 'You need product X in
blue, by Friday, packaged accordingly, and delivered to your wife's office.' Then ask for
the order.
The 'alternative close' does not give the client the opportunity to say no, but forces
them towards a yes. For example 'Do you want product X in blue or red?' Cheeky, but
So this is the Five Stage Personal Selling Process. Now have a go at it yourself by completing the