What is marketing communication in today’s corporate world all about? For one, it is not simply all about advertising any longer. For advertising in today’s world can at times be more of a marketing nuisance than the marketing strategy. However, nothing has truly replaced it completely either, as not even the fast growing Public Relations industry has been able to eliminate its place yet. And perhaps here lies our clue to solving the mystery of what marketing communication is. Perhaps there is no need for replacing all that is, as may be our marketing world has grown and evolved and carved itself a place where there is a mutually beneficial, interdependent, symbiotic relationship being built between its various tentacles.
Today’s Marketing Communication Mix is the specific mix of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing. These are the tactical elements of marketing that a company makes use of in order to pursue its advertising and marketing objectives. And the entire success or failure of the marketing plan depends on how harmoniously the company’s promotion mix elements together. Evidently, each of these has its own importance, and therefore all are indispensable. Therefore, extreme care must be taken while creating a company’s marketing strategy so that the potential of each can be used to the fullest in a manner which will be most profitable for the company both in the long and short run.
Let us now discuss each of these individually so as to better understand the importance of their role in the company’s marketing strategy and the role that the media plays in all of this.
Advertising is any form of paid, non-personal, persuasive presentation and promotion of ideas, products, and services by an identified sponsor. This form of marketing is perhaps the most heavily dependent on the media- the role of advertising being first and foremost to create awareness of the brand/product etc. Through its various forms (print, TVC, OOH, internet etc.), advertising has been able to maintain its hold on the audience even as newer marketing tactics make place for themselves in the promotional mix.
2. Personal selling
This is that sphere of marketing where the intermediaries do not play a part. The firm arranges for personal presentations by its sales force for the purpose of making direct sales and building customer relationships. Ideally this is taken up during the introduction phase of a product or service and is generally used to supplement or is supplemented by other marketing elements that may or may not be delivered through the media.
3. Sales Promotion
The sales promotion element of the promotional mix of marketing is a short term one in most cases. It is used to further short term gains and is generally heavily dependent on the media for the spread of the message. And the message generally is some sort of an incentive to encourage the buying or the selling of some product or service.
4. Public Relations
Like advertising, public relations are also one of the older and more stable promotional tools. The aim is to simply build good relations between the company’s various people. This is accomplished by obtaining favourable publicity from reliable third persons and building up a good corporate image. Apart from this, damage control is another very important function of the PR industry. Needless to say, it is heavily dependent on the media for carrying out its functions successfully.
5. Direct Marketing
This is aimed specifically at a chosen few individual customers. This part of the promotional mix too has limited use for the media. But the upcoming ‘New Media’ has great potential as far as direct marketing goes.
However, at the end of the day, it is not how many of these, or how much of these marketing mix tools a company is able to use that determines the success of the product marketing , but rather how well it can formulate a marketing strategy, using only the right amount of the right tools. Essentially the marketing mix is extremely product/service specific. And therefore it is absolutely impossible to come up with some formula for it. And more often than not, the wrong marketing mix does backfire. This is why the right balance of the marketing tools in the marketing mix is a must. For, just like an exquisite cuisine, the success rate of any marketing mix is subject to whether or not the chef/marketing communications guy has been able to come up with ‘the right ingredients’ that will work for you.