Be it the bygone ‘mad men’ era or the current business landscape, one thing that is still relevant and rather eminent is marketing.
Essentially, marketing is the mix of four components, and they are,
1. Product – offerings that people seek and desire.
2. Price – chosen aptly according to the commodity or service.
3. Place – distribution channel, selected after careful consideration of factors like retail, delivery options, logistics, and supply chain.
4. Promotion – to let the people know you exist and how!
Ideally, these 4Ps act interdependently to steer a business towards success. But it’s the promotion aspect, widely accepted as marketing communication, that has gained momentum.
For a pursuit that started with merely trying to sell products, marketing communications has evolved into a blend of technology and data-driven strategy.
And if you’re a business owner trying to place your brand on the map, investing in marketing communication (MarCom) is the fundamental requirement. The cut-throat market competition has rendered it inevitable to develop persuasive communications.
Before we take you through the complexities yet simplicities of marketing communication, let’s take a quick glance at the broader perspective of holistic marketing.
Marketing is all about the right product, in the right place, at the right price, and at the right time.
But as nicely put by Brian Halligan, CEO & Co-founder of Hubspot, “People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.” Therefore, we need to balance our focus between curating the ‘perfect’ product and claiming the most attractive position in our consumer’s minds.
Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into the concept of marketing communication.
What is Marketing Communication?
Marketing communication signifies the strategy a company uses to inform and educate potential as well as existing customers about their products or services. It involves opting for the best communication channels and tactics to make sense for the target customers while offering value.
Now, this might sound easy, but only a few manage to nail the process in practicality.
Why? Because it’s more than just putting your marketing message out there.
Here are the three core elements of MarCom:
1. Engagement with Your Customers
MarCom is all about developing a long-lasting connection with your customers by deploying suitable messages and media.
The audience has uncountable choices for literally everything. But the company with the right mixture of persuasive communication and a proactive approach in building an emotional connection while utilizing the right communications mix reaches the customer base.
2. Sustaining product demand and consumer interest
MarCom is an ongoing process where generating brand awareness and visibility are just the stepping stones.
Think about how you engage with a brand. Most probably, the percentage of your engagement with every advertising campaign you see — online or offline — is pretty low.
So how do you get to establish a preference for your brand?
By navigating to the new normal!
Curating one message for all doesn’t work anymore. You must tailor your messaging according to the target audience.
For example, a company rolling out a product campaign in south India with Hindi as the primary language would be a missed opportunity. It will cut down the product demand and consumer interest simultaneously.
3. Shortening the sales cycle
Prospects perceive and place your products in a particular manner. Understanding their mindset becomes critical to shorten the sales cycle.
MarCom helps gauge the customer’s buying process and then creates an apt buyer persona conducive to the sale.
The buyer journey process can also be studied through three key stages shown in the image below.
While setting the mission of your MarCom, knowing your buyer journey comes in handy.
Now that you can apprehend what marketing communication is and the core elements that drive it- let’s move on to its functionality.
How does marketing communication work?
When you communicate with an objective while exhibiting your value proposition, you’re well on your way to achieving your targets. All that’s left to do is learn how to express your goals.
Marketing communications inherently follow the renowned AIDA model. The goal is to derive consumer attention, pique their interest, make products desirable, and compel them to take action.
Professionals create a blend of message and communication tools to execute the AIDA model, as shown in the example below.
Till now, we can draw a few conclusions about marketing communication, such as:
a. Customer is the king
b. Quality of the message is the key to the success of communication
c. Choosing the right communication channel is of utmost importance
Keeping the pre-requisites of an effective strategy in mind, follow these tactical steps for holistic marketing communication.
Know your target market
Before you curate your message, focus on finding the right audience to communicate with.
Segment your prospective customers in different audience buckets to make informed and profitable decisions on advertising and marketing.
For instance, it could be fruitless to invest in communicating sugar-free chocolates to people under 20 years of age. Whereas using MarCom for the same product to people above 30 years can be more profitable and yielding.
So, acquaint yourself with the consumer demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavior, then focus your marketing efforts accordingly.
Set clear marketing objectives
After you’ve decided on the target market, ensure you’re crystal clear on what you’re trying to convey and achieve. Focus on what to say before you move on how to say it.
Build your message around the idea:
– What do you want to convey and let the people know?
– How do you want your target audience to feel and perceive your message?
– What do you expect your audience to do afterward?
That’s it! That’s the basic rule of thumb. Quite often, we forget to focus on the essential elements and jump on to the advanced steps. It leads to redundancy in the entire marketing efforts and fallacy in the communications.
Select the medium for activating the message
You have your message ready; your target market research is complete; the only thing left now is to communicate.
What could go wrong, right?
Well, this is the most tricky and challenging part!
All your research and creativity could be rendered unproductive if you don’t select the right messenger to carry your message.
Although communications mix involves various direct and indirect means or methods to persuade consumers to purchase, the following are the most effective and widely used MarCom tools:
1. Advertising – Print campaigns, posters, TV ads, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other mass-message nature campaigns.
2. Direct marketing – lets you communicate specifically with a prospect — directly, such as direct mail, telemarketing, and email marketing.
3. Digital marketing – leverages online mediums and technology for interactive MarCom. It encompasses promotions on mediums like social media, websites, Google Ads, search engines, etc.
4. Sales promotion – includes methods like flash sales, discounts, giveaways, and more to stimulate consumer interest and product demands.
5. Public relations – incorporates activities like webinars, seminars, sponsorships or partnerships, brochures, catalogs, media events, and more.
6. Personal selling – allows you to indulge in face-to-face interaction with the prospect on your offerings and persuade them to purchase.
However, the recent marketing communication trends show a boost in the use of digital channels and technology for communications compared to other tools.
Marketing communication in the changing environment
Every business is getting online, and rightly so because of the upward trend in consumers interacting digitally. Therefore, resorting to interactive content, social media, and personalized brand experiences is a must. Creating a synergy between technology and customer engagement is now a necessity.
For most businesses, especially small, digital marketing and MarCom is a boon. It is an inexpensive multi-channel aspect that provides 24/7 access to potential and existing customers along with message control.
Although, remember to keep the trends in consideration while choosing your MarCom tool or tools but not at the expense of your target audience or customer segment and the key protagonist, your product.
To sum up
There are a lot of valuable MarCom tools out there, but no one has all the time, resources, and capital in the world to utilize each one to get the message around. By making the best use of your physical location, maintaining your website, giving consumers a direct way to interact, optimizing your SERPs, and communicating proactively, you can visibility increase your brand reputation.
Trace your steps chronologically; as discussed in the post, you’ll be off to a great start already.
And if you wish to get your marketing communication a professional touch, feel free to drop us a message!