Your marketing plan is executed by using the tactical elements of the Marketing Communications, or Promotions Mix.
The Marketing Communications Mix is the specific mix of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing a company uses to pursue its advertising and marketing objectives.
Advertising - Any paid form of nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.
Personal selling - Personal presentation by the firm’s sales force for the purpose of making sales and building customer relationships.
Sales promotion - Short-term incentives to encourage the purchase or sale of a product or service.
Public relations - Building good relationships with the company’s various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good "corporate image", and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, and events.
Direct marketing - Direct communications with carefully targeted individual consumers to obtain an immediate response and cultivate lasting customer relationships.
When deciding how to properly utilize the marketing communications mix to meet your marketing objectives, it is important to consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of each component of the mix. Further, you must always define your total budget first (generally defined in the Marketing and/or Business Plan) and then decide upon the best way to leverage the different elements of the mix to maximize the return on your investment. You will balance the various parts of the mix to not only create an integrated approach to your marketing communications but you must also devote enough resources for each component to be successful.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Reaches large, geographically dispersed audiences, often with high frequency; Low cost per exposure, though overall costs are high; Consumers perceive advertised goods as more legitimate; Dramatizes company/brand; Builds brand image; may stimulate short-term sales; Impersonal, one-way communication; Expensive
Most effective tool for building buyers’ preferences, convictions, and actions; Personal interaction allows for feedback and adjustments; Relationship-oriented; Buyers are more attentive; Sales force represents a long-term commitment; Most expensive of the promotional tools
May be targeted at the trade or ultimate consumer; Makes use of a variety of formats: premiums, coupons, contests, etc.; Attracts attention, offers strong purchase incentives, dramatizes offers, boosts sagging sales; Stimulates quick response; Short-lived; Not effective at building long-term brand preferences
Highly credible; Very believable; Many forms: news stories, news features, events and sponsorships, etc.; Reaches many prospects missed via other forms of promotion; Dramatizes company or product; Often the most under used element in the promotional mix; Relatively inexpensive (certainly not 'free' as many people think--there are costs involved)
Many forms: Telephone marketing, direct mail, online marketing, etc.; Four distinctive characteristics: Nonpublic, Immediate, Customized, Interactive; Well-suited to highly-targeted marketing efforts
When deciding upon your unique marketing communications mix, you should also consider the Product Life Cycle. Here are some general guideline as to how and when to emphasize different parts of the mix according to the stages of a typical product life cycle:
Pre-Introduction: Light advertising, pre-introduction publicity
Introduction: Heavy use of advertising, public relations for awareness, sales promotion for trial
Growth: Advertising, public relations, branding and brand marketing, personal selling for distribution
Maturity: Advertising decreases, sales promotion, personal selling, reminder & persuasion
Decline: Advertising and public relations decrease, limited sales promotion, personal selling for distribution
Next let's briefly walk through each of the various parts of the marketing communications mix.
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