Marketing communications - Marketing Management

Having outlined the process of communication, we turn our attention to the elements of planning marketing communication strategies. Promotional elements of the marketing mix must be planned and managed in a systematic and strategic manner to be effective. For marketing communication to become strategic it needs to be planned and implemented so that it is consistent with, and supportive of, overall corporate and marketing strategies. Other elements of the marketing mix often have a strong communications element and these are now considered.

Product communication: For many consumers, products represent symbols denoting characteristics of lifestyles and personality. Packaging, in particular, communicates certain things like status, quality, atmosphere and image. A product’s physical properties or brand name can communicate an image.

Place communication: Distribution channels can communicate messages to the market e.g. certain distribution channels such as up-market stores, may communicate quality and status, whereas others may communicate a particular lifestyle. A retail outlet may communicate messages to the market, e.g. untidy shops may create a bad image, whereas well-stocked and well-managed shops may build confidence. Conversely, an untidy shop might communicate that its prices are more economical.

Physical distribution can convey messages. The state of a company’s delivery vehicles may convey a careless message and companies now pay considerable attention to the livery of their vehicles as this becomes part of the corporate image.

Prices and communication: particularly for new products, or for brands with which a customer has no previous experience, pricing conveys powerful signals to the market. The price of a product may signal the perceived quality of a product or service. Similarly, regular discounting of brands can lead to consumers forming an image that the brand is inferior. The communication emphasis of these marketing mix elements illustrate an important point about planning marketing communications, namely, that virtually everything a company does or says can communicate something to the market. Because of this, an effective marketing communications strategy requires more than just management of the promotional elements of the mix. Marketing communications must be part of an integrated communications strategy with promotional tools being integrated within overall marketing strategies.

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