Steps for Developing Effective Marketing Communication

There are steps in developing effective marketing communication, you learn this steps in this article. Communication scholars identified some factors that influence the effectiveness of communication as:-

The greater the influence of the communication source over the recipient the greater the recipient’s change or effect in favour of the source.

Communication effects are greatest where the massage is in line with receivers’ existing opinion, belief and disposition.

Communication can produce shift issues that do not lie on the core recipient’s value system.

Communication is more likely to be effective if the source is believed to have expertise, high status, and objectivity and has the power to be identified with.

There are eight steps involved in developing effective communication and these are:

Box 3.1 Steps in developing effective marketing communication

Step 1 Identify target audience

Step 2 Determine communication objectives

Step 3 Design the massage

Step 4 Select channels

Step 5 Establish budget

Step 6 Decide media mix

Step 7 Measure result

Step 8 Manage integrated marketing communication

Identify Target Audience

The process starts with clear target audience in mind: potential buyers of the company’s products, current users, deciders, or influencers, individuals, groups, particular public, or the general public. The target audience is a critical influence on the communicator’s decisions on what to says, how to say it, when to say it, where to say it, and to whom to say it. The organization should be able to conduct the image and audience analysis.

A major part of audience analysis is assessing the current image of the company, its products, and its competitors. Image is the set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions a person holds regarding an object. People’s attitudes and actions toward an object are highly conditioned by that object’s image.

Determine the objectives

An important part of this stage of the promotional planning process is establishing communication goals and objectives. It is necessary to set both the communication and marketing objects.

Marketing objectives refer to what is to be accomplished by the overall marketing programme. They are often stated in terms of sales, market share, or profitability.

Communication objective refers to what the firms seek to accomplish with its promotional programme. Objectives are often stated in terms of the nature of the message to be communicated or what specific communication effects are to be achieved. Communication objectives may include creating awareness or knowledge about a product and its attributes or benefits; creating an image or developing favorable attitudes, preferences, or purchase intentions. Communication objectives should be the guiding force for development of the overall marketing communications strategy and of objectives for each promotional mix area.

Design the massage

Having defined the desired response, the communicator moves to developing an effective message. Ideally, the message should gain attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and elicit action (AIDA). In practice, few messages take the consumer all the way from awareness through purchase, but the AIDA framework suggests the desirable qualities of any communication.

Formulating the message will require solving four problems: what to say (message content), how to say it logically (message structure), how to say it symbolically (message format), and who should say it (message source).

Message content: In determining message content, management searches for an appeal, theme, idea, or Unique Selling Proposition (USP). There are three types of appeals: rational, emotional and moral.

Rational appeals engage self-interest: Marketers claim the product will produce certain benefits. Examples are messages demonstrating quality, economy, value or performance in Television and Radio adverts. It is widely believed that industrial buyers are most responsive to rational appeals. They are knowledgeable about the product, trained to recognize value, and accountable to others for their choices. Consumers, when they buy certain big-ticket items, also tend to gather information and estimate benefits.

Select channels

It is important for the organization to select the appropriate media to transfer the message to the audience. Developing the programme is generally the most involved and detailed step of the promotional planning process. Each promotional-mix element has certain advantages and limitations. At this stage of the planning process, decisions have to be made regarding the role and importance of each element and their coordination with one another. Each promotional-mix element has its own set of objectives and a budget and strategy for meeting them. Decisions must be made and activities performed to implement the promotional programme. Procedures must be developed for evaluating performance and making any necessary changes.

The stages of developing effective communication are; Identify target audience; Determine objectives; Design the massage; Select channels; Establish budget; Decide media mix, Measure result and Manage integrated marketing communication

The promotional tools: Marketing communications popularly known as promotion assists marketing in: Provision of information

Stimulation of demand

Differentiating the product or service

Underlining the product’s value and

Regulating sales

Marketing communication makes use of these five tools and others as you have learnt in the previous study session-advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, and publicity. These must be formulated within a co-ordinated marketing communications plan. If there is more than one target market than there will be need to be more than one communications programme. Like all other elements of the marketing mix, it must be turned to the characteristics and needs of the target market.

Establish budget

After the communication objectives are determined, attention turns to the promotional budget. Two basic questions are asked at this point: What will the promotional programme cost and how will the money be allocated? Ideally, the amount a firm needs to spend on promotion should be determined by what must be done to accomplish its communication objectives. In reality, promotional budgets are often determined using a more simplistic approach, such as how much money is available or a percentage of a company’s or brand’s sales revenue. At this stage, the budget is often tentative. It may not be finalized until specific promotional-mix strategies are developed.

Decide media mix

Decisions must be made regarding which types of media will be used (e.g. newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, billboard) as well as specific media selections (e.g. a particular

magazine or TV programme). The task requires careful evaluation of the media option’s advantages and limitations, costs and ability to deliver the message effectively to the target market. Once the message and media strategies have been determined, steps must be taken to implement them. Most large companies hire advertising gencies to plan and produce their message and to evaluate and purchase the media that will carry their ads. However, most agencies work very closely with their clients as they develop the ads and select media, because it is the advertiser that ultimately approves (and pays for) the creative word and media plan. A similar process takes place for the other elements of the IMC programme as objectives are set, and overall strategy is developed, message and media strategies are determined, and steps are taken to implement them. While the marketer’s advertising agencies may be used to perform some of the other IMC functions, they may also hire other communication specialists such as direct-marketing and interactive and/or sales promotion agencies, as well as public relation firms

Determine Integrated marketing communications mix

Companies must consider several factors in developing their promotion mix: type of product market, consumer readiness to make a purchase, and stage in the product life cycle. Also important is the company’s market rank. Market leaders derive more benefit from advertising than from sales promotion. Conversely, smaller competitors gain more by using sales promotion in their marketing communications mix.

Type of product market: Promotional allocations vary between consumer market and business markets and what is spent on sales promotion, advertising, personal selling, and public relations, in that order. Business marketers spend on personal selling, sales promotion, advertising, and public relation, in that order. In general, personal selling is used more with complex, expensive, and risky goods and in markets with fewer and larger sellers (hence, business markets). Although advertising is used less than sales calls in business markets, it still plays some important roles:-

Advertising can provide an introduction to the company and its products

If the product embodies new features, advertising can explain them

Reminder advertising is more economical than sales calls

Advertisements offering brochures and carrying the company’s phone number are an effective way to generate leads for sales representatives

Sales representatives can use tear sheets of the company’s ads to legitimize their company and products.

Advertising can remind customers of how to use the product and reassure them about their purchase.

Measure result

The final stage of the promotional planning process is monitoring, evaluating, and controlling the promotional programme. It is important to determine how well the promotional programme is meeting communications objectives and helping the firm to accomplish its overall marketing goals and objectives. The promotional planner wants to know not only how well the promotional programme is doing but also why. For example, problems with the advertising programme may lie in the nature of the message or in a media plan that does not reach the target market effectively. The manager must know the reasons for the results in order to take the right steps to correct the programme. This final stage of the marketing communication process is designed to provide managers with continual feedback concerning the effectiveness of the promotional program, which in turn can be used as input into the planning process. Information on the results achieved by the promotional program is used in subsequent promotional planning and strategy development

Summary

You have learnt in this module that modern marketing calls for more than developing a good product, pricing it attractively, and making it accessible to target customers. Companies must also communicate with present and potential stakeholders, and with the general public. The marketing communications mix consists five major modes of communication: advertising, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, personal selling, and direct marketing.

You also learnt that communication process consists nine elements: sender, receiver, message, media, encoding, decoding, response, feedback, and noise. To get their messages through, marketers must encode their messages in a way that takes into account how the target m audience usually decodes messages. They must also transmit the message through efficient media that reach the target audience and develop feedback channels to monitor response to the message.

Developing effective communications involves eight steps: (1) identify the target audience. (2) determine the communications objectives, (3) design the message, (4) select the communication channels (5) establish the total communications budget. (6) decide on the communications mix. (7) manage the integrated marketing communications process and (8) measure the communications’ results.

In identifying the target audience, the marketer needs to close any gap that exists between current public perception and the image sought. Communications objective may be cognitive, affective, or behavioural that is, the company might want to put something into the consumer’s mind. change the consumer’s attitude, or get the consumer to act. In designing the message, marketers must carefully consider content, structure, format, and source. Communications channel may be personal (advocate, expert, and social channels) or nonpersonal (media, atmosphere, and events). The objective and task method of setting the promotion budget, which calls upon marketers to develop their budgets by defining specific objectives, is the most desirable.

In deciding on the marketing communications mix, marketers must examine the distinct advantages and costs of each promotional tool and the company’s market rank. They must also consider the types of product market in which they are selling, how ready consumers are to make a purchase, and the product’s stage in the product life cycle. Measuring the marketing communications mix’ effectiveness involves asking members of the target audience whether they recognize or recall the message, how many times they saw it, what points they recall, how they felt about the message, and their previous and current attitudes toward the product and the company.

Managing and coordinating the entire communications process calls for Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): marketing communications planning which recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates . the strategic roles of a variety of communications disciplines and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum impact through the seamless integration of discrete message.

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