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Assessing the Scope of Marketing Communication

The process of communication plays a very important role in marketing. It is through communication that the manufacturer/ producer of a service/ product is able to reach the end user / consumer. The intermediaries who help out in this process belong to various groups. There are various ways in which communictaion can be done for marketing a product. The following diagram gives an idea as to what is the basic structure underlying marketing communication.

As we see , there are various parties at the heart of the marketing communication process. These parties include stakeholders who have a share in the process ranging from the company which is the client to an advetising agent to the customer who is indirectly a part of this process and is the target of it. Apart from this the shareholdes of the parties and the employess of the company are the people involved in it.There are multiple ways through which communication can be done from the manufacturer to the customer. While advertisng is the most popular method, other techniques which are used includes, direct marketing where the products are directly available for the consumers without any intermediaries in between, personal selling where individual customers get attention from the client to sell products, sales promotions which are another popular way of communcation, public relations , using which companies communicate their new products to potential customers.Apart from these well known techniques, recent trends include E- marketing as well where the entire communication process is online. With more and more customers being informed, this area is gaining equal popularity. If we look at the basic structure at the back end of all this communicatin process, the main parties involved would be the client or the producer who wishes to make money by selling the product and the customer who wishes to avail the service or product by offering the money. The intermediaries involved could vary depending on the communication process . The role of media is important as it the front end through which the client reaches on to the customers. Also when it comes to promotion, the wholesalers or retaialers or franchisers and the employees working for them become an integral part of the process. The salespeople are the most important human resources at hand apart from those who are responsible for product planning and development.However, the role of the parties involved in the communication process can vary depending on the type of communication process chosen.For example in direct marketing there would not be any third pary involved, but in the case of advertising the agency would act as another party which would again provide a service for the communication process to be successful.Thus we see the structure and roles in the industry primarily involve companies or clients, intermediate agenies, media through which the communication process takes place and finally the customers.There could be various ways depending on the intermediaries and media used to communicate. For example while advertising can be done on telephone or tv, it can also be done on internet. Similarly E- marketing involves selling the product online apart from advertising it online. In this way the relationships among the parties involved may vary but ultimately the crux is each one involved gets a share for their contribution in the communication process.

Current trends in Advertising and Promotion and their impact

Media: While traditional advertising has been done through various media like tv, radio,newspaper , there has been an increasing role of the World Wide Web in advertsing in the recent years. The most commonplace advertisements are through e- mails, pop- ups , gaming etc.The Internet has influenced many people’s lives and therefore in order to reach out to a wider audience , it has become one of the most popular medium for advertising.

Entertainment through Advertisement: Also, there it is the advent of the “entertaining” advertising era where people would want to watch an advertisement again or show it to someone else. The trends can be clearly seen as over the last 3 quarters in 2009, mobile and internet advertising grew by 18.1% and 9.2% while older media’s use was declining.

Niche advertisements : Advertisements that are targeted only for a small and particular segment only by using social network sites or blogs. Instead of simply sending the message to all the message is sent to only those who would be more probabaly intersted in buying the product/ service.

Crowdsourcing: It makes use of user generated advertisemnts. As a result , there is lesser cost of advertsing and lesser need for reasearch as well.

Also, over years, it can be noted that advertising has become global and is cutting international boundaries. Similarly for promoting international tarvel, there is is this new technique of foreign public travel. Thus we seen with growing technology and increasingly knowledgable customer, advertising is simultaneously experiencing rapid changes and shifts in media as well to target more customers and attract them.

Impact of Advertising and Promotion on Customer Behaviour :

The role of advertising and promotion is to attract a potential customer and turn him into a consumer.The process can be understood with the help of this model :

Role of Advertising is to make the customer Think and Feel to some extent

Role of Promotion is to make the customer Feel and Do

As we can see from the above model, advertising must go in line with the customer so that they are drawn towards the product or service put in front of them. Initially an awareness needs to be created about the product/ service and it is here where advertising and promotion are used. The customers is made to think and provide knowledge about the product and a liking must be initiated through the advertisements. Successful advertisements initiate the customers to think and prompt them to feel the product. From there , it becomes the role of the promotion strategy used by the company to make the customer develop a stronger liking and preference for the product and provide for the conviction to buy the product . Ultimately, the customer who has been made to think by the advertising and feel through promotion must be compelled automatically to purchase the product with the right kind of advertising followed by promotion. In this way we can see how advertising and promotion create an impact on customer behaviour while turning him/ her into a potential consumer of the product or service.

Role and Importance of Advertising :

Of all the above mentioned channels of marketing communication, advertising is the most widely used means as it has been successful in influencing consumer behavious since ages. The most important role played by the advertising team is to present the product the way consumers want to see it and get attracted. This is one of the reason why advertising industry is not only a popular tool for effective communication but is also a necessity. The various media through which advertising can be done are also varied and it basically is a form of mass communication, though recent trends include ways to advertise select customers only. The overall importance of advertising can be simply observed through the world wide advertising industry worth about $ 550 billion , while in U.S. alone it is estimated to be around $250 billion. The advertising industry includes agencies that are based on advertising and promoting products/ services for clients which are supported through media organizations and external facilitators to provide solution that attract customers. (Delloway)

The role, organization and functions of advertising agencies :

Advertising agencies provide services to clients who can range from corporate houses involved in manufacturing of products/ services to Government , Social Organizations etc. Their main functions at a broader level include identifying the right channel to reach the right customer, understand and work keeping in mind the firm’s short and long terms strategies and maintain the brand’s position through adversting and promotion. There could be various types of advertising agencies like full-service, creative boutique, interactive, in-house, media specialists, promotion agencies. They look for gaining new clients through their work for existing clients.

While the advertising agency is at the centre of the process, on one side we have the clients or firms who approach the advertising agency for developing an advertising plan which includes research development as to who should the product be targeted and how, there are various parts in the agency which take care of the budgeting, the creativity aspect i.e. the creation of the advertisement and the production team and also the media through which the product/ service is advertised. The media planning is done and the channel through which advertisement should be done is also decided based on which channel is most feasible. The various parties involved particulary in advertising can be seen as follows :

Thus each of the parties has their own roles and besides the consumers play an entirely indirect role as they are the main focus of the entire communication process. The advertising agency charges a fee for the service they have rendered which the client pays for and the client gets back this money if the product is able to attract customers and increase sales. All the effort the client and agency put are to attract maximum consumers from the target market and communicate the idea/ product to them successfully. Based on the impact of the advertisement, the sales of the product increase/ decrease depending on to what extent the potential customers could be attracted. Thus the feedback comes from the potential customers who have turned into consumers.

Uses and Applications of Advertising :

For this we can consider the particular brand, Dove. It is basically a brand which has been created under its parent Unilever under the personal care category. It has grown from being a US-only soap bar into one of the biggest global brands of Unilever. It is today the world’s number one cleansing brand. The Dove group began diversifying products during the 1990’s and encompasses currently a variety of products ranging from bar soap to shower gel, and from deodorants to shampoo-conditioners. The brand has attracted large scale and widespread attention from the media since 2004 for its aggressive yet subtle marketing. In that year, Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising agency launched a series of ads for Dove trying to portray the "real beauty" of simple and ordinary women. Dove competes fiercely with Procter & Gamble's Olay, Beiersdorf's Nivea and Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena, all of which have a similarly broad product range. Recently, a new line of Dove for Men products has been launched in 2010.

Situation 1: Dove “Real Beauty”

Dove made use of the concept of “Real Beauty” in its advertising campaigns. The research behind this concept was that women generally do not consider themselves beautiful comparing with the pictures found in magazines and looking at successful models and other beautiful women. They consider themselves to be less attractive. Now, Dove through its advertisements tried to position its products as those which did not require women to be perfect looking, in fact it tried to subvert this feminine attitude by deliberately trying to distance the idealized images.

As part of the “Real Beauty” campaign, it also started the Dove Self-Esteem Fund in 2006 which claimed to change the very basic concept in the West that beauty need not be only for ultra-thin models who have perfect features but and moved on to make every girl (and woman) get a positive feeling in the matter of their looks irrespective of what they are currently. It did this by showing in its advertisements a much wider range of skin and body shapes. Dove's advertisements offered a democratized view of beauty which all women could aspire.

The campaign intended to imply a moral purpose, which includes the ethical issue of consumerism, which is the psychology of self-esteem for women, and the supposed link existing between the pressure to be bowed to conform, eating disorders and also various stigmas which have long been attached to old age like wrinkles and disfigurement. This dimension of the campaign was most clearly visible in the latest skincare advertising of Dove, which had been shot in black and white, and alongside featured letters that tell the personal stories behind the women's blemishes and styles in the advertisement. (Dove Campaign details)

Looking at the results, the cause of real beauty has been in the short term a great triumph for Dove, not only winning attention from the media but also critical applause from women worldwide especially in the west. In the long term Dove, needs to adopt various strategies to check competition though in order to retain and enjoy the current status. Thus we see how Dove entered and captured the market by positioning itself as a “brand for all women” who are real beauties with the help of advertising and promotional campaigning.

Solution 2: Dove pro Age Products

With the success of the campaign for “Real Beauty”, Dove also brought up new products in the line for women in their fifties. The concept here was similar, but it was one of the few products which were targeting older women. While most beauty products targeted women and girls who were at most in their 40s, this range of products were meant for women who had begun believe that their beauty days were over.

The Dove Pro Age product range aimed at women in their fifties

It clearly was an example where a product was designed and engineered keeping in mind the combination of age and gender .They reflect the simple yet unique needs of older women, who are in their late fifties. They were launched in continuation with Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty through with television and print advertisements. The products had an advantage of riding on the success and popularity of the campaign and therefore to some extent were covered under the same campaign. As we see advertising at the right moment is another important factor which can help in promotion of brand extensions while including new product offerings. Similarly, Dove has had successful advertising campaigns for a whole new range of products in Hair Care as well which include shampoos and moisturizers with a formula of weightless effect. There were an entire set of products launched under Dove hair Care and similar to the earlier real Beauty campaign, the advertisements were using success stories for promotion. Thus we see how advertising and promotion strategies have helped Dove establish new products as well from being a bathing soap only. The uses of advertising cannot be underestimated especially when awareness about a new product from an existing brand is the situation. The original brand name itself once advertised would get the early customers buying and later the extensive promotional campaigning would increase sales.

How advertising can be designed to differentiate, remind, inform and persuade :

If we consider the example we had taken above, Dove has used an excellent advertising and promotional strategy which had been designed to differentiate, remind, inform and persuade customers. The advertising was focused on attracting women all across irrespective of any differences. For this they differentiated from all other brands by proclaiming to be an ambassador for “real beauty” across the world. While remaining products focused on developing for either improving fairness or other areas, Dove made use of this concept where it encouraged women from a wide range of skin tones to participate in its campaign. This immediately differentiated the brand from others. It reminded women that beauty is not limited to only those with perfect figures or to some particular age and every woman has the beauty hidden in them which Dove encourages to bring out. Similarly, it provided information on all of its products through its campaign which is the main purpose of advertising. While it was able to attract women unanimously through differentiation and its unique concept that it chose to remind people, it provided information as well. Finally by adding a moral touch to the campaign by bringing in true stories from women participating in it, it also captures on the idea of boosting self esteem and therefore was successful in persuading these women to become customers of Dove. It can be clearly seen how the entire campaign achieved these things in stages beginning with attracting potential customers by differentiating and reminding them its uniqueness and then informing the attracted customers of the opportunities they have to choose and finally persuading them to become loyal customers by continuing with the campaign. Thus we can understand how advertising when carefully planned and supported by a good promotional campaign a work in the best possible manner to deliver the finest results.

Role of Below-the-Line techniques

The advertising techniques can be classified into three types viz.

Above the line (ATL) which are meant for mass audience

Below the line (BTL) which are designed and targeted for individuals according to their preferences

Through the Line (TTL) which involve both.

Thus we see below the line techniques basically include marketing communication without using mass media. They are becoming increasingly adopted by many organizations as they help in improving customer loyalty and minimize the cost and comparison to other techniques which make use of mass communication through media. They are various techniques that can be employed by the companies to take up below the line advertising. Each of them has its own objective and characteristics which can differ from others.

Difference between the characteristics and objectives of various below the line techniques of promotion

The following are the various techniques which are being followed under BTL advertising

Price promotions: Also known as price discounting, this can be implemented by providing a discount on the normal price of the product or by selling larger quantities of the product at the same price. This technique can be used when companies usually try to sell off old stocks or when they are planning to renew products.

Coupons: This technique is for attracting people to buy more if they have not or increase their purchases by giving coupons for a minimum amount of cash spent. This technique is used to get a larger share of the customer’s wallet. The main objective here is to increase the proportion of customers who would not be able to actually use the coupon. This is best used when new products need to be made aware or if sales of existing products are low.

Gift with purchase this is yet another common technique which works best for products which are subscription based or which are luxuries, as normally sales would not be high for these products without such offers.

Competitions and prizes: This is a classic example of a technique which is used while generating awareness about new products among target customers only or for the first time purchasers.

Money refunds: this technique also tries to attract more people as such offers usually spread across by word of mouth, though people might view it with suspicion in the beginning.

Frequent user / loyalty incentives : These techniques are used to retain those customers from whom the company service already has got lots of business and it can definitely look for promoting more of its offerings easily. Also, since it is easy to retain customers and sell those products rather than trying to get new customers, this technique is ardently followed by most organizations.

Use of Below the Line techniques in commercial situations:

The best example to look for implementation of below-the –line techniques would be retail outlets of various brands. For example if you consider any brand of apparels say Levi’s, the brand comes up with various offers like discounts on purchases if the purchase exceeds a fixed and substantial amount. That is to say, if you have made a purchase of high price jeans, they would offer a 10% discount on the total purchase.

Another example could include Big bazaar in India, which makes use of various Below-the- line techniques like price discounts, sale on particular items for a particular time period of the day or on particular days, free gifts on every purchase in accordance to the bill amount.

Thus we see there are numerous examples of promotion using such techniques which happen daily around us.

Integrated Promotional strategy

Principles and process of Campaign Management

The very concept of a campaign in marketing is focused on a time bound effort to design a strategy for various objectives as per the client requirements. The business objectives which can be the drivers for a campaign are considering an effective launch for a range of products, follow- up and may be increase market share sometimes. The process of campaign management involves an understanding of what are the expected benefits of the campaign, budgeting and costing of the campaign while ensuring that all needful resources are met and finally evaluating the effect of the campaign on the target market. There could be various kinds of campaigns and depending on the objectives of the campaign the basic principle can vary while some core processes remain the same. Some campaigns perform more than one of the functions which may include product launch in the first stage and then go on to brand building or revenue enhancement. As we see the campaigns must be designed as per the objective of the client and the process would include choosing the right idea and putting up in front of the target audience through the right media.

There are various stages in campaign management which can be listed as follows:

Initiation of the campaign: This involves the client coming up and specifying the requirements of the campaign and the pre planning stage of the entire process to follow. The specifications mentioned by the client are carefully considered as the process of the campaign needs to be based on that and the final deliverables need to be met in those terms.

Campaign Design: This involves designing of how the campaign should follow and is done by the creation teams at the agencies or the heads of the advertising who have sufficient experience in handling the task.

Campaign Preparation: Following design, preparations are done to implement the design by gathering resources needed for the implementation.

Campaign launch and Execution: This involves finally bringing up the campaign in front of the target audience.

Campaign Closure: once the objective of the campaigns is met and the client feels that the target market is attracted, the mission is accomplished and the campaign automatically is closed.

Post campaign Follow-up : This involves getting a feedback as to how the campaign performed and met its objectives and gain an idea as to if there can be improvements to either cut costs or in short perform and conduct the campaign with more efficiency or ways to improve its effectiveness.

Appropriate techniques for an integrated and cost effective campaign :

If we consider the case of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, each of the above steps can be clearly seen in the campaign management as discussed above. The campaign successfully achieved its objectives of launching an entire range of products making use of its brand popularity and approaching the target customers through the right campaign. It further made use of the campaign to launch more products like the range of Pro Age products which as a result did not require a separate launch minimizing the effort and cost. Thus we see with the right integration techniques we can effectively improve the campaign’s efficiency and also reduce the efforts while obtaining maximum rewards. (Hackley, 2008)

Promotion Recommendations – Using Below the line techniques

For the coming years, Dove has a range of products in Hair care which it is launching through its Hair Care Therapy campaign. While the launch has been successful and was able to attract customers, in order to increase sales and revenues the company needs to cut competition which can be done by various promotional efforts. It can specifically make use of below- the-line techniques like giving a dove soap bar free for a shampoo of the larger size. Such techniques make the customers who are willing to purchase the product already. The objective here is to make them buy more and make it a habit. This can be achieved by encouraging customers to pick up those products of larger volume so that they considerably make use of the product and become loyal to it. Similarly, it can look into other ways of promotion using simple techniques which would help increase its revenues and establish the products and at the same time cut through the competition.

Assessing Campaign Effectiveness :

While campaigns are designed to attain certain objectives, the effectiveness of campaigns is the ultimate requirement for the client. The campaign must be able to accomplish the task of effectively making a potential customer into a consumer of the product. This can be done only if the campaign is checked at each and every stage. The right timing and the tight target ensures that the campaign is effective. However sometimes because of various reasons which could range from improper positioning to lack of appropriate targets, campaigns can fail. There have been numerous examples where companies have failed to create the impact they sought to owing to simple design mistakes even though the product was excellent. Thus , it becomes all the more important to review the campaign from time to time at various stages and make decisions as to what is the right time to launch a campaign or include something new into the campaign or close it. All the steps of effective campaign management need to be implemented throughout the process and ensure that the campaign is successful.

If we consider again, the case of Dove, the company not only kept its campaign alive for long but also tried promoting various other products through it and in fact made movies as well in association so as to create more effect on the target audience continuously. Thus we see the effort put in the right direction for campaign management would definitely pay off achieving all the set targets in time.

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