Identify the Target Audience
A marketing Communicator must start with a clear target audience in mind. The audience may be potential buyers of the company’s products, current users, deciders, or influence. The audience may be individuals, groups, particular publics or the general public. The target audience will critically influence the communicators decision on what is to be said. How it is to be said, when it is to be said, where is to be said and who is to say it.
The communicators should research the audience’s needs, attitudes, preference and other characteristics as a prelude to setting communication objectives. One of the most important things to establish is the audience’s current image of the object.
A major part of audience is to assess the audience’s current image of the company, its product, and its competitors. People’s attitudes and actions towards an object are highly conditioned by their beliefs about the object. Image is the set of beliefs, ideas and impressions that a person holds of an object.
The most popular tools for this is the semantic differential. It involves the following steps :
· Developing a set of relevant dimensions
· Reducing the set of relevant dimensions
· Administering the instrument to a sample of respondents
· Averaging the results
· Checking on the image variance
The marketers should now develop a picture of the desired image in contrast to the current image. An organization seeking to change its image must have great patience. Images persistence is explained by the fact that once people have a certain image of an object; they tend to be selective perceivers of further data.
Determining the communication Objectives
Once the target audience and its characteristics are identified, the marketing communication must determine what response is sought. The ultimate response of course, is purchase. But behavior is the end result of a long process of consumer decision marking. The marketing communicator needs to know how to move the target audience from where it now stands to a higher state of readiness to buy. We will work with the “hierarchy – of – effects “models and described the six buyer – readiness states Awareness, Knowledge, liking, Preference, Conviction, and Possible, depending upon the degree of consumer involvement and the degree of brand differences.
Designing the Message
Having defined the desired audience response, the communicators moves to developing an effective message. Ideally the message should get attention, hold interest, arouse desire and obtain action. In practice, few messages take the consumer all the way from awareness through purchase , but the frame work suggest the desirable qualities .
Managing and Coordinating the Marketing Communication Process
The wide range of communication tools and messages available for reaching the target audience makes it imperative that they be coordinated. Other wise the messages might be ill timed in terms of the availability of goods: They may lack consistency: Or they might not be cost effective. Left alone, each manager of a communication resource will fight for more budget irrespective of the relative merits of each tools.
Today companies are moving towards the concepts of coordinated marketing communications. This concept calls for :
- Appointing a marketing communication director who has over all responsibility for the company’s persuasive communication efforts
- Working out a philosophy of the role and the extent to which the different promotional tools are to be used.
- Keeping track of all promotional expenditure by product, promotional tools , stage of product life cycle, and observed effect, as a basis for improving further use of these tolls
- Coordinating the promotional activities and their timing when major campaigns takes place
Coordinate marketing communicates, will produce more consistency in the company’s meaning to its buyers and publics. It places a responsibility in someone’s hand, where none existed before to unify the company carries on. It leads to a total marketing communication strategy aimed at showing how the company can help customers solve their problem.
Marketing communication is one of the four elements of the company’s marketing mix. Marketing must know how to use advertising, sales promotion, publicity and personal selling to communicate the product’s existence and value to the target customer.
The communication process itself consists of nine elements: Sender, receiver, encoding, decoding, message, media, response, feedback, and noise. Market must know how to get through to the target audience in the face of the audience’s tendencies toward selective attentions, distortion and recall.
Effective sales promotion tactics must be employed keeping in mind the target audience’s tastes and preferences. Each and every product offered by the company should have its own individuality and it’s own market share. For example: Lets take Hindustan Lever”s products. It produces shampoos and soaps under different brand names. However each and every product and brand in the same segment carries its own value in the market and commands its own market share. This was made possible only by effective sales promotion tactics.
It identified to the customer as to the uniqueness of every brand although they are in the same category(shampoos). The product’s existence should be known and serve as a value added brand to every customer. Effective advertising is important for the product to reach various markets. Advertising catches the attention of the customer, however if its not going to be effective, its not going to serve the designated purpose. Advertising should be smart and should convey the right message so that it reaches the target audience. Understand that advertising should portray the benefits of the products and not only the features. Consumers tastes and preferences keep changing, so should the benefits of the products.