Marketing Strategies: Promotion, Advertising, and Public Relations
Marketing is the bridge between the product and the customer. A marketer uses the four P's -- product, price, place, and promotion -- to communicate with the consumer. Promotion is a combination of all forms of communication to the customer, including advertising and public relations.
The marketer must choose which is the best form of promotion for the target audience, so he or she will develop a marketing plan.
A business must have a marketing plan in order to produce, communicate, and sell products and services. Using research on segments of the target audience, a marketing plan is written. Once the plan has been developed, a budget is set for the promotional campaign.
Promotion is when a business decides which forms of communication it wants to use in their marketing plan. Research is done that details market research, segmentation, and budget. Large companies might choose to do a national campaign, especially if the brand is already familiar to the consumer. Smaller businesses, with fewer resources, might use direct selling until they have a larger budget for advertising.
The first step for the marketer is to develop a marketing communications strategy. The strategy will define the consumer, the best way to reach them, and what the message should be. This process is called the marketing mix. The process goes through the following steps:
By dividing consumers into segments, the marketer is better able to meet consumer needs, and increase positive response. During the promotion process, the marketing team will decide which segments to target, and why. Market research will be able to ascertain all of this information for the team.
What segment would you choose if you were a seller of baseball gloves?
Once the target audience has been identified, they should be further segmented. The marketing team should know their age, gender, buying patterns, as well as income. This information can also be ascertained during the research period. The most typically used research methods are:
- Sales Analysis
- Buying Patterns and History
- Online statistics, including Social Media
- Focus groups
- Hiring a Market Research Firm
Once the audience has been clearly defined, it is time to get their attention.
Targeting is the best way to communicate with the chosen segments. The marketer will want to ensure the best possible customer response. The marketing plan must detail how to target the intended audience, and define any marketing objectives.
Advertising is just one method of marketing communications, which is the umbrella for many methods.
TYPES OF ADVERTISING – MASS MEDIA
Magazines and/or Newspapers
Television and/or Movies
PUBLIC RELATIONS – How to use the media
Mail Order Catalogues
Point of Sale Displays and Signs
DIGITAL MARKETING – The Internet is here to stay!
Social Media - Facebook or Twitter
Mobile Phone Promotions
Every one of these promotional avenues has intense competition, so it is imperative the marketer choose their promotional avenue carefully. Remember, a television ad buy is different now than it was 20 years ago. Now we have hundreds of channels, all of which sell advertising. With the addition of streaming television and digital recorders, consumers can skip commercials or fast-forward through them.
Because of this, companies are finding newer ways to promote their businesses. There are new media channels, such as online choices, which add to the choices a company has to choose from. This is why segmentation is so important. The marketer doesn't want to choose a promotional avenue if their target audience doesn't use that method. For example, a product geared towards elderly women shouldn't be promoted on Twitter, since elderly women are not big users of the site.
The better the target, the better the response. Normal response rates are less than 1 percent for a general mass mailing promotion. Think about that! What a waste of a promotion. But if the target is well defined, it gives the marketer a better chance at reaching the customer.
Integrated Marketing Communications
Ok, you have targeted your general audience, and then what do you do? The marketer must guide the consumer through the buying process. This involves knowing the stages each consumer goes through when deciding to purchase a product, and designing a promotion that will capture the attention of the customer.
Once the marketer has decided on the method of promotion, he must decide which approach to take. If multiple methods are used, it is essential all methods work together to give a single message. A funny television commercial and a somber radio ad won't work together and would be a terrible way to define a brand. So the overall approach must consider each media method and ensure they all work together to promote the brand.
Positioning is the process of defining an image for the company, or developing the "brand." Positioning is key to this process, but all aspects of the marketing mix help define the brand. To position a business successfully, the company must meet or exceed all expectations and look good in the eyes of the consumer.
Positioning will also take competitors into account, and will give the company an opportunity to set itself apart from other similar products.
Branding is a central theme in promotions, and key to positioning a product. Branding is a part of all aspects of a product -- from its packaging to its website. The more consistent the branding, the more likely the customer will remember the brand.
Having a successful brand means a customer will pay more than for brands it doesn't know or trust. This trust is referred to as "brand equity" and is incredibly valuable to the marketer. It is also essential the brand take into account all unique selling points (USPs), as these are the easily recognized parts of a message.
If possible, using corporate identity is a great way to promote a product, especially if it is used consistently. Think of the Kellogg's logo. You see the logo on a new box of cereal, and since you are familiar with the brand, you are more likely to trust it. This is the ideal situation.
A corporation can use certain colors, logos, or taglines to keep their brand consistent.
Think again of Tide laundry detergent. Quick -- what color is the packaging? It is orange, and it has been ingrained in your memory, probably since you were a child. Do you understand why it is so valuable? The color alone defines the corporate identity of the Tide brand.
4. Developing the Message
The marketer has the segments, the target, and the position; what is next? He needs the message. What does he want to say to influence his potential customers? The marketer's objectives should be aligned with the marketing strategy, and will fit into one of the following categories:
1. Inform – Increase awareness of the product and brand, and try to gain an advantage.
2. Persuade – Attempt to gain an immediate response to drive sales.
3. Remind – To maintain an interest in the product or brand.
The best results come from clear and distinctive promotions, so it is important the marketing works together to formulate a clear message for the targeted audience. The best message won't work if it doesn't get to the proper audience.
Advertising is the act of communicating directly to an audience using media sources, such as television, print, radio, and online. A successful campaign will keep the customer insight in mind, while communicating the business's mission and brand. Ads can be directed toward certain demographics, improving the chance of a successful campaign.
A successful ad makes the viewer want to learn more about the product, and gives the viewer means to purchase the product. The best ad techniques will ensure a valuable campaign, which will return value to the company.
The following techniques are the most popular for ad campaigns.
Repetition is exactly what it sounds like, and it is a very effective method. It is a means of getting a message into the memory of a customer. This method will always name the product or company name, and ideally more than once. This is particularly helpful in television campaigns, because it gives the opportunity to see and hear the message.
Another successful method is the promotion of features of the product, and making claims about what the product can do for the consumer. An ad can state that its product is "the best," even if the product is the same as other products. Claims can often be misleading, so it's important to use this method carefully. Many ads use the words "helps" or "virtually" to describe their products.
This method associates a product with a person, song, or emotion. Sporting goods companies use athletes, car companies show their cars driving on beautiful winding mountain roads, and others use jingles. Think of the jingle for Folgers Coffee. Can you remember it? Of course you can -- it is ingrained in our memory. It results in an emotional response, and therefore is a successful ad.
This method uses coupons or sweepstakes to win over customers. By participating in the promotion, he customer enters a relationship with the company. This generates excitement, especially if the consumer thinks they could possibly win something. Everyone likes free products.
Public relations is the act of communicating a positive image to the target audience. PR can include press releases, discussions, and presentations to the community, as well as targeting television and radio programs to discuss the brand.
Small companies that cannot afford large advertising budgets can use public relations to get their name out there. It is important to establish a brand as soon as possible.
As a part of the marketing plan, a marketer must develop a public relations strategy. This can be done in three phases.
Phase One: Research
Step 1: Analyze the Situation
Step 2: Analyze the Company
Step 3: Analyze the Market
Phase Two: Strategy
Step 4: Set Goals and Objectives
Step 5: Formulate Action and Response Strategies
Step 6: Design Valuable Communication
Phase Three: Tactics
Step 7: Decide on Communication Tactics
Step 8: Implement the PR Plan
Phase Four: Evaluative Research
Step 9: Evaluate the PR Plan
During this phase, the marketer must focus on the initial planning of what he wants to convey in his message, and whom he wants to get the message to. At this point the marketer will research the product and market, and prepare for the marketing strategy.
Step 1: Analyze the Situation.
All members of the advertising team and management must work together to analyze the current marketing situation, set goals, and address any problems or obstacles.
Step 2: Analyze the Organization.
This step requires the company to look at its mission, performance, and resources. It also requires them to look at their reputation, as well as the external environment, such as its competitors.
Step 3: Analyze the Market.
This step requires the company to analyze the markets it wants to target. This involves extensive market research about the needs and wants of the target audience, especially demographics and behavioral needs.
This phase involves planning the strategy, and making decisions about how to communicate to the target audience. It's also when the message and means of communication are decided.
Step 4: Set Goals and Objectives.
This step defines the ideal position for the company and the product. This is the best way to set goals and clear objectives.
Step 5: Formulate Action and Response Strategies.
A company can take many actions, and in this step the company must consider which actions are best, and most appropriate, for the campaign.
Step 6: Design Valuable Communication.
This step involves the various types of messages that can be relayed to the customer. It also includes the tone and style of the message.
During the Tactics phase, the type of communication is chosen.
Step 7: Select Communication Tactics.
This step deals with all the types of communication that can be chosen. A company can choose news media, face-to-face communication, advertising, or public relations.
Step 8: Implement the Strategic Plan.
In this step, the plan is implemented. If all previous seven steps have been followed, then the company should have a successful PR campaign.
The final phase assesses the success of the campaign, and whether any change could be made to improve it.
Step 9: Evaluating the Strategic Plan.
This is the last step, which uses specific methods to measure how effective the campaign was and whether it met the desired objectives.
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