Q: In marketing communications it is often necessary to make a distinction between your own target market and other audiences. Why?
Answer: For the purposes of promoting services and to communicate a marketer must often make distinctions between audiences and different types of behavior.
For example, with target market customers distinctions can be made between those who are regular and irregular or periodical customers, those who are lapsed customers, and those who, although within the target market by definition, have not yet patronized the service organization and who may be regarded as prospects yet to be converted.
Further distinctions can often be made between users, purchasers, influencers, decision-makers and initiators. In addition, other audiences for marketing communications, in one form or another, might include staff, suppliers, intermediaries, political decision-makers, regulatory authorities, social and community interest groups.
As to reaching and communicating effectively with each of these groups or audiences, there is no single best way. The answer to this question lies in the specific nature of each situation and audience, what needs to be communicated, how best to communicate the message, and in what form, within the constraints of one’s available resources, and the timing of the communication.
Note: In working on this question, a useful exercise would be to define a particular situation requiring marketing communications, and then to get students to recommend and justify proposals for dealing with it effectively. (Also see Application question 2. below)
Q: Discuss the role and importance of word-of-mouth and referrals in the marketing of services?
Answer: Because of the intangibility of services, and the risk or apprehension frequently associated with trial, positive word-of-mouth and referrals can be very influential in attracting and retaining patronage, and in creating and promulgating a service image.
Conversely, negative word-of-mouth can be just as powerful, if not more so, in keeping customers away and damaging a service organization’s image and reputation. Referrals also help to establish the grounds for potentially long-term and mutually advantageous relationships.
Q: Distinguish between the internal and external role of public relations in a service setting?
The internal or personnel-focused role of public relations includes
- culture and morale building
- trust and confidence building
- recognition and reward
- loyalty building
- serving to enhance productivity
- creating a climate or ambience conducive to optimum service delivery, customer comfort and satisfaction
The external role of public relations includes
- image and reputation building
- the fostering of goodwill
- stimulating positive attitudes, perceptions and word-of-mouth
- customer relationship and loyalty building
Q: Why does sales promotion warrant particular emphasis in service industries?
Answer: Sales promotion warrants particular emphasis in service industries because of its ability to influence and shape demand and, thereby, to help counter the perishability characteristic of most services. This is to say that sales promotion tactics can be used to incentivize and reward in such a way available service capacity is utilized to the fullest and sales potential realized as fully as possible.
7 Benefits of Sales Promotion in Service Industries
- Accelerate the purchasing decision
- Encourage trial for service or product
- Stimulate forward booking
- Motivate customers to patronize a service more frequent,
- Incentivize and reward regular customer patronage and loyalty
- Add value to the core (and supplementary) services offered
- Provide a mutually beneficial alternative to straight out price discounting