Service marketers usually have access to numerous forms of marketing communications. The challenge is to select the most appropriate (mix) and weave them together into a coherent, integrated program that is both effective and cost-efficient.
Elements of Marketing Communication Mix
The main elements of the mix that are follows:
- Personal Selling
- Direct sales
- Sales Promotion
- Public Relations
As well, the text explains and discusses the important roles played by corporate communications (logos, stationery, uniforms, livery and signage), the servicescape and customer service in communicating what an organization stands for, its image and values. Implications of the internet for marketing communication are also highlighted.
The Role of Marketing Communications
The fundamental market-focused role of marketing communications is threefold:
- To inform
- To persuade
- To remind
This means letting prospective customers know about what services are available,
- Where and when, and the particular benefits of these services
- Providing convincing arguments as to why customers should patronize a service as opposed to some competitive alternative
- And maintaining contact with extant customers so that their patronage and support are retained.
Marketing communications also have an important internal role to the end of
- establishing, maintaining and nurturing a desirable corporate culture;
- ensuring efficient and satisfactory service delivery;
- achieving productive and harmonious working relationships;
- building employee trust, respect and loyalty.
The significance of all of this lies in the potentially powerful images that are created. Marketing communications, in all of its different forms, serves to create a sense of
And this sense is created in staff as well as customers.
Like all marketing objectives, marketing communications objectives need to be defined in terms that are specific, measurable, communicable, reviewable and realistically attainable. In this way a marketer develops a clear and rational understanding of the role to be played by marketing communications activities, and what is to be achieved by these activities.
Once the broad marketing communications role and objectives have been defined, a marketer must consider which elements of the mix to bring into play and define objectives for each element to be employed. The text provides several examples of marketing communications objectives, of both a general or over-riding nature as well as a mix-specific nature and shows how these are integrated.
Studies also explains other key planning considerations or questions, which may be summarized in the following way:
- Who is our target audience? (i.e. key characteristics and behavior)
- What is required to discuss and negotiate?
- How best should this message be communicated?
- Where should this message be communicated (i.e. using which media)?
- When should this communications activity take place?
Many different communication elements are available to marketers of services for the purposes of informing, educating, persuading, reminding and rewarding. This means, however, that careful attention must be given to deciding which elements of the mix to bring into play, for what purposes, and then to planning how best to employ them for optimum effect.
It also means considering carefully the nature and characteristics of the audiences to be targeted, in order to ensure that what is communicated, and how and where this is executed, will generate the desired response.