Marketing communication remains one of the most visible and controversial aspects of marketing. Everyday we see hundreds of ads, redeem coupons, are approached by a variety of salespeople, and are told by countless companies how good they are. This chapter introduces the persuasive arm of marketing communication. In it we suggest that since everything about a company is going to communicate something, it would be beneficial to have as much control over this process as possible. Other reasons for planning the communication effort are also discussed, as are the primary objectives: (a) to communicate, (b) to convince, and (c) to compete. The systems model of communication is discussed to clarify the general communications process. Components of this process are defined and described. Types of communications systems are described. IMC is defined from a broad perspective, and then categorized into four components: (a) advertising, (b) personal selling, (c) public relations, and (d) sales promotion. The eight-step process involved in designing an IMC strategy is discussed.
Advertising is discussed in the context of marketing communication that is targeted at mass markets. It contains a sequential process, but is highlighted through its creative strategy and media strategy.
Sales promotion and public relations are two components that are both misunderstood and misused. The second part of this chapter develops some basic concepts related to both strategies. Reasons for sales promotion and types of sales promotion are discussed. Public relation is viewed in terms of its two publics, internal and external. Several techniques used to reach these publics are proposed.
Professional selling has been defined as personal contact aimed at successfully persuading prospects to buy products or services from which they can derive suitable benefits. Selling is a major force in our economy, both in terms of employment and its impact on the success of various organizations. The product, customer, competition, and environment must all be considered in determining the relative emphasis to place on personal selling in the promotional mix. The activities of a salesperson can be broken into a series of steps called the sales process. Not all of the steps are required for every sale, but the complete process includes prospecting, preapproach, planning the presentation, delivering the presentation, handling objectives, closing, and follow-up.