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Basic Elements of Communication

13 May, 2016 - 16:19

The basic elements within any communication system are depicted in Figure 8.1. It includes two or more people or organizations called communicators. The underlying assumption of this model is that all communications (dialogue) are continuous. This factor suggests that we are constantly and simultaneously in the role of communicator and receiver. Each communicator is composed of a series of subsystems (i.e. inputs, outputs, processing). The input subsystem permits the communicator to receive messages and stimulus from outside as well as from the other communicator. It involves the reception of light, temperature, touch, sound and, odors via our eyes, skin, ears, nose, and taste buds. These stimuli are intimately evaluated through a process called perception. Thus, we input and perceive advertising messages, a coupon, the appearance and words of a salesperson, and so forth.3

The processing subsystem of a communicator includes all thought processes. As we process, we generate, organize, and reflect on ideas in response to the stimuli received. This entire process is determined not only by the stimuli just received, but also by all stimuli ever received, such as past experiences, education, health, genetics, and all other factors in our environment. Some people clearly process the humor in the Pepsi-Cola ads better than others.

The output subsystem includes the messages and other behaviors produced by the communicator. These include nonverbal messages, verbal messages, and other physical behaviors. All of these become input (feedback) for other people and can have both intentional and unintentional effects on them.

Figure 8.1 A model of human communication 

Friend, parent, boss, client, or customer are just some of the roles we may portray in any communication process. The nature of the role directly affects the nature of communication. We communicate quite differently with our boss than we do with close friends. People who have known each other for a long time often devise their own communication system, which may include lots of nonverbal signals.

Finally, the communication system exists within an environment. The environment is everything internal and external to the communication system that can affect the system (family, school, competing advertisements, etc.). Each of the factors within the environment interacts with the communication system to a different degree. Because communication systems are open to the influence of the total environment, we can never analyze a communication event from only the point of view of the people who seem obviously involved. Everything may affect communication, positively or negatively. The latter factors may alter or distort inputs, outputs, or processing and are called interference. Interference can be generated internally (e.g. fear, love, prejudice) or externally (e.g. noise, weather, physical appearance).


  • The primary role of IMC is to systematically evaluate the communication needs and wants of the buyer and, based on that information, design a communication strategy that will: provide answers to primary questions of the target audience; facilitate the customer's ability to make correct decisions; and increase the probability that the choice they make will most often be the brand of the information provider.
  • Marketing communications is defined as a message delivery system that includes all the identifiable efforts on the part of the seller that are intended to help persuade buyers to accept the seller's message and store it in retrievable form.
  • The four components that make up marketing communication are: advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and personal selling.
  • The basic objectives of marketing communication are to: communicate, convince, and compete.
  • The elements of human communication include:
    • the processing subsystem
    • the output subsystem
    • the nature of the role
    • the environment
  • There are four types of communication systems:
    • interpersonal
    • organizational
    • public
    • mass