Integrated Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Communications

Introduction

Entrepreneurship and production thrive on selling services, products, and ideas to intended users. Promotional marketing is a crucial aspect of the process of improving the sale of ideas and products to the public. Therefore, promoters and marketers should consider all the important aspects related to marketing for their marketing initiatives to be successful. This essay outlines three of the major items that will influence marketing initiatives, including sales promotion; database and direct response marketing and personal selling; and public relations.

Database and direct response marketing and personal selling

Database marketing

Reaching customers and selling products to them is the essence of marketing. Therefore, the identification of customers and building strong and lasting relationships with them necessitate the building of data warehouses. Data warehouses possess all information of former, current, and prospective customers of firms.

Building customers’ database

IT departments and marketing teams primarily distinguish between operational database and marketing database. The operational database contains customers’ individualized transactions with the business, and they adhere to accounting rules and principles. On the other hand, marketing database contains customers’ information including, their names, physical addresses, E-mail addresses, records of visits to businesses’ Web sites, history of purchases and interactions, responses to previous firms’ surveys, preferences and profiles, additional data and coded data (Clow and Baack 296).

Sources of data

One of the most popular sources of customers’ data is the Internet and E-mail. Most firms use the Internet and e-mail due to accessibility and cost-effectiveness, especially in developed countries. To establish and store customers’ browsing patterns and Web site visits, most database programs use cookies. The gathered information enables the marketing and IT department to personalize firms’ Web sites, where personalized greetings appear on screens whenever each customer visits a Web site (Clow and Baack 296).

Using a database in marketing

Having relevant and crucial information on customers, the marketing departments undertake analyses that allow customer profiling and clustering. Marketing and communication programs for each cluster are then generated. Database-driven marketing programs include permission marketing, frequency monitoring programs, and customer relationship management.

The use of a permission marketing program, which involves marketing to prospective buyers after they explicitly agreed in advance to be provided with the marketing information, is relatively appealing to both the marketers and prospective customers for the following reasons. First, the program is a backlash to spam and junk mails that more often than not deter prospective customers from reading them and consequently causing a breakdown in the information. Second, customers grant permission and, therefore, give communication processes a clear go-ahead. Third, the program uses the Internet, mails, and telephones, which have the high response and feedback rates.

With frequency monitoring programs, a marketing department can check how frequently a customer purchases items. Loyalty cards can be used to encourage recurrent purchases.

Customer relationship program involves the identification of customers in terms of their needs and values then coming up with interactive and individualized communication programs. Customizing of goods and services is then done to meet the specific customers’ needs effectively.

Direct response marketing

This marketing technique permits firms to communicate straight to their customers. Firms use television, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, catalogs, and another communication medium. However, the use of the Internet has become the most popular among other methods due to its relative advantages, which include cost-effectiveness, ability to build customer relationships, ease in communication personalization, capacity to customize offers, and the enhanced accessibility of advertisements by the search engines.

Personal selling

In personal selling, firms use salespersons to reach the intended customers face-to-face. Therefore, the attitude, appearance, and product knowledge of the salespersons are crucial tools in this method. Personal selling is likely to build stronger relationships with both new and current customers since the marketer meets the customers face-to-face.

Sales promotion

Sales promotion involves giving incentives to members of channels of distribution and final users of products and services to boost sales of specific products and services. Sales promotion is broadly divided into consumer promotion and trade promotion. Trade promotion is done when marketers give incentives to members of marketing chains to make them purchase more, but for eventual sale (Clow and Baack 326). Consumer promotion, on the other hand, involves giving incentives to final users of products and services prompting them to purchase more.

Types of consumer promotion

The marketer will use the following types of consumer promotion depending on the impact of each method. That is, how effective they will be in making consumers and members of marketing chains make more purchases.

Coupons

Most costumers are relatively conversant with the use of coupons with the diverse benefits ranging from price saving to incentives gotten from redeeming coupons. Customers’ involvements in the whole process make the method more effective.

Premiums

Premiums create consumer awareness, brand visibility, and encourage consumers to sample a brand. Promoters use premiums by prompting customers to buy products due to the gifts awarded on purchases.

Samplings

Sampling entices consumers to try products for the first time by giving them a chance to use products in small quantities and for a short time. During sampling, consumers pay nothing or little for the product. Eventually, customers develop taste for the sampled products and may become regular customers.

Bonus packs

Bonus packs help to increase the consumption of a product by increasing product quantities that customers receive. This also helps products to match the competition. Additionally, promotion packs entice new consumers and encourage brand switching.

Contests

Contests help to promote sales by offering cash awards, free merchandise, recognition, and free services. With immediate awarding, customers are persuaded to purchase the product.

These among others, like the price-off, rebates, and refunds, will eventually increase sales. Therefore, marketers should evaluate the most effective method for their products and services.

Costumers’ reactions to promotions

Different customers react differently to promotions and, therefore, categorization of customers is done based on their responses. First, there are those customers that go for every new promotion in the market and actively participate. They fall under the category of “the promotion prone”. Second, there are brand royals who will stick to their brands no matter how much promotion is done by the competitors’ substitutes. Third, the brand preferred customers would choose their preferred brand. The fourth category comprises of the price-sensitive customers, who do not give preferences to brands and would therefore go for the cheapest brands (Clow and Baack 326).

Therefore, the marketer should consider the IMC program when designing various promotional programs. Marketers should formulate specific goals that relate to the product, the target market, and the retail outlets. Promotions aimed at the brand building are long-term, while sales building promotions offer are short-term. For building sales or attracting new customers, promoters should consider priced based offers, and for retaining consumers, they should consider high-value premiums and coupons (Clow and Baack).

Issues that complicate international sales programs

Most businesses start at local levels, but as they grow, they expand their activities beyond the political borders of their respective countries. However, as these businesses explore new markets, they face different challenges.

For instance, different countries have different policies regarding promotion. Therefore, when conducting international sales, methods of promotion used may vary from country to country. Also, the economic strength of countries is diverse. Weaker economies prompt promoters to use more promotional methods to register significant sales. Otherwise, the lack of intensive promotion may fail to purchase the product.

Further, countries have tariffs and trade barriers that generally affect foreign product penetration to their markets. Tariffs vary from country to country, and they affect sales promotion. The economic level of a country has “a correlation with the purchasing power of its citizens” (Clow and Baack 326). Consequently, the level of sales of products and services is dependent on countries’ economies. Lastly, the levels of technology are not uniform globally. Therefore, the effectiveness and efficiency of promotion may be hindered in countries that have relatively outdated technology.

It is evident that marketers intending to promote sales across political boundaries must be conversant with the different political, economic, technological, and social environments for their marketing initiatives to be successful.

Public relations and sponsorship programs

Public relation departments must guarantee that firms connect with all stakeholders, (customers, governments, shareholders, employees, media, among others), positively while being socially responsible (Clow and Baack 354). On the other hand, sponsorship programs include activities that firms carry out to support the communities they operate their businesses. For instance, a firm may decide to fund the building of a public school without expecting direct benefits.

There is a close relationship between public relations departments and marketing departments. That is, while a marketing department tries to sell the firm’s products and services, the public relations departments try to sell out a firm’s image to the public to boost sales.

For a successful public relations program, a firm must understand the nature and needs of all its stakeholders, and then develop appropriate responses for each. Further, the public relations departments must carefully select the most appropriate public relations methods to avoid bad publicity, which can adversely affect the firms’ public image and consequently lower levels of products and services sales.

Conclusion

Marketers should consider a spectrum of marketing and sales promotion elements to formulate sustainable and successful promotional initiatives. Therefore, marketers should make deliberate planning and strategize before allocating resources for marketing. For instance, a marketer may decide to use database marketing, direct response marketing, personal marketing, or a combination of the three after assessing the efficacy and efficiency of each. Second, firms can use many sales promotional methods to generate more sales. Sales promotional methods include issuing coupons, free samples, bonus packs, and premiums among others. Also, customers’ responses to promotions vary and, therefore, marketers must carefully choose the most appropriate method of promotion. Third, the public image of a firm is crucial in ensuring success in its operations. Therefore, firms should connect positively and in socially responsible manners with all their stakeholders. Additionally, firms can use sponsorship programs to acquire positive publicity.

Works Cited

Clow, Kenneth E., and Donald E Baack. Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2013. Print