By Goke Ilesanmi
The concept of effective communication, whether Marketing Communications and/or Corporate Communication, has changed in scope and dynamics in this digital age with the multiplicity of technological devices and social media platforms. The world is now a global village with many business and career opportunities as well as global threats of competition. We need to be able to communicate well to overcome the challenges and stay ahead of competition.
Marketing Communications refers to the various media, means and/or tools adopted by corporate organisations to convey messages about their products, services and/or brands either directly or indirectly to (prospective) customers with the intention to persuade them to buy. Marketers employ marketing communications tools to create brand awareness among potential customers, which means some image of the brand gets created in their minds thus helping them to make the buying decision.
Marketing Communications uses the following tools collectively referred to as Marketing Communication Mix or Promotion Mix:
- Personal selling: This is the traditional method of marketing communication where the salesmen approach the prospective customers directly and inform them about the goods and services they are dealing in.
- Public relations and publicity: Public relations is a strategic communication process of building mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics. Public relations is all about reputation-building. It is used to gain trust and understanding between an organisation and its various publics. Organisations achieve effective public relations and publicity through effective relationship with the media by sending press releases on their achievements and/or activities to them for free publication.
- Direct marketing: This is done through emails, letters, etc., to communicate directly with the prospective customers without involving any third party in between.
- Advertising: It is an indirect, paid method used by the firms to inform (prospective) customers about their goods and services via television, radio, print media, etc.
- Sales promotion: This includes the several short-term incentives to persuade the customers to initiate the purchase of the goods and services. This promotion technique helps in retaining the existing customers and attracting the new ones with additional benefits. This promotion technique includes rebates, discounts, paybacks, Buy-one-get-one-free scheme, coupons, etc., are some of the sales promotion tools.
- Events and experiences or corporate social responsibility: Organisations employ this technique by sponsoring non-profit or community events, sports, entertainment, etc. The essence is to reinforce their brand image in the minds of existing customers, attract new customers and create long-term relationships with them. The name of an organisation sponsoring an event can be seen on the playground boundaries, player’s jerseys, trophies, awards, etc.
- Word-of-mouth marketing: It is one of the most widely used methods of marketing communication. Here, satisfied customers share their experiences with their peers and friends about the goods and services they bought recently. This method is very crucial for the firms because the image of the brand depends on what customers feel about the brand and what message they convey to others.
Marketing communications versus corporate communication
It is noteworthy that both Marketing Communications and Corporate Communication use these communication tools with a different approach but towards the same end. The main difference between Corporate Communication and Marketing Communications is the target audience. Corporate Communication is targeted towards all stakeholders of an organisation, such as the customers, employees, media, investors, etc. Marketing communications is specifically targeted towards consumers of goods and services.
While Marketing Communications focuses on brand or product or service positioning to improve sales and boost profitability, Corporate Communication traditionally focuses on corporate branding. Corporate branding is about positioning an organisation itself as a brand. That is, creating massive awareness about its mission, vision, values, achievements, etc.
Research report: A recent report by McKinsey & Company shows that only 13 per cent of customers remained loyal to a brand in 2017. So, 87 per cent considered other brands while 58 per cent switched to a new one. Reasons for this were poor marketing communications and ineffective corporate communication.
Digital marketing communications
Today, corporate organisations must be versatile in digital (marketing) communications skills to succeed unlike what had obtained before the advent of digital or new media in those days. Therefore, organisations that want to succeed in marketing must effectively and innovatively apply all the marketing communications tools such as:
*Digital Sales Promotion (through the corporate website, etc.)
*Digital Public Relations and Publicity (through both digital news and social media)
*Direct Marketing (through Email, WhatsApp, etc.)
*Interactive Marketing (where customers interact with companies online and have their requests met as done by Amazon, etc.)
*Digital Personal Selling (through platforms such as Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts and FaceTime, Zoom, etc.)
*Word-of-Mouth Marketing also called Digital Influencer Marketing where a brand inspires or compensates influencers (e.g. celebrities, content creators, customer advocates and employees) to get the word out on their behalf.
To be continued
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GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425