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Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Executive Summary
This report talks about different aspects of IMC-Integrated

marketing communication. Report is presented in two major sections, first section talks about customer initiated marketing communication model developed by Duncan (2005) and co-relating the model in context to rise of social media and citizen journalism. Rise of social media via social networking sites as Facebook, twitter and blogs consumers. etc. strengthen the This also organizations the scope bond with the for two-way provides

communication between the consumers and organizations. Report also talks about who initiates the communication. It can either be the conventional approach where consumers are the receivers, or the other way where consumers are initiating the conversation by contacting their relevant brands. Second section of the report talks about basic consumer decision-making process. Customer decision-making process involves different stages and this section explains how organizations use different IMC tools at different stages of the decision process to get customers from awareness stage to be the loyal customers to the brand. Finally its shown that how different elements of IMC are integrated to help customer to pass the decision making process.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Introduction
Griffith states IMC means that all your companys key product and corporate messages, positioning, images and identity are coordinated across all marketing communication venues. (Griffith, 1997, p. 1). Its evident that with the rise of social media as Facebook and twitter, consumers are getting aware and closer to their brands. Rise of social media has encouraged the consumers to communicate with their brands with more flexibility than ever before. Organizations as well, responding to the consumers with a lot of enthusiasm to make sure that their doubts, issues will be addressed properly. This not only helps consumers to understand their brand but also helps organization to develop long lasting relations with their consumers. Duncan (2005) has developed customer initiated communication model, which explains how consumers to communicate to their brands using different social media tools. How this model works is discussed in the first section of the report. Consumers are aware of the products and services, but still not sure about actual buying (Betman, 1979). This consumer decision process is described in second section of the report and we will try to understand how companies use different IMC tools at different stages of decision-making process to make sure that they bring customers from awareness to their loyal customers pool.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Customer initiated marketing communication model

In this modern era, its not just advertising campaigns, public relations and newspaper ads by which brands or organizations communicate with the target prospects/customers. In reality its every element, person, activities associated with the organization delivers the message to the customers. These visible or invisible actions, activities make positive or negative influence on customers. The appearance, behavior, service of the employee, product design and approach, packaging, tone of the operator on the phone, attitude and approach of customer care officer, all of these communicate with the customers. Customer reacts to these actions and in his unconscious mind stores these messages to develop the image of the brand (Belch & Powell, 2009). Customer uses his store perception to decide about the personality and friendliness of the organization. So whenever a customer comes in contact with the organization, he initiates a customer based marketing communication model. Brands observe these situations and eagerly seek to initiate twoway communication with the customer and try to benefit with the content and opportunity customer is giving to the organization. Duncan (2005) studied and proposed a customer initiated communication model. As shown in fig. 1.1 below, customer is the transmitter or initiator of communication and the organization is considered as the receiver. Its different to the conventional oneway marketing approach where, customer is receiver of brand message.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Fig. 1.1- Customer initiated marketing communication model (Duncan, 2005)

As proposed in above stated model by Duncan (2005), customers choose the channels like emails, organizations blogs on webpage, or even phone calls they give opportunity to the organizations to make new customers or retain the old customers in long lasting relationship. The channel communications from the customers could be complaints, enquiries about new products or services or any other brand related content (Babin, Laurie A & Carder, Sheri Thompson (1996). Measure of this two-way communication can provide companies with insight into the customers and the trends in the market. When the channels identify potential customers, companies then have great opportunity to entertain these requests and turn them in long lasting loyal customers. Brand touch points are the channel points where customers comes in direct or indirect contact with the brand and tells the brand what they expect and are willing to pay for Duncan (2005). Every open-ended communication from customers gives managers to influence the customers about the brand, its products and service and close the case by retaining the customers. Proper monitoring of these points directs the managers to focus on the plan to approach the customers in their comfortable environment. There is always noise in the market,

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne information, and pushes customers to indulge

29/01/2011 in two-way

which is the result of busy signals, company delay, or incomplete communication with the brand (Smith & Christine, 1995). If customers are not satisfied with the product they tend to respond back to the companies, and then companies provide suitable solutions to customers. Its a cycle but companies have to be quick and accurate in terms of their plan to retain the customers in this competitive era. Rise of social media has broadened the channels and has given customers more tools to interact with the brand of their choice. Social media sites as Facebook, twitter and MySpace are now connected to the major brands. They have their own interactive web-space, blogs where customers can interact with the brands one to one. This has helped companies as customers feel more attached and close to their brands and can express their thought more clearly and in an efficient manner. Fig. 1.2 below shows that companies now have increased their social marketing budget in greater folds to get closer to their customers.

Fig. 1.2 How companies have increased their social marketing budget

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Wayne Homeschek, founder of Pie-face, announced in their recent budget to invest 500,000 of their marketing budget on social media marketing. Wayne believes that they use social media to offer promotions and its an effective approach to get closer to the customers in an interesting way. Kim Russell, marketing manager for Nandos Australia states, they are going to invest most of their budget in social media marketing as its the place where our customers live and breathe. As consumers begin to make more and more purchasing decisions on Internet via social media sites, it is worth for companies to invest and harvest from social media marketing.

Cartoon showing social media growth

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Fig. 1.3-Shows the increase and dominance of social media marketing

As shown above in fig. 1.3, Facebook leads the social marketing ladder with more and more consumers using these communication models to build and maintain relations with their consumers. With the emergence of citizen journalism, consumers are more involved in activities as blogs, articles and sharing their experience with other readers. Consumers prefer to share their experience with others and this might make an effect on brands image and companies now a days focus on these blogs to maintain their image in the market. Companies now have stated new approach of marketing and getting close to consumers by putting their advertisements on the blogs and tweets. These

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

techniques gives organizations a chance to make customers come to them, and express what they think of specific brand, their experience and the changes they expect to see in the brand.

Fig. 1.4- Most of social media sites encourage customers to follow for latest offers

Section Two: - Consumer decision making process


Belch (2009) describes consumer behavior as process and activities people involve for searching, selecting, purchasing, evaluating, accessing, and disposing off the products and services as per their needs and expectations. Some decision-making processes are long term planning, research, evaluating process as buying a car or looking for a new house investment, but on the other side some decision-making processes are based on day-to-day life activities and needs. They might be influenced by seeing something in store or followed by some flashy marketing. These buying processes involve different stages, but some of them bypass the stages and result in straight buying, as our lecturer-Belinda, bought and wore eyelashes influenced by a friend. This example of sudden purchase was not a compulsion and need of Belinda, but has resulted in adding grace to her personality. Marketers focus on these

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

undermines wishes and tries to target their consumers. Fig 1.5 below shows different stages in consumer decision-making process.

Fig. 1.5- Showing different consumer decision-making stages

Above stated figure states that consumers decision-making process comprises of different stages through which buyers pass, evaluate them, analyzes them and finally reach upon their decision. Decision making process also involves psychological processes as well, which includes motivation, perception, attitude formation, integration and learning. First stage in consumer decision-making process is problem recognition, which is linked to the motivation he develops to solve that problem. Its the initiator of the whole decision making process. Belch (2009) explains that problem recognition is caused because of difference in the actual state of customer and ideal state. Consumer tends to travel from actual state to his desired state and starts thinking to reduce or emit this distance. Next step is to identify the source of the problem. It might be due to several reasons. If customer is out of stock, it demands for replacement and generates the problem. Simply replacing with the usual brand customer makes this purchase decision. Dissatisfaction can also lead to the problem, triggering the decision-making process. Change in situation and related product purchase also develops problems and consumers tend to solve them by initiating decision-making process. For example, moving from one place to another results in different

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

situations and demands for new products and services, these actions and situations leads to purchase related decisions. Next step is information search, which can be internal or external. Internal search is generally scanning ones memory and thinking about a product or service. This can be based on previous experience of referred by friend or family. But if internal sources are not enough, external information is required. External search can be gathered by advertisements, or consumer awareness websites, from where consumer can get complete knowledge of the product/ service. Once enough knowledge is gathered, next step is evaluation. This depends on the consumers perception of the brand and his needs. The actual buying process, with three possibilities, follows this step. First one is where to buy from, next when to buy or finally not to buy. This depends upon previous purchase experience, deals offered across dealers, time, market situation etc. Once product is purchased, its evaluated against the desired use expectation. This step is followed up by most of the companies in terms of advertisements, emails, salesperson calls to make customer feel that he has made the right decision. This helps organizations to build long lasting relations with the consumer.

Organizations use IMC Tools to support customers decision-making process


As mentioned by Belch (2009), various IMC tools are available to enhance sales process. These tools can be used during different stages of consumer decision-making process and helps organizations to make customers inclined towards their specific brand. Fig 1.6 below shows different IMC tools available and implied by organizations during customer decision-making process.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Fig. 1.6- Different IMC tools available and employed

As evident from fig. 1.6, organizations use different IMC tools to encourage the buying processes. These promotional programs are developed to focus on ultimate customers, those planning to buy or both. It varies from product to product thus; different tool is implemented at different stage. Promotional programs are meant for the buyers of consumer products. Thus during the first stage of consumer decision-making process, organizations employ mas advertising, attracting potential customers towards their product. As its mass approach, organizations consider this as efficient approach but at the same time its difficult to measure the outcome. Another tool used by organizations is personal selling. Its focused on certain customers and is generally applied at the place of purchase. This approach is persuasive and organizations can give complex information to the customers. Result of this approach is very quantitative and helps the organizations to persuade the customer to walk from awareness to being a loyal customer. This tool might be expensive and different salespersons may provide different information. For example: salespersons at car showrooms focus on individual customers and can persuade customers to join the brand, on the contrary another

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

salesperson from the same showroom/brand may provide some different information to the customer. This might lead to conflict or may turn the customer down, but with coordinated training, organizations can overcome this possibility. Personal selling is major ingredient for intermediate customers. During information search process, effective personal selling leads to a loyal customer. Buyers with special needs need personal selling to find the best product to satisfy their needs. Interactive and Internet marketing is two way marketing and used by organizations to walk the customer from awareness to the final purchase. In this stage, consumer is the initiator of communication and wants to know more about the product/service. After sale process is complete, organizations follow up with after sales support to retain the customer for long. Public relations is an approach where organizations, evaluate public attributes, identifies and evaluate individual or organizations public interest and executes a program to earn public acceptance and recognition. This enhances brand image and brings consumers close to the brand. This needs to be followed by advertisement or personal selling to make customer walk from awareness to the loyal customer pool. Sponsorship is also another tool implied by the organizations as part of spreading awareness and brand image. This followed example: by advertisements Paris Hilton and directed offered marketing lifetime brings consumers from awareness to the group of loyal customers. For being Starbucks membership, just for sponsoring and carrying Starbucks coffee with her. This creates an image of the brand and consumers influenced by her, tends to get closer to the brand-Starbucks. Also surfing brand-Rip-curl sponsor music festivals teen music parties just to get closer to their potential consumers. These actions create space for the brand in consumers mind and organizations using other marketing tools make sure that these consumers start walking with the brand and become loyal customers.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Fig. 1.7- How different companies use IMC tools to get closer to customers

As shown in Fig. 1.7, many companies now are taking personal perspective approach to get closer to the customers. It involves broadcast media, print media, Internet, direct marketing, word of mouth, event and sponsorships and point of purchase marketing techniques to take customers from awareness to being loyal customers.

Reference: -

George E. Belch, Micheal A. Belch, Gayle Kerr, Irene Powell (2009), Advertising and Promotion: an integrated marketing perspective, McGraw Hill Pvt. Ltd -Australia. Tom Duncan & Sandra E. Moriarty (1998), A communication based model for managing relationships, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 62,no. 2, p. 1-13.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011

Lindell, P. Griffith (1997), You need integrated attitude to develop IMC (Marketing News, vol. 31, iss. 11, p. 6) Babin, Laurie A & Carder, Sheri Thompson Advertising, vol. 15, iss. 2, pp. 140-151) T. Duncan (2005), Principles of Advertising and IMC, McGraw Hill, Illinois, pp. 117-225. James R. Betman, 1979, Factors in consumers choice: a review, Journal of Marketing, vol. 43, no.2, pp.37-53. Robert E. Smith & Christine A. Vogt, 1995, The effect of integrating advertising and negative word of mouth communications on message processing and response, Journal of consumer psychology, Vol.4, no. 2, pp. 133-151. Fig. 1.1 Developed in reference to < Tom Duncan, 2005, The new principles of advertising and promotion, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York>. Fig.1.2-Studied and developed from (1996): Viewers

recognition of brands placed within a film (International Journal of

<http://mashable.com/2009/03/23/social-media-marketingbudgets> on 15th Sep11 at 12:30 am. Fig. 1.3- Viewed and developed on < http://social-networkingwebsites-review.toptenreviews.com> on 12th Sep11 at 4:30 pm. Fig. 1.4- Viewed and developed on < http://social-networkingwebsites-review.toptenreviews.com> on 10th Sep11 at 8:00 pm. Fig. 1.5- Developed in reference to < Belch, Powell & Kerr, 2009, Advertising and Promotion: an integrated marketing communication perspective> on 12th Sep11.

Mohit Patiyal CSU-Melbourne

29/01/2011