Tools for Ef­fec­tive Mar­ket­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tion

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Governance and Market -

Mar­ket­ing is a fun­da­men­tal con­cept that en­ables or­gan­i­sa­tions to meet their goals. The mar­ket­ing process is cru­cial not just for busi­nesses that aim to max­i­mize profit; it is also rel­e­vant for non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions. The most ba­sic and widely ac­cept­able def­i­ni­tion of mar­ket­ing is: "putting the right prod­uct in the right place, at the right price, and at the right time." Go­ing by this def­i­ni­tion, there are a set of mar­ket­ing vari­ables that are use­ful in help­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions make strate­gic de­ci­sions. Put to­gether, th­ese vari­ables – prod­uct, price, pro­mo­tion, place – con­sti­tute what is known as the mar­ket­ing mix, of­ten re­ferred to as the four Ps of mar­ket­ing.

The mar­ket­ing mix con­cept was pop­u­larised by the 1964 ar­ti­cle by Neil Bor­den, ti­tled, “The con­cept of mar­ket­ing mix." The con­cept is es­sen­tially for mar­ket­ing tan­gi­ble goods. How­ever, there are ad­di­tional vari­ables for mar­ket­ing ser­vices. The ad­di­tional Ps for mar­ket­ing ser­vices are: peo­ple, process and phys­i­cal ev­i­dence.

Much of the fo­cus of this ar­ti­cle is on the four dif­fer­ent but equally im­por­tant vari­ables men­tioned first above. The strate­gic in­ter­ac­tion among th­ese vari­ables and the ap­pli­ca­tion of the mar­ket­ing mix would de­fine an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s com­pet­i­tive­ness, mar­ket de­mand for its prod­ucts and its ul­ti­mate prof­itabil­ity.

The first vari­able in the mix is the core of­fer­ing of an or­gan­i­sa­tion, of­ten driven by mar­ket de­mand. A prod­uct can also be of­fered based on an iden­ti­fied need for it in a given mar­ket, the prob­lems it prom­ises to solve or the ben­e­fits it of­fers to con­sumers. The prod­uct of­fer­ing can be en­hanced by crit­i­cal el­e­ments such as labelling; prod­uct and con­sumer in­for­ma­tion; as well as pack­ag­ing that pro­vides a dis­tinc­tive value amongst avail­able al­ter­na­tives.

A prod­uct still needs to fol­low a tra­jec­tory as it mi­grates into a brand. A prod­uct or ser­vice of­fer­ing can evolve into a brand with dis­tinc­tive value propo­si­tions. At­tain­ing the sta­tus of a brand re­quires well-crafted com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies un­der­pinned by a mar­ket-driven po­si­tion­ing strat­egy. An or­gan­i­sa­tion’s strate­gic di­rec­tion will cre­ate the en­abling en­vi­ron­ment nec­es­sary for the tran­si­tion to be made.

The prod­uct pric­ing strat­egy must en­sure the prod­uct is at­trac­tive to buy­ers and sell­ers. This does not pre­clude the fact that the pric­ing must take into ac­count the cost of pro­duc­tion, ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing ex­penses. The mar­ket value at­tached to the prod­uct or ser­vice can ei­ther be based on mar­ket skim­ming pric­ing or mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion pric­ing. Mar­ket skim­ming en­tails set­ting prices above the com­pe­ti­tion, while mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion en­tails set­ting prices be­low the com­pe­ti­tion. Ei­ther strat­egy has its lim­i­ta­tions.

Pre­mium prod­ucts or ser­vices, which have high-end mar­ket am­bi­tions, are priced based on mar­ket skim­ming strat­egy to at­tract high net-worth cus­tomers. Con­sumer prod­ucts are priced based on mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion strat­egy to drive mar­ket share ex­pan­sion and achieve large sales vol­ume.

Hav­ing iden­ti­fied the prod­uct or ser­vice, and hav­ing set its price, the next strate­gic goal is to reach out to the tar­get mar­ket through a well-ar­tic­u­lated mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy to en­hance the ac­cept­abil­ity of the prod­uct or ser­vice. The pri­mary goal of pro­mo­tions is to cre­ate aware­ness about the prod­uct or ser­vice through var­i­ous tools such as ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, press, out-of-home ad­ver­tis­ing, so­cial me­dia, among oth­ers. Pro­mo­tions are a crit­i­cal fac­tor in the mar­ket­ing mix, af­fect­ing all the other vari­ables.

All prod­ucts and ser­vices need dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels for con­sumers to have ac­cess to them. Ac­cess to a prod­uct is a huge fac­tor in achiev­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional goal, whether it is profit or sim­ply mak­ing a de­sired im­pact. For in­stance, con­sumer goods man­u­fac­tur­ers have a pref­er­ence for mak­ing their prod­ucts avail­able to cus­tomers in re­tail stores. Bev­er­age man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­pand their dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels to ven­dors on street cor­ners. Wellestab­lished food sell­ers op­er­ate branded restau­rants, while oth­ers sell food to cus­tomers in trucks. While the mar­ket­ing mix plays a cru­cial role in the busi­ness plan­ning of any or­gan­i­sa­tion, mak­ing the de­ci­sion on the four Ps has an im­pact on seg­men­ta­tion, tar­get­ing and po­si­tion­ing (or the STP strat­egy). Be­yond the strate­gic de­ci­sions that in­form all the vari­ables in the mar­ket­ing mix, or­gan­i­sa­tions have to drill down to per­son­alised mes­sages to reach tar­get au­di­ences. STP is a strate­gic ap­proach in modern mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It fo­cuses on the au­di­ence rather than the prod­uct.

Be­cause re­sources are limited and mar­ket needs are di­verse, com­pa­nies need to set their mar­ket­ing plans across se­lected or fo­cused seg­ments. Each seg­ment is cho­sen based on pre­de­ter­mined in­di­ca­tors

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