Marketing Communication Mix

Companies must allocate the marketing communication budget over the six major modes of communication – advertising, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, events and experiences, sales force, and direct marketing. Here is how one company touches several bases.

Within the same industry, companies can differ considerably in their media and channel choices. Avon concentrates its promotional funds on personal selling, whereas Revlon spends heavily on advertising. Electrolux spends heavily on a door-to-door sales force whereas Hoover relies more on advertising.

Companies are always searching for ways to gain efficiency by replacing one communications tool with others. Many companies are replacing some field sales activity with ads, direct mail, and telemarketing. One auto dealer dismissed his five salespeople and cut his prices, and sales exploded. Companies are shifting advertising funds into sales promotion. The substitutability among communications tools explains why marketing functions need to be coordinated. For example, a new Web site and a coordinated TV ad campaign targeting the greater Los Angeles area sparked record sales for Hawaii’s Aloha Airlines, selling over $1 million worth of tickets on one day. The TV ads were designed to create awareness for Aloha and drive to the Web site, where the sale would be closed.

Each communication tool has its own unique characteristics and costs.

Advertising can be used to build up a long term image for a product (Coca-Cola ads) or trigger quick sales (a Sears ad for a weekend sale). Advertising can efficiently reach geographically dispersed buyers. Certain forms of advertising (TV) can require a large budget whereas other forms like newspaper do not. Just the presence of advertising might have an effect on sales; Consumers might believe that a heavily advertised brand must offer “good value”. Because of the many forms and uses of advertising it is difficult to make generalizations. The following qualities may be noted:

1. Pervasiveness – Advertising permits the seller to repeat a message many times. It also allows the buyer to receive and compare the message of various competitors. Large scale advertising says something positive about the seller’s size, power, and success.

2. Amplified expressiveness – Advertising provides opportunities for dramatizing the company and its products through the artful use of print, sound and color.

3. Impersonality – The audience does not feel obligated to pay attention or respond to advertising. Advertising is a monologue in front of, not a dialogue with the audience.