Marketing Communications: What Message Are You Sending to Your Customers?

Marketing communications refers to the message or means of communicating with a particular market. Companies use marketing communications to help create a consistent image and marketing message that they present to prospects and customers. The goal is to create the same look and feel for all their marketing material, which helps solidify their brand in the marketplace. This can be through traditional print materials, or through more modern means of communication, like email or webinars.

The most important point when constructing a marketing message is to start with a crystal clear communications objective.

The importance of developing an integrated marketing communications plan has become even more important in the modern era. With so many different touch points, or ways that a prospect can experience a company's message or advertisement, it's important that the message they are exposed to be clear and consistent.

For instance, a prospect may see an ad on TV for a product, get a tweet about a sale, have a direct mail piece mailed to them, and receive an email newsletter on the company. All these pieces together should form one cohesive picture of the company. There should be no confusing or contradictory messages, and the same logo and design should be used throughout.

The most important point when constructing a marketing message is to start with a crystal clear communications objective. The company should have a clear positioning statement and their values should be integrated into all their marketing pieces. They should also ensure that all communications add value to the brand of the company. The messages should focus on the company's competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Another important aspect about marketing communications is that there should be a good mix of mediums used. The ability to have so many touch points is one of the benefits of doing business in the 21st century, and companies should use this to their advantage. The mix of marketing methods that can be used include:

Personal Selling
Direct Marketing
Public Relations
Trade Shows
Strategic Alliances
Internet Marketing

An integrated marketing communication plan should also be used during the different stages customers go through as they move through the buying process. Companies should determine which marketing method is the best way to engage them at each level. This includes their mental, emotional, and behavioral processes. Basically, marketers need to wrap the message around the customer's experience before, during, and after a purchase.

How a business decides which of these marketing methods to use depends on a company's budget, what their goals are, and who they're targeting. For instance, public relations and advertising works well on creating brand recognition and awareness of a company, but it's usually not as effective as personal selling at actually moving the prospect to purchase a product or service.

Of course, it also depends on whether the company is looking to move high or low involvement items. High involvement items are important purchases, things like a computer system, car, or a house. They require careful analysis before a purchase and usually require personal selling and limited advertising. Low involvement items however are much less risky, and therefore don't involve a lot of thought. These are things like a can of soda or a bag of chips. These types of purchases actually do well with a heavy mix of advertising and point of sale marketing.

At its core, marketing communications is about looking at your company through the eyes of your prospect. It's about seeing what they see, and eliciting a response, not just conducting a monologue. The power of the consumer, so evident in today's marketplace, is the true driving force of a company's marketing communications.