Marketing is no longer limited to designing a smart advertisement or using a catchy jingle that will be on the consumers mind for days. Having a complete understanding of the needs and requirements of the consumers is essential. Thus consumer behavior mainly comprises of the study of the basis upon which customers make decisions, their buying patterns, the thought process behind each purchase and the need for the product in the first place. It is imperative to have a complete understanding of this consumer behavior pattern as it helps in identification of potential customers and their reactions upon being introduced to new products and services. It also provides an organization with insight upon the services/ products that need to be added or eliminated if they are not achieving the needs of the consumers. There are three main factors that help to understand the concept of the consumer’s behavior. These comprise of the psychological factors, the personal factors and the social factors (Fitchett & Caruana, 2014).
Psychological Factors comprise of the perception of the individual’s ability to make decisions. Each individual will have a different response to an advertisement or a message. Hence it is essential to keep in mind these factors while creating advertisements so that a maximum segment of consumers can be attracted.
Personal Factors comprise of the decision making abilities of individuals, their interests and habits. These personal factors can be influenced by the age of the consumer, the gender, culture and their background.
Social Factors: it comprises of the social influences on the individuals family, their interactions and the general interaction with the society. It stresses upon the social class of the consumer to understand the income patterns, the condition of living and the education. Understanding these patterns help in analyzing the buying patterns of the consumers and how they make decisions.
Social media, advent of new technology and growth of the market has changed the way the marketing of an organization functions and carry’s forth their business. Thus demanding a need for transparency. Thus the IAE or the Institute for Advertising Ethics was developed so that it could develop content that follows all the ethics pertaining to advertising and communication with the consumers (O'Barr, 2007). Ethics and advertising are vital components of a marketing strategy as they need to ensure that they do not offend the personal spaces of consumers. There are 8 principles upon which communication needs to be done so that the best interest of consumers is maintained. They are as follows:
There is a common objective of having high standards in ethics while dealing with the consumers. Hence whole advertising it is imperative that ethics are maintained.
All industry personnel should be trained about the importance of ethical advertising.
The advertisers need to know the differences that exist between PR and communicating corporately from communication meant for entertainment purpose.
All conditions that comprise of payments and free products that could have an impact upon the endorsements should be clear.
All the consumers should be treated in a fair and just manner. Care must be marinated while making advertisements targeting children and audiences that are vulnerable in nature so that they are not mislead.
Personal privacy of consumers should not be comprised upon at any cost.
All federal, state and local laws pertaining to advertising should be followed.
All ethical concerns should be discussed at all times so that no ethical dilemma is present.
Planning/objectives settings in IMC
Advertising objectives are given attention as they are the main way organizations can effectively communicate with their targeted consumers. The promotional mix comprises of sales promotions, strategies, direct marketing and PR so that an advertising program can be supported from all ends. An outside in planning process is used by the IMC where the starting point is the consumer and the plan works in a backward manner (Sheehan, 2011). The promotion planners analyze the consumers and the usage thus deciding the time where the advertising will have the most desired effect upon the customers. IMC that is effective should comprise of marketing communication that first dress the most pressing problem of the organization, the opportunities that are present and then make use of a promotional mix that identifies the strength of the organizations communication methods. Hence objectives have a pivotal role to play in the development process of the IMC in an organization (Finne & Grönroos, 2017).
An organization makes use of a marketing strategy so that it can reach out to possible consumers and customers so that they can be turned into customers for the products that the company has to offer to them. There are several components of a marketing strategy, it comprises of the value proposition of the organization, the main messages for marketing, data and information pertaining to the customers that are targeted and the plan for implementation. The marketing plan is a pivotal document that helps in understanding the implementation phases of the various marketing activities that are to take place. Ideally a marketing strategy of an organization needs to have a long lifespan in comparison to a single marketing plan because the company’s value proposition and the brand imaging takes place. The value proposition of an organization has a key role to play in the life span of the marketing strategy that is being implemented by the company. An organization never develops a strategy from scratch instead they base it around value proportion and develop its subsidiaries (Armstrong, Kotler & Opresnik, 2017). Defining the value proposition of the organization is the most difficult part once it has been done market research is further added to setting a marketing strategy.
Public Relations are a very vital component of marketing. It is used mainly to enhance the brand image of an organization along with promotion of the services and products the company has to offer. Implementation of public relations in an appropriate manner is one of the most essential parts of a marketing plan that is effective in nature. The promotional strategy of an organization is largely dependent upon the PR or the public relation strategy that is employed by the organization. It needs to be planned. Well in time so that it can be effective as the sales campaign of an organization (Oliver, 2010). It is looked as one of the most powerful tools of communication when it comes to marketing. Public relations strategy is a cost effective method for conducting promotional activities of an organization and in several cases this method can be completely free of cost. Some examples of successful implementation of public relations are the Body Shop, Marks & Spencer and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. These organizations have strengthened their brand name through effective public relations for promotion of their new products and services. Good public relations require communicating the appropriate information through the following:
Launching of new products and services.
Repositioning of products and the services that are offered.
Creating an interest in the products and services that are being given.
Creating an influence over a specific targeted audience.
Defending services that have received a negative feedback in the market.
Improving and strengthening the brand image of the company
These methods help in generation of revenue due to the enhancement in the awareness levels of the products and services that are being offered.
Direct marketing/ personal selling
Personal selling and direct marketing are methods that are closely associated to one another as they both comprise of having a direct relationship of contact with the consumer rather than being dependent on products to be sold from shops or retail outlets. However each of these methods do have some differences in them as one makes use of a salesman method while the other is more focused on the concept of sealing the deal (Rodriguez, L. Dixon & W. Peltier, 2014). Personal selling is where the salesman develops relationships with the consumers and utilizes his or her skills to close the deal for products that cannot be sold from retail stores. Communication is an intrinsic component of personal selling as it’s completely upon the negotiation skills of the salesman to close the sale. While direct marketing on the other hand comprises of having representatives of a particular brand to promote their products directly to the customers and forgoing the middle man that is the retailer. This directly targets the consumers and a large number of organizations make use of this method to gain a hike in their sales. The methods that are commonly used by them comprise of sending emails, messages and invitations through various social media platforms. Telemarketing is one of the most common methods that are a part of direct selling method. It is very effective and can also be offensive if the rights of privacy of the consumer are invaded ("What is the difference between Sales (Personal selling) and Direct marketing? - THE ABC'S OF MARKETING", 2017). The most common difference between the two methods of sale is that personal selling is used mainly for products that are complex and cannot be sold through retail chains while direct marketing has an aggressive approach.
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