In order for businesses to connect with consumers in such a saturated market today, there are a few tricks and tips that need to be applied. Standing out from the crowd can be difficult, but following the marketing strategy that will suit your business is key to ensuring you are making an impact and getting word out about your product or service. Marketing communications tools – advertising, PR, sales promotion, direct marketing, and social media – can be applied in any combination to achieve the desired results, depending on the nature of the business.
Advertising is one of the oldest and most tried and tested examples of marketing – yet also one of the most difficult to measure effectiveness. Originally print and billboard ads were plastered around and marketers hoped that consumers took notice. Paid ad strategies in magazines and newspapers helped further their message – especially by connecting the brand to the correct audience. But the advent of digital marketing and advertising online really brought the tool of marketing communication to fruition. Banner ads and PPC ads can be monitored and tracked, allowing marketers to know which sites they are placed on, and which consumer demographic is responding best to their ad – also, which kind of ad specifically is gaining the most traction. For example, a banner ad for Netflix appearing on websites that offer content based around film and TV would be most likely to attract those interested in the product.
Originally in the form of leaflets, which can still make an impact depending on the demographic – older people tend to prefer physical direct mail as opposed to digital – direct marketing has truly evolved. The growth of email marketing means that direct mail can be made a lot easier – for example males and females can be targeted on products targeted to their genders. Location demographics also help suggest more regional offerings. For example, a direct mail campaign around Christmas targeted at men and suggesting last minute gift ideas may work based on the idea that men are stereotypically worse at buying presents. If it was then localised with very specific stores or promotions, or even days out in the area, it would have a greater chance of landing a sale.
One masterful tool of marketing communications is through sales promotions. Everyone enjoys an offer and by suggesting them, consumers may be swayed to choose your brand over a competitor. Indeed, loyalty schemes offer a reason for consumers to choose your brand as they see the perceived greater value purchase. Then, return customer discount makes the consumer feel valued and incentivises for future purchases. For example, Oddschecker showcase a range of bingo sites that offer free games or added bonuses for the games, allowing consumers to choose the ones that might benefit them the most.
When sales messages get too saturated in the noise, brands have another option to make a different kind of noise about themselves – through PR. PR relies on an interesting, funny, shocking, or heart-warming story featuring the brand that is picked up by press and social media. PR can be valuable as stories can gain a great amount of traction for very little cost – and have a stronger brand message if it’s something that the consumer can resonate with. For example, the PR story of KFC creating a supposedly ‘clean eating’ burger made of cauliflower as a parody to showcase their actual burger worked extremely well.
Social media has developed into a world of its own and businesses across the globe are engaging with customers, other brands, financiers, suppliers – and just about everyone. In fact, 95% of consumers are likely to follow a brand or company they like on social media, while they spend 69% of their media time on smartphones, where brands can use digital strategies to connect with them. Brands that use Facebook and Twitter as informative tools to notify customers find that that is one of the reasons the account is followed. Brands should, therefore, be using social media and other methods of digital promotion to engage with their potential consumers.
Marketing communication tools work best when utilised together. For example, ads can be used to showcase sales promotions through social media, while PR can augment the various strategies and direct marketing can offer a personalised service to those who may have seen the other tool, to further incentivise consumers. A strong combination of all five works best.