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Selecting Marketing Communication Channels

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Selecting Marketing Communication Channels. The communicator must choose an efficient communication channel to convey the message. In many cases many different communication channels are required. For example, sales people for pharmaceutical companies rarely get 10 minutes from a busy doctor.

Their presentation should be short, fast, and convincing. This makes selling pharmaceutical products very expensive and the pharmaceutical industry has to strengthen various communication channels. This includes advertising in journals, sending direct mail (including video and audio tapes), giving out free samples, and even telephone marketing.

Pharmaceutical companies usually sponsor medical conferences that invite and pay large numbers of doctors to spend weekends listening to top doctors extol a particular drug in the morning and play golf or tennis in the afternoon.

The salesperson will arrange a teleconference where the doctors can discuss a problem together over the phone with an expert. The salespeople will sponsor group lunches and dinners with the doctors. 

All of these approaches are carried out to build doctors’ preference for a brand-name drug that is actually not much different from a generic drug.

Communication channels consist of two types, namely personal and non-personal. Within each there are many sub-channels:

1. Personal Communication

Channels Personal communication channels include two or more people who communicate directly with each other. They can communicate face to face, one person with an audience by telephone, or by mail.

Personal communication channels gain their effectiveness through opportunities to individualize presentation and feedback.

A clearer difference can be seen between personal communication using advocate, expert, and social channels. Support channels consist of salespeople contacting buyers in the target market.

The expert channel consists of independent experts providing statements to target buyers. Social channels consist of neighbors, friends, family members, and associations that speak to target buyers.

In a study of 7,000 consumers in seven European countries, 60% stated that they were influenced to use a new brand because of family and friends.

The strong influence

of word of mouth Many companies are increasingly recognizing the strong influence of “word of mouth” emanating from experts and social channels in creating new business. They look for ways to encourage channels to provide recommendations for their products and services.

For example, Regis McKenna advises a computer software company about launching a new product to promote it first to the press, opinion shapers, financial analysts, and others who can provide good word of mouth, then to dealers, and finally to consumers.

MCI attracted subscribers by launching the Friends and Family program, which encourages MCI users to ask their friends and family members to use MCI so that both parties will benefit from lower phone credit rates. 

Even some companies have started using this word of mouth theme in their advertising campaigns.

Personal influence will be very useful in two situations. The first situation is with products that are expensive, risky, or purchased infrequently. Here buyers generally seek a lot of information and look outside the mass media information to obtain recommendations from experts or social acquaintances.

The second situation is with products that suggest something about the status and tastes of their users. Here, buyers will consult others to avoid embarrassment. 

Companies can take several steps to use channels of personal influence to their advantage: 

a. Identify

influential individuals and companies and devote extra effort to them. In industrial sales, the entire industry will follow its market leader in innovating. Initial sales efforts should be focused on market leaders.

b. Creating

Opinion leaders by delivering products to certain people on attractive terms. A new tennis racket may be initially offered to members of the high school tennis team for a special low price to get them to “tell” the new racket to other students.

Or Toyota could offer satisfied customers a small gift if they would take calls from potential buyers.

c. Work with influential

people in the community such as local radio broadcasters, student senate leaders, and women’s organization leaders. When Ford introduced the Thunderbird, Ford invited executives to drive the vehicle for one day free of charge.

Of the 15,000 people who were given this opportunity, 10% said they would buy, while 84% said they would recommend it to their friends. 

d. Using influencers

In testimonial adverts. Quakers Oats paid Michael Jordan several million dollars to do a Gatorade commercial. Jordan is seen as a world-renowned athlete, so he is seen as worthy enough to advertise sports drinks as well as his uncanny ability to relate to consumers, especially children.

Interestingly enough, the same company also has an advertising model who was an employee of the company’s office until the Snapple ad brought it to the attention of the public.

Wendy Kaufman, better known as “The Snapple Woman” was originally recruited to answer overwhelming company letters, but when some groundbreaking commercials had her answering the letters on television, she was liked by viewers who knew her as a friendly and willing person. answer all questions asked.

e. Develop advertising that has conversational value.

Selecting Marketing Communication Channels. Advertisements with high conversational value often have a slogan which then becomes part of the national vernacular. In the mid-1980s, the Wendy’s campaign with the slogan “Where’s the beef” (showing an elderly woman named Clara asking where the hamburger is hidden in a bun) was highly conversational.

Recently, people have been talking about a commercial for Energizer batteries that says it “keeps going and going and going”. In addition, Nike’s advertisement “Just do it” has become a buzzword for those who are unable to make up their minds or take action.

Read too Products or services sold retailing in the market

f. Develop

word of mouth Referral channels to build business. Professionals often encourage their clients to recommend their services to others. Dentists, for example, could ask satisfied patients to recommend friends and acquaintances, then thank them for their recommendations.

g. Establish an electronic forum.

Toyota owners who use online services such as Prodigy or America Online can conduct online discussions to share experiences. Toyota employees can monitor the discussion and provide necessary feedback.

Selecting Marketing Communication Channels (foto/special)
Selecting Marketing Communication Channels (foto/special)

2. Nonpersonal Communication

Channels Nonpersonal communication channels convey messages without personal contact or interaction. But it is done through media, atmosphere, and events.

Media consists of print media (newspapers, magazines, direct mail), broadcast media (radio, television), electronic media (audio tapes, video tapes, video disks, CD-ROMs), and display media (billboards, billboards, posters ). Most of the non-personal messages come via paid media.

Atmosphere is the “packaged environment” that creates or reinforces a buyer’s inclination to buy a product. Thus, the law firm’s office is decorated with oriental rugs and wooden furniture to communicate “prosperity” and “success”.

A luxury hotel will use elegant chandeliers, marble columns, and other decorations that suggest luxury.

Events are occurrences designed to communicate a specific message to target customers. The public relations department holds press conferences, inauguration parties, and sponsors sports events to achieve a specific communicative effect on the target audience.

Difference between personal and mass

Selecting Marketing Communication Channels. communication Although personal selling communication is more effective than mass communication, the mass media is perhaps the main way to encourage personal communication. Mass communication influences personal attitudes and behavior through a process of two-way communication flows. 

Ideas often flow from radio, television, and print to opinion leaders and then to less active groups in society. This two-way communication flow has several implications.

1. First, the influence of the mass media on public opinion is not as direct, as strong, and automatic as expected. Rather, through opinion leaders, people whose opinions are required in one or more product categories.

Opinion leaders are closer to the mass media than to the people they influence. They carry messages to people who are less close to the mass media, and are able to expand the influence of the mass media.

They may carry altered messages or none at all, thus acting as gatekeepers.

2. Second, two-way communication flows contradict the notion that people’s consumption styles are primarily influenced by the “trickle down effect” of higher social status classes.

Instead, people primarily interact within their own social groups and derive their styles and other ideas from people like themselves who are opinion leaders.

3. Third, two-way communication means that mass communicators will be more efficient by directing their message specifically to opinion leaders and letting them carry the message to others.

Pharmaceutical company example

So pharmaceutical companies try to promote their new drugs to the most influential doctors first. The latter research shows that opinion leaders and the general public are influenced by mass communication.

Opinion leaders are triggered by the mass media to disseminate information, while the general public seeks information from opinion leaders.

Communication researchers are moving toward a social-structural approach to interpersonal communication. They see that society consists of cliques, namely small social groups whose members interact more often with one another than with other people.

Members of the clique share, and their familiarity facilitates effective communication, but also isolates the clique from new ideas. The challenge is to create more open systems that allow cliques to exchange information with other groups in society.

This openness is assisted by people who function as liaisons and bridges. A liaison is someone who links two or more cliques without being a member of any of them. A bridge is someone who belongs to one clique and relates to others in another clique.

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