Before you begin any marketing communications strategy, it is best that you first begin with a plan that includes an analysis of each of the five factors of marketing communications and how they will be part of your strategy.
You can look at these five factors as your blueprint for marketing communications success. Without understanding and implementing them, you are diminishing your chances of a focused and successful marketing campaign. The five important factors of marketing communications are, persuasion, goal directed, contact points, stakeholders, and message. Read on for an explanation of each one of these factors.
Persuasion is the most commonly known of the five factors of marketing communications as it is the main reason companies engage in marketing: to persuade their target audience to take action by buying their product or subscribing to their services or making a phone call or donating money. When Coca-Cola airs it’s television commercials, or runs its print ads, it has one goal in mind and that is to persuade the target audience that coke is the refreshing cola that brings the world together, so drink Coke!
It is important to note here that while the term persuasion may have a negative connotation to some marketers, and especially, the target audience, marketers tend to prefer the term influence over persuade. In either case, the ultimate goal is to get your target audience to take action.
All marketing communication is goal oriented, so you need an objective when you set out to create your marketing communication strategy. Can you imagine trying to take a trip across country with no clear plan or objective on where to go or what to do? You will find a similar feeling of wandering if you do the same thing with your marketing communications strategy; you need to know what it is you are trying to accomplish.
One question you should ask yourself before you begin your strategy is, “What is the outcome I expect from my marketing communication?” Typically, your objective is to sell your product, deliver information, or build brand awareness, but by asking this question, and answering it, you will begin to formulate your objective in more depth.
Every successful marketing communications plan requires the management of the marketing message at every contact point. Contact points are any marketing messages that are received by the target audience. In other words, they are the vehicles that distribute your marketing message that can be planned or unplanned. Planned contact points include advertisement, brochures, business cards, websites, or packaging. Unplanned contact points can include store layouts, the cleanliness of a store, and employee attitudes.
In order to effectively persuade your target audience to buy your product or service, you must successfully manage all of your contact points to ensure that they are in line with your planned brand message. While managing printed or online marketing materials can be easily controlled, it is the unplanned contact points that can prove to be a challenge. Developing a strategy for controlling the unplanned contact points is critical to your success.
Stakeholders (Opinion Leaders/Opinion Influencers)
Stakeholders, also referred to as Opinion Leaders and Influencers in marketing communications, are those individuals or groups that can influence the purchase of products and services as well as the success of a company. Stakeholders can be employees, distributors, and the media. Most companies find the group topping the stakeholders list are their own employees. The reason is that if you take care of your employees, then they will yield better customer service and a better in-store experience for the target audience. While stakeholders are not necessarily part of your planned message, they are significant enough as an unplanned conveyor of your marketing message so as to be considered in your marketing communications planning.
Messages are the basis of your marketing communications strategy and a variety of tools are used in order to deliver your marketing message. Some planned marketing message tools include:
- Printed or online advertising
- Marketing Collateral such as brochures or annual reports
- Sales promotions
- Public relations
- Direct marketing
- Personal selling
- O.P. (Point of purchase) displays
Samples of unplanned messages would include all other communications: store cleanliness, distributors, employee attitudes, and even the exterior surroundings of your business.
The five important factors of marketing communications must be followed if you are striving for success in your marketing communications plan and strategy. The marketing message not only includes planned messages such as advertising or direct mail campaigns, but also unplanned messages which can include employees or the physical appearance of your businesses exterior; Any potential message whether planned or unplanned, directly affects your business and should be carefully planned to insure success. Finally, the main objective and the most important of the five factors of marketing communications is persuasion or influence as your main objective is to get your target audience to take action.