Marketing, Word-of-Mouth, Buzz & Viral Communication
Integrated marketing communication, multichannel promotional strategies, and word-of-mouth communication.
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is a strategic process used by marketers intended to deliver brand communication programs to target consumers over time. This process involves planning, development, execution, and evaluation of the programs. IMCs are typically large scale multichannel promotional strategies. The multichannel strategy involves combining traditional advertising, sales promotions, and public relations activities, along with online marketing approaches. Despite the many different channels for marketing communication, word-of-mouth is still one of the most important channels. This importance is based on the fact that individual consumers discuss products with one another and this is often the basis for trying or choosing not to try new products.
The traditional communication model.
The traditional communication model is referred to as the one-to-many model. This model is simply the focus of advertising of one marketer towards many consumers such as a social media ad or television commercial.
Elements of the promotion mix and how they are used to deliver personal and mass appeals.
The promotion mix is the communication elements that marketers control. According to Solomon, Marshall, and Stuart (2011) the elements of the promotion mix include:
• Sales promotion
• Public relations
• Personal selling
• Direct marketing
The elements of the mix are used to deliver personal and mass appeals by combining to form a consistent message about the brand. For instance, car salesman for Toyota will convey the message of quality concerning the company brand. At the same time, commercials on TV will convey the same message. In this way the personal marketing approach and the direct marketing approach are combined to convey the marketing message.
The many-to-many communication model.
The many-to-many communication model refers to the large amount of communication that takes place between consumers. This model has been expanded beyond just word-of-mouth to include social media. For example, posting likes on Facebook provides a form of advertising concerning a product or service.
Buzz and how marketers practice buzz building.
Buzz is word-of-mouth marketing that customers believe is authentic. Marketers practice buzz marketing by trying to enhance specific attributes of products in order for audiences to find interest and authenticity in the product. Using social media allows customers to engage the products such as posting comments and ideas concerning the product. This can create buzz although not always positive.
Viral marketing and how marketers use brand ambassadors or brand evangelists.
Viral marketing is a means of buzz building that is focused on creating consumer interest that becomes exponential. Consumers begin taking so much interest in the product that it is passed from one social media platform to the next as well as by traditional-word-of-mouth. In most instances marketers must use ambassador or brand evangelists to create buzz. Brand ambassadors or brand evangelists are typically loyal customers who have an almost obsessive interest in the product or company. These individuals will promote the product via word of mouth to the correct target consumers since they understand the product and desire for it to succeed.
Social media, social networks.
Social media is internet content that is driven by an interaction by the content provider and the interactions between users. Social networks are among the largest of social media platforms. These networks are designed to allow users to interact with one another and to post information concerning a variety of topics. Many platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are personal social media platforms that are intended to be a form of communication between users. Users of these platforms form personal networks among friends. Along with Facebook and Twitter there are other social media platforms such as virtual worlds. There are many virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft where people communicate and discuss a variety of topics including products. Social media can take the form of review sites which are simply sites geared for the purpose of product and service reviews. There are many mobile applications for social media that take into account the volume of consumers using smartphones. Instagram is mainly a mobile picture sharing application intended for this purpose. One of the more recent advancements in social media has been the geospatial platform that allow individuals find friends and locate products and services through GPS integrated with social media.
Hierarchy of effects and communication objectives.
The hierarchy of effects is a series of steps consumers experience from initial product awareness to brand loyalty. Understanding this process allows marketers to apply different marketing tactics at different stages of the process to solidify sales. For example, in the Awareness stage marketers use repetitive advertising and publicity to increase product awareness.
Major ways firms develop marketing communication budgets.
According to Solomon, Marshall, and Stuart (2011) there are three elements to setting a marketing communication budget:
1. Determine the total communication budget. 2. Decide whether to use a push strategy or a pull strategy. 3. Allocate spending to specific promotion activities.
Each of these elements will help determine what form of communication is needed and what the limits (monetary) are with delivering the communication.
Push versus pull strategies and stages of the product life cycle.
In order to get a product or service into the market, two different promotional strategies could be used — the promotional push strategy or the promotional pull strategy. The difference between the two strategies is that the promotional push strategy takes the product to the customer and the promotional pull strategy involves encouraging the customer to come to you, actively seeking your product out. One important aspect of these strategies is that they can be useful at different stages of the product life cycle.
Just one example of a promotional push strategy that could be used by a business would be sending agents out to negotiate with retailers to stock the product on their shelves. The push strategy is a more focused strategy, ensuring that the desired customers of the target retail outlets become aware of the brand or product at the point of purchase and also where they will be able to purchase more. For example, if you have a small camping company making sleeping bags, the retailers to target would be outdoor stores and the customers of those stores. This form of strategy works well in the first stages of the product life cycle.
A very common example of a promotional pull strategy to get the customer to the company’s brand or product is through advertising and promotion through the media to the public. This strategy is good in the beginning of the product life cycle but is very important when sales have peaked and marketers desire to maximize sales during this stage of the product.
Solomon, M.; Marshall, G.; Stuart, E. Marketing: Real People,Real Choices. Textbook. 7th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. 2011. ISBN 978–0–13–217684–2