Modern marketing goes beyond development of a competitive product, attractive pricing and ensuring availability of a product to its consumer. Ace Grace Care Home has to ensure effective and efficient communication with its current and potential customers for them to get information on the kind of goods or services they are providing and these helps them to know if their customers are getting the satisfaction that they need. Communication marketing mix helps to explain the various techniques a firm can use in all its activities of making goods or services available and known in the market by the consumers. Marketing mix can be clearly defined using the 4Ps namely product/services, place, price and promotion. In order to ensure effective communication the firm need to consider various factors such as the cost channel of communication, size of the market, market concentration and customer need of information.
Q1. The 4P’s of marketing mix
These are the main element of marketing communication mix they include-
Product- the goods or services produced by a company should be adequate and capable of drawing attention of the potential customers. Therefore, the marketer need to know what the customers want and if the goods or the services will meet his needs. It is also important to know how the customer is going to benefit from the goods and services. It’s also important to pack the goods into different size that the customer can afford, the colour of the product should also be attractive so that it can draw the attention of the customers.
Place- the marketer should be able to establish the place where their potential customers can find their goods or services and how to get the best distribution channel. The company needs to know how their competitors are doing and how to deal with them so that they can make their product to outstand others
Price- a company aim at maximizing profit but it has to ensure that the customers get the goods and services at affordable prices, the marketer need to know how sensitive their customer are to the prices of the goods or services. They should also know the amount of discount they can offer to their and also compare their prices with those of their competitors in order to avoid over changing or under charging. Prices need to be set carefully so as to benefit the company and ensure that the company makes profits in the short run and they are also able to maintain customers in the long run
Promotion- this is a process of delivering the information of the company’s goods or services to the potential customers and creates awareness of their brands. It is advisable for the marketers to select the best channel of advertisement that is suitable for the efficient and cost effective. The marketers should also be able to establish the best time to advertise and how their competitors carry out their advertisement.
There is another approach of marketing mix from the buyer’s perspective; it includes:
Customers- the marketer should know the needs of the customers and these will help them to know which product or services they should produce.
Cost-this is the cost the customer incur in order to satisfy their needs
Convenience- this looks at the aspect of availability of the goods or services to customers.
Communication- the marketer need to establish a two way channel of communication for them to be getting feedbacks from customers concerning the goods and services that they provide.
Size of the market- The size of the market is one of the major factors that Ace Grace Care Home needs to put into consideration. In the case where the market is small with few potential buyers, it will be effective for the company to use personal selling since it will help in cost saving. However, if the market is large geographically with large records of prospective customers it would be advisable for the company to use advertisement as a way of communicating since it will be able to reach a large number of people within a short period of time simultaneously in cases where mass media is used as the channel of advertising.
Need of information by customers- It is of great importance to provide customers with information regarding the products or services the company is providing. Most potential customers will require detailed information to help them in making decision on whether to buy or not. The Ace Grace Care Home will be required to use personal selling method so as to provide detailed information to its potential customers regarding the kind of services they provide; this is because they provide technical services.
Availability of resources and cost-This is the major factor that any oraganisation should put in place while deciding on the communication mix to use. The total cost of communication campaign will be used to establish the method that the company will afford and implement.
Product life cycle-When the company is in the initial stage the use of advertisement as well as public relation is essential since it creates high awareness to the potential customers. At growth level, advertisement as well as public relation becomes powerful influential but sales promotion declines due to fewer incentives required. At maturity level, personal selling becomes essential than advertising, this is because the customers knows the product and thus advertisement is used for updating them of the product. At the decline level, advertisement is reduced, public relation abandoned and personal selling is very low.
Method of product market- This process of allocation of communication mix depends on either consumers or the markets. For instance the consumer marketer heavily depends on personal selling and advertising, while business marketer rely more on sales promotion. Generally, sales personnel are commonly used for those goods and services that are complex, highly expensive as well as risky. Thus it would be advisable for Ace Grace Care Home to use personal selling since the services they provide are complex and they need to provide detailed information to the potential customers. However, they also need to advertise its services so that they can provide an introduction of their services. Advertisement will also provide information of any new features of their services and incase the advert is in form of a brochure carrying with it firms contact will be an efficient way of creating ways for the sales personnel. Finally advertisement will help to remind the customer and keep them aware that company has the goods or services and it’s willing to deliver them on demand.
Buyer readiness- Communication mix depends on cost effectiveness which varies depending on the level of the buyer. In the first stage of creating awareness it is advisable to use advertisement since it can reach a large number of people within a very short period of time. At the level of customer comprehension, the company can use advertisement as well as personal selling. When the customer reaches conviction level its wise to use personal selling since they have the ability to convince. At the closing stage, sales are highly stimulated through personal selling. The reordering stage is influenced largely by personal selling as well as product promotion.
Rank of the firm in the market- The communicator of Ace Grace Care Home need to know their effect on the potential and targeted customers. This can be done by carrying out a research and find out if the targeted customers recognizes or can remember the advert message, establish the number of times they do come across the message and also try to find out their perception towards the message. The communicator should also collect information about the customer’s responses by recording the number of people who purchased the goods or services, liked them or informed others about the product.
Q2. Developing efficient communication campaign
There are various stages that every company should adopt for it to develop an effective communication mix. The stages are discussed below.
Establishing the objective of communication-The company should set the main goals of communication. For instance the main objectives of Ace Grace Care Home would be-
a) To establish the services need in order to remove perceived discrepancies.
b) To create services awareness to the potential customers especially those who have elderly people at home. This helps to create recognition of the services being provided by the company.
c) To evaluate the ability of the company in meeting the current need in the market. For example since the population of the elderly is increasing greatly and the demand for providing their care is high, the company should carry out a sample survey and find out whether or not they are meeting the needs of their customers, this will help them to improve on the areas in which they have weakness.
d) To find out the intention of the customers who uses their services. This will help the company to know if the customers use the services because they need them or it’s out of influence.
Planning the message- An efficient message must draw attention, get the interest, create desire and make the customer to take the action of purchasing the goods or using the services. Therefore, the communicator should make a wise decision on what or how to express the message. The marketer of Ace Grace Care Home should win the attention, create awareness, gain interest, inspire desire and also precipitate the act of purchase so as to make their services adopted by their potential customers. There are various factors that should be put into consideration when designing a message, they include;
Message content- the sender has to put into consideration the appeal that will give the required response. The rational appeal relates to the customer’s self interest, this is where the marketer needs to provide the information on quality, performance, economy and the value of the product. The emotional appeal triggers their harmful or positive feelings that affect purchase. However, the moral appeal is based on the customer’s view of what seems to be right or wrong; they are commonly used to motivate people to encourage social development.
Message structure- in order to make a message effective it is essential for the communicator to structure his message well especially the conclusion should be oriented towards the potential customer. The communicator should also decide whether the message should be argumented one side or two sides. Lastly the sender should be able to present the strong points first in order to draw much attention.
Message format- this is where the communicator design the format, headlines and the colour that he is going to use on his message. For instance if the advert is to be made through the radio, the sender must select the best words, suitable quality of voice and the vocals. In the case of Ace Grace Care Home the sound should be the one that carries a lot of care with it so that it can be able to get the attention of the old people.
Select a suitable media-There are mainly two major channels of communication; direct and indirect. Direct channel is a channel that involves personal contact which may be through face to face, telephone, mail or chatting over the internet. This is the most suitable method for use by Ace Grace Care home since persons can get immediate feedback and it’s the best method for services that require more attention (Glen 1999).Indirect channel are non personal channels such as the media which include; newspaper, magazines, radio, television, video tape, billboards, signs, hoarding and posters.
Chosing the source of the message-When a message is delivered by a good reputable source they tend to be more persuasive. It is thus important for the marketer to use celebrity who are known and are liked or admired by other people such as athletes, actors or musician. In this company we can use for instance the retired doctors or musicians.
Collecting feedback-This is a process that is conducted after the message had been sent in order to find out how it has affected the potential customers. It can be conducted with a questionnaire and it tries to find out whether the potential customers recall the message and the number of times they came across it. This will also help the sender to know the impact of the message on whether people are using their services, informed others or they visited the company.
Tools for marketing communication
Advertising-Ace Grace Care Home should advertise their services in order to build a strong image which is long term in nature. This can be through the newspapers or TV. The benefits of using these tools are that they can be able to reach a large number of people and within a very short time. They are also repetitive and thus they tent to stick.
to the minds of the potential customers and they get to know where they can get the services
Personal selling- it’s the most efficient tool for Ace Grace Care Home since it has personal interaction and the seller is able to get immediate response from the customer. Since this company is dealing with provision of care to people directly, this tool tend to be the most convenient since they can be able to explain clearly to their potential customer on how they handle their client and they can be able to get immediate feedback from their customers.
Public relation- it is a management action that identifies, creates as well as maintaining a good relationship between the company and the society, this tool considers a wide range of customers unlike advertisement which is only one way. Publicity is advantageous to the company since it’s free and thus no cost to the business, it’s also more credible and it can get buyers when they are off guard especially those who avoid sales persons. It’s therefore important that the company set a good image so that it can be able to get attention of the public.
Q3. Benefits of integrated marketing communication
Integrated marketing communication is a process where the company put together and coordinate the various communication channels in order to ensure that the message delivered about the company or its brand is clear, consistence as well as compelling. Integrated marketing communication create a well-built brand identity by putting together and underpinning company’s images with messages. The company would go for integrated marketing communication since there are so many conflicting messages or promotion approaches from various sources which would cause confusion of company or its brand images, and also using only one method would limit brand awareness. The following are the benefit
a) It improves customer’s attitude as well as behavior due to improvement and consistent usage of the services.
b) It enhances more effective choice of media and mixes and it helps to deploy communication discipline.
c) It facilitate evaluation and improve learning within the brand managements
d) It facilitates efficient business processes thus increasing the value added.
e) It improves employee’s morale, cohesion, creativity and work rate.
f) It helps to cut down internal fragmentation as well as costs.
g) It’s a cost saving method.
h) It also helps to create competitive advantage, increase sales and returns and at the same time saves money and time.
This method boosts profit as a result of high effectiveness, this is because a unified advert has a greater impact than a disorderly one, thus there is need to have a consistent, consolidated as well as clear message to be able to outstand other advert from their competitors.
Integrated marketing communication helps to save cost since it avoid duplication of graphics or photography because they can be used simultaneously. A company cost is reduced through the use of one agency to pass all the messages.
Communication marketing mix helps to explain the various techniques a firm can use in all its activities of making goods or services available and known in the market by the consumers. Marketing mix can be clearly defined using the 4Ps namely product/services, place, price and promotion.
Integrated marketing communication creates a well-built brand identity by putting together and underpinning company’s images with messages. The company would go for integrated marketing communication since there are so many conflicting messages or promotion approaches from various sources which would cause confusion of company or its brand images, and also using only one method would limit brand awareness.