Marketing Communications and Other Brand Communication Activities

The odd fact, is that as much as we all have been the targets of marketing communications for pretty much our entire lives, it’s but a select small percentage of the population who understand what it is and how it works. Those who have studied it, and make a living at it are called market communicators.

On the surface to the novice, it can all seem so simple. Marketing communications is simply communicating with potential clients or customers about whatever it is that you have to offer. The end goal of whatever it is that you’re communicating is to convert them from potential to actual clients and customers.

Look below the surface though and you’ll find that it has become an incredibly complex art/science and perhaps you may have already heard of subliminal advertising. This is a form of marketing communications that is done to transmit hidden messages to the public, and it can take a wide range of forms. Major corporations have been doing it for years.

Of course subliminal marketing communications is being done on the Internet as it has been on TV, and radio but one new genre of marketing communications confined exclusively to the Internet, is called mass interactive marketing communications. It’s been generating a huge buzz not only due to its effectiveness, but also because of the potential it holds.

The name interactive is the big giveaway that what it is, is actual two way interaction that allows the public to at least have the feel that they’re in actual communication with a marketer. Of course two way communications has been around ever since the first person filled his or her basket with something to sell, so in that respect it’s not a huge breakthrough.

What is a huge deal though, is that online interactive communications allows you to conduct simulated one on one communications with multitudes of people spread all over the globe, if that be the case. In fact you may have already ran across auto-responding emails and not even been aware of it. If they were professionally done that is.

Auto-responding email are a series of prewritten emails that are arranged to be sent out in a specific set order that ideally leads a person in a step by step fashion as close as possible to a sale or, “marketers end goal”. Now do keep in mind that this is nothing like spamming.

Rather well crafted auto-responding emails are produced and arranged in such as way that your recipient believes that they are “personally written” and sent. Preferably as a response to the last emails he or she sent. A four or five series of back and forth emails.

So the more one looks into marketing communications, the more fascinating it becomes, and as digital communications technology becomes more advanced, so too does this art/science. In the end though, it’s all is done for the same purpose, and that is to drive sales.

5 Ways To Determine If Your Online Marketing Community Is Good Enough For You

An online marketing community is where marketers belonging to the same company or group, interact with each other. It is also in this community that they share the same valuable facilities (training, marketing system, sponsorship and so on) to achieve their goals. Your community may be a MLM or an internet marketing education company.

However, they are all working towards creating the right conditions for you, as an affiliate, to succeed online. So, they must possess certain characteristics in order to help you through. I have briefly explained below five(5) qualities that I know a good community must have.

1. Leads Follow-up Support: A good online marketing community must provide leads follow-up support for you as a member. Imagine having one thousand(1000) leads in a day, you can’t single-handedly get in touch and interact with them effectively. This is where your community can help you convert those leads into sales. It (community) must have an online leads follow-up support system in place to put the contact calls through for you.

2. Internet Marketing Education: Your community must provide a consistent and workable internet marketing education for you. If you are a struggling marketer or just coming online, then you need good internet education to help you succeed. Unfortunately, many online marketing communities lack workable marketing education for their affiliates. As a result they are left with no option but to fight it out themselves. So, does your community provide you with this important tool? If your answer is no, then it is not good for your business.

3. Interactive Marketing Events: An interactive marketing event is one organised by your online marketing community for members to meet at a point for days. At this event, if you are a new member you can meet successful marketers in your community. Then you’ll have the opportunity to hear their experiences first hand and get a lot of motivation from them. So you see, marketing events pump new vigor into you. It also helps you to relate better with other members because you have met them in person. If you don’t have this in your community then I’m afraid you are missing a major aspect of your success online.

4. Online Marketing Set-up Team: You know, everybody comes into internet marketing with various degree of background. So you may not be comfortable with some parts of your online home business set-up. This is where your community intervenes to give you the technical help that will solve your marketing or account set-up constraints.

5. Internet Marketing Credibility And Mission: Your company must have a mission. It may be to create twenty(20) millionaires in the next five(5) years, or make five(5) thousand people self-employed. It is clear that if your company does not have any mission then it has no vision. It must also have a proven track record of success that distinguishes it from other online marketing communities.

Developing A New Nonprofit Marketing Communications Plan

With another unsettling economic year on top of us, it’s time again to begin developing or refining a new marketing and marketing communications strategy, budget and plan. If you’re fortunate enough to have achieved a good ROI from your current program, along with the data to substantiate the reasons, you’re in better shape than most.

For example, in the for profit arena, only eight percent of Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s) say they can determine the ROI of their social media efforts. And 93 percent of CMO’s say they’re under more pressure to deliver significant ROI.

A Changing Nonprofit Marketing Landscape

The Giving USA Annual Report presented the nonprofit community with some good news – giving increased by 7.1 percent in 2014 versus 2013 to $359 billion. Individuals again accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total, with foundations a distant second, at 15 percent.

And, interestingly, while arts/culture/humanities increased by 9.2 percent, and the environment/animals by 7 percent, international affairs declined by 2 percent for the third year in a row.

As individuals are leading this growth, the obvious question becomes how to continue this trend? Consumer demographics, income, expanded consumer promotion and politics will impact many marketing communications programs next year. Consider the following:

  • The two largest age groups, Millennials and Boomers, are very different. Millennials are cash strapped, unimpressed with brand names, and socially conscious; Boomers, on the other hand, are brand loyal and projected to account for about 70 percent of U.S. disposable income in 2017 (Quirk’s Market Research).
  • Asians and Hispanics will continue to become even larger and more potent portions of the US population. Many will be courted by nonprofits for the first time, representing a brand new audience (US Census Bureau, 2014 National Projections).
  • Median household income actually declined 8.7 percent between 1999 and 2013 to $51,939 (Census Bureau Current Population Survey). And, while many people care deeply about certain causes, how to dispose of those hard earned disposable dollars rules many spending and giving decisions.
  • At the same time, these consumers are being bombarded with the largest major media and marketing services expenditures in history — $406 billion is expected in 2015. That’s a staggering $1,262 per person (Zenith Optimedia)! Beyond the dollars, that’s a lot of clutter and competition.

The road ahead will be very different than previous years. And, with the onslaught of political advertising driving up prices and reducing media inventory, even greater emphasis must be placed on developing smarter marketing communications plans to deliver improved ROI.

Marketing Tactics To Consider Before Finalizing Your Plan

There are a number of important tactics that can be used to improve ROI as well as brand presence. I’ll focus on four:

  1. Like most managers, you probably think you understand what’s important to your donors, prospective donors, staff, volunteers and even your Board. But, do you really know what they believe about the organization? And, do they in turn understand your mission, or has “mission creep” expanded your core identity? Further, do they see their time and financial commitment rewarding and making a difference? That means employing market research to learn what’s really important and providing focus before committing to a marketing communications plan. It’s prudent, and fact trumps opinion.
  2. Consider conducting a marketing communications audit to determine when, where and how to invest your time and money. An audit will provide an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your existing program as a whole, as well as how each individual tactic does or does not meet your objectives. With this information, all of the elements of your program – subject matter, budget allocation, media mix, theming, graphics, tone and manner, new versus traditional media – can all be integrated into a holistic marketing communications program well before committing to the unknown. Look before you leap.
  3. Be sure you’re media neutral. Traditional media such as print, broadcast, direct mail, newsletter, events and public relations still remain important media tools. But, today, so do blogs, social media, online videos, webinars and more. All have value, but learning how to use them is vital. There must be an understanding of the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.
  4. Your anniversary, whether it’s your 5th, 33rd or 50th provides a unique opportunity to rekindle enthusiasm, and to galvanize all of your constituents to the relevant, important and needs of the organization. It gives you the chance to tell your story, not just your history but also your plans and goals for the future. Unify and focus everyone around a 12 – 18 month program to establish your vision.

Marketing Communications Consultants Or Internal Staff

If you’re like most nonprofit leaders, the majority of your time, talent and training is devoted to your passion for the programs and services you provide. The same is probably true of your most committed volunteers, staff and Board members.

Given that, does your organization have the marketing and marketing communications talent and background to develop the strategies, budgets, plans and tactics that are necessary to help you succeed in today’s environment?

If not, consider partnering with established, media neutral, senior level professionals to help your team formulate, refine and, if necessary, implement your programs. Look for people with experience in both nonprofit and for profit arenas, with extensive experience across brands and industries, as well as a willingness to “tell it like it is”, so that candor will flourish.

Most probably, the near future will present nonprofit marketers with a rocky road to travel. Hopefully, some of these thoughts will help, but also remember what Mark Twain said – “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”.

Marketing Communication – The 6 Primary Forms of Marketing Communication You Can Employ to Promote

Marketing and Promotion can occur through various avenues. Creativity not withstanding, all marketing and promotion can be categorized in 1 of 6 primary forms.

These 6 primary forms of marketing communication are as follows:

1. Media

Media marketing communication refers to any traditional mass distribution broadcast or publication with a large volume of viewers, listeners, or viewership. Television, Radio, , Internet Banner Ads, Magazines, Newspapers, Billboards, etc are all forms of traditional media marketing.

A more recent addition to this type of marketing communication is the webinars and social networking sites on the internet.

Regarding up front costs, media marketing communication tends to be the most expensive type of marketing. This is due to the value related to the mass volume. The back end reward is that because of the volume, the actual cost per lead can be less if a high volume responds to the marketing effort. So, the trade off is that it may cost more up front but can produce more leads by volume.

2. Mail

Mail is an equally popular method of marketing communication. Whether it is direct and independent or bundled in a mass mailing, millions of marketing message are sent by mail daily. Distributing marketing messages by mail is difficult, though. It is so easy for the message to simply hit the trash.

Ideally, if marketing communication is performed by mail, it should be to a targeted list. A target list is list of subscribers who indicated an interest for a particular product or service. Since mail is paid per unit delivery, it is more cost effective to mail to individuals who expressed interest or who have demonstrated interest by previous consumption.

3. Telephone

The telephone is another obvious form of marketing communication. Whether there is a live human dialing you or if contact is accomplished by an auto-dialer, the telephone can be an efficient way to contact a large amount of people in a short period of time. The telephone, due to the number prefixes, also, allowed for targeting specific geographical areas. Limitations with the phone, however, include the requirement that someone answer, or have voice mail, and short duration of exposure to message. Additionally, legalities must be considered due to the “do not call” list which allows numbers to be opted out from direct marketing.

4. Electronic

Electronic marketing communication is best know by fax or email. These are very cost efficient mediums with email marketing being near infinite return on investment when successful due to the negligible cost associated. Also, the available message space is virtually infinite, as well.

Another rising form of electronic marketing communication is SMS and MMS through the mobile phones. These are otherwise known as text or picture messaging. Systems are available now that can mass text to multiple mobile numbers at once, or allow consumers to text in a particular message to a 5 digit number in order to receive a pre-formatted message. This is usually associated with contests for sufficient enticement.

The issues with electronic marketing communication, quite similar to mail and telephone, is that you must build a list of names and associated email addresses, or numbers, in order to market in volume.

5. Direct Contact

Marketing communication by direct contact is less efficient unless talking to groups. And, even then, it is usually limited to a very finite number. This is in stark contrast to the other forms of marketing mentioned above.

Additionally, direct contact can be a more aggressive, or assertive form of marketing and requires a special verbal communication skill set. If direct communication is not handled correctly, prospects can be easily alienated.

The underlying theme to direct contact is that efforts must be made to determine the interests of the consumers and to tailor solutions which accommodate their needs and interests, versus the needs of the marketer.

This is true for all forms of marketing, but especially poignant and noticeable with direct contact.

6. Referral

This final form of marketing communication is very strong and highly effective. It relies on the testimony of previously satisfied consumers to market. It is really marketing based upon strength in relationships. It has been reported that it is 6 times easier to market to someone where a relationship has already been established than to a new contact.

Referral based marketing communication is the truest form of flattery or complement that a business can receive as it reflects upon the genuine acceptance, appreciation, and approval of an established relationship. Theoretically, as a quality business grows, referral marketing of satisfied consumers can be a perpetual source of new clientele.

A key concept to remember when employing any form of marketing communication is that studies show that it typically takes an average of 7-9 exposures to a message before a consumer will respond to an offer. This means that your budget should take this into consideration when deciding on a particular form of marketing communication.

A second key concept is that you have to do split testing and statistical analysis to objectively determine which marketing messages, and marketing communication avenues, are producing.