2.3 Marketing communications tools The marketing communications mix refers to the variety of tools available to implement the communications functions. The classifications of marketing communications tools vary indifferent sources. Blythe (2006, 40) discusses that each tool can be subdivided further, the list is not exhaustive, and the elements may overlap with other components of the marketing mix, such as distribution. Kotler et al. (2012, 777) presents the marketing communications mix as a combination of the following modes of communication advertising, sales promotion, events and experiences, public relations and publicity, direct marketing, interactive marketing, word-of-mouth marketing and personal selling. These modes can be grouped into non- personal and personal activities. Kotler et al. (2012) provides explicit explanation of each communication mode and give useful examples, therefore the further description of marketing communications tools will be based on the classification of modes of communications presented by the said book. 2.3.1 Non-personal communication tools Non- personal communication tools are focused on communications with more than one person and are carried out through some medium. This group includes advertising, sales promotions, events and experiences, and public relations. Interactive marketing is discussed in this paragraph, though in some cases this tool has the features of the personal communications. Advertising Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and communication of market offerings by an identified sponsor (Kotler et al. 2012, 810). Its usual aim is to
11 inform, persuade, and remind customers about particular products and services (Arens et al. 2011, 220). Kotler et al. (2012) add that advertising aims at reinforcing customers after purchase. Some tools of advertising are newspapers, radio, TV, print advertisements, brochures, posters, leaflets, and billboards. Media planners should make the choice by taking into consideration target customers media habits, product and message characteristics, and cost. For instance, television blends sight, sound and motion, has high reach, adverts can be repeated and may show the product in use. At the same time television advertising has high cost, lack of selectivity, audience tends to switch channel or leave the room during the commercial. Print media such as magazines give possibility for segmentation, are credible and tend to be kept for long periods for example in waiting rooms, but advertisements are static Blythe 2006). Advertising in newspapers has high believability, cover very well local market and have broad acceptance, but ads in newspapers are of short duration (Kotler et al. 2012, 818). Outdoor advertising allows communicating a concise message in the local language to amass audience quickly and frequently. It carries messages continuously and without interruptions at a reasonable cost. (Arens et al. 2011, 564). Nevertheless Blythe (2006) mentions such limitations as limited capacity, difficulties with segmentation and distractions due to traffic, noise and other factors which may make individual less receptive. Kotler et al. (2012) says that most of advertising tools allow the seller to repeat a message many times. Smith and Zook (2011, 308) conclude that advertising allows to deliver a message to a large audience quickly, helps target niche audiences and the message can be controlled. They emphasize that advertising is useful for creating awareness, preference and reassurance. At the same time, advertising can be costly, requires along lead time in case of change it is less interactive and messages can’t be personalized. Sales promotion Sales promotion is a wide range of activities intended to provide a short-term increase in sales they can be aimed at retailers, consumers and wholesalers with an intention to provide an extra incentive to buy or stock a specific product (Blythe 2006, 236). The
12 examples of sales promotions tools presented by Kotler et al. (2012) are samples, coupons, cash refund offers (for consumers, advertising and display allowances aimed at members of distribution channels, and tradeshows and sales contests (for business and sales force promotions. The specific objectives of these tools vary and among them are stimulation of consumer trials, reward of loyal customers, and increase of rebuy rates. Sales promotion can aim at motivating retailers to purchase new items, carry higher levels of inventory, and gain manufacturers access to new retail channels. New companies working in business to business markets may aim at attracting a target audience by means of sales promotions. To conclude, sales promotions have three unique features they gain attention and may lead the buyer to the product, include some incentive which gives value to the buyer and invite to make a purchase immediately (Kotler et al. 2012, 797). Smith and Zook (2011, 376) state that sales promotions help to close the sale, keep relationships with existing customers and support the brand. The drawbacks of sales promotion are that they require other tools to communicate them in some cases they can damage the brand and be expensive to implement.