Write a Report on Integrated Marketing Communications.
Marketing communication is the process in which company adopts different communication tools and techniques to spread information from one place to another place. In contemporary scenario, all the business entities are focusing on diverse methodologies (Armstrong, Kotler, Harker, & Brennan, 2015). Hence, it can be said that marketing communication is a complex procedure that aids the business entity to communicate a message with the customers regarding the availability of products and services.
The present research study has been made on Woolworths which operates business as a retail entity in Australia. Further, in the study discussion has been included regarding the importance of marketing communication in IMC. Along with this, theoretical communication model is also discussed which helps the business entity in managing suitable communication among business and customers. Along with this, the researcher has the also discussed several strategies that can enhance communication capability of Woolworths. Lastly, in the study, recommendations are being stated to meet contemporary needs of the customers.
Findings And Discussion
Theoretical communication model
Communication strategy holds huge value in transferring information from one person to another; hence to specify the attributes, theoretical a model is being stated which is being proposed by Belch et al. in the year 2014. The theory states that use of modern tools and techniques are increasing at a faster rate which also aids in sharing and communicating information (Belch & Belch, 2014). The Internet is considered as the primary source that aids that the business entities to grab the attention of a larger number of customers towards existing products and services. Several external agencies are working in this domain wherein they play a crucial role in formulating effective strategies for the business in the area of communication.
Along with this, use of external tools is also amending to transfer information to different customers at a time. This also showcases the importance of elements of promotional mix (Blakeman, 2014). Strategies such as direct marketing, personal selling, sales promotions and development of public relations aids the organizations to sustain in competitive market for longer span. Proper sharing of information helps the business entity to acquire greater market share and alongside it also contributes in meeting defined aim and objectives.
Advertising is essential in attracting larger number of customers and it is also useful in generating awareness among customers regarding the availability of products and services. At the same time, it also includes the importance of direct marketing which immediately changes the purchase decision of customers (Belch G. E., Belch, Kerr, & Powell, 2014). According to positive perception, purchase of product takes place. Moreover, sales promotion is yet another technique that is used to promote the products and also to encourage the customers to buy the product. Company also provides discounts and schemes to the customers so that to amend the ratio of sales and also to enhance the profitability ratio. In emerging market, organizations are focusing on building effective relations with the customers for the purpose of becoming highly customer oriented.
Thus, considering the same, companies are emphasizing on developing strong public relations to satisfy the customers and also to retain them for longer time period. This not only facilitates repeat purchase, but also it leads to create competitive edge over the rivalries. Therefore, summing up it is evident that communication strategy of every business entity is different; however the tools are quite similar to use (Blakeman, 2014). Communication strategy states that advertising and promotional mediums are useful in terms of sharing information among customers in the best possible manner.
Prior communicating information among the customers, it is essential for the business entity to show greater consideration towards the use of marketing channel. This will aid in communicating the message abruptly among the customers. At the same time, it can also work in enhancing customer base. To operate the business successfully in the market place, it is crucial for the organization to define communication objectives (Luxton, Reid, & Mavondo, 2015). This can also aid in adopting suitable standards to attain organizational goals. In addition to this, the budget is vital to be developed so that resource allocation process can be managed in an optimum manner. Integrated marketing communication shows a link between promotional strategies and elements of the marketing mix; hence appropriate strategies should be utilized in the form of advertising the products and services (Thorson & Moore, 2013). Hence, this can also enhance the performance of the business entity in external competitive market place.
Analysis And Evaluation
Importance of understanding communication in IMC
Communication plays most important role in the organization as it is direct influences the purchase behavior of the target market and in turn, allows business to accomplish desired goals and objectives (Carroll, 2015). Further, it is one of the ultimate purposes of every company to communicate business information with its target market in an efficient manner with the motive to strengthen customer base. In short, without communication, the concept of Integrated Marketing Communication is of no use, and it directly acts as the challenge in accomplishing the desired objectives.
It allows in building the positive perception of the firm in the mind of the target market and serves as the development tool (Schlinke & Crain, 2013). Further, it is a well-known fact that every consumer may not perceive products of the enterprise positively and due to this reason, it is mandatory for the business to build the positive image with the help of effective communication strategy. The primary mode of communication takes into consideration advertising, social media, print media, etc. through which it becomes easy to share information with the customers (Ewing & Ramaseshan, 2015).
Selection of appropriate communication method through the selection of right channel allows the company in gaining the competitive edge, and in turn, all the challenges present in the external environment can be tackled quickly. In short, communication is considered as the key to success that enhances business performance in the market. In case if any organization does not focus on communication with its target market then customers will not be aware of the products and services offered in the market (Florès, 2014). In the modern era, the concept of social media as a communication tool has gained popularity where large numbers of businesses have adopted this tool so that customer base can be enhanced and along with this the most crucial information linked with products, services can be shared.
Considering the case of Woolworths Ltd where organization believes the concept of Integrated marketing communication as most important. Further, business has employed a large number of strategies for sharing information linked with products with its valued customers. The central communication platform is the physical stores of the company which directly acts as the primary source of attraction. All sort of convenience and comfort are provided to the customers so that they are brand loyal towards the products. Moreover, direct marketing and customer email strategy concept have been undertaken through which proper communication with the target market takes place (Nirjar, Acharya, & Ojha, 2014). Apart from this, social media channels are also conducted where products are promoted through the assistance of sales promotion strategies such as offering discount and another form of offers on the products. It allows in attracting a large number of customers and in turn sales revenue of the company increases through this (Saenko, Akhmetov, Mamatelashvili, & Pismennaya, 2016).
The market where Woolworths Ltd operates is highly challenging where significant challenges such as competition, political barriers, etc. have adversely affected the operations of the company. Therefore, this is the main reason for undertaking effective communication strategy for building the relationship with the customers and rendering high-quality products to the target market (Manser Payne, Peltier, & Barger, 2017).
Woolworth Limited approach to IMC
The selected business enterprise is making use of various integrated marketing communication channels and tools. For example, it has adopted advertisement as a tool for carrying out marketing and promotion of its products and services. In simpler term, the advertisement can be described as a paid formed of non-personal communication. Woolworth Limited advertises its products and services on newspaper, television and online mediums. Furthermore, Woolworth limited is also considered as the top spenders in Australia in terms spending resources in the advertisement (Patti, Hartley, van Dessel, & Baack, 2017).
The rationale behind using advertisement as an integrated marketing communication tool is that it helps in communicating, interacting with people in the market and at the same time it results in enhancing the brand image and brand equity of Woolworth Limited. The retailer is also making use of communication tools such as social media to promote its different services and products. In last few years, social media has emerged as one of the biggest and most potential platforms for businesses regarding marketing products and services. The use of social media channels is carried out with a purpose to interact with customers and seek inputs from clients about the process of new product development (Percy, 2014).
Other than this, the use of social media as a marketing communication tool support Woolworths limited in improving customer service and maintain a strong brand image in the marketplace. The increasing users of social media have helped Woolworths limited in finding out new customers and enhance the figure of sales and profitability. The marketing and promotion of product/services offered by Woolworths limited are carried out on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media is very cost effective regarding marketing communication tool, and therefore, it is contributing a lot to the overall success of the Australian retailer (Parente & Strausbaugh-Hutchinson, 2014).
Another form of internet marketing communication tool which has been used by the selected business enterprise is email. The brand has maintained an excellent strategy of emailing its customers at regular intervals. These emails help Woolworths limited to pass information to customers about new products, services, modification in existing products and arrival of new offers. Thus, emails play a crucial role in increasing the demand for the company’s products and services among people in the market.
Sometimes, the business also makes use of integrated marketing communication channels such as direct marketing to increase the existing figures of its sales and profitability. It can be stated that Woolworth’s limited approach towards IMC is quite efficient and it has supported the brand in accomplishing its short and long term business objectives (Provost, 2014). Communication tools such as direct marketing have helped Woolworths limited in finding out new customers and enhance its existing market share.
The use of direct marketing has provided the organization with an opportunity to develop a list of new and potential prospects who can become future customers of the brand. Apart from this, the use of direct marketing has resulted in increasing the rate of up sell or repeat purchase (Royle & Laing, 2014). It has supported the selected company in retaining its old customers in the best possible manner. On the contrary of this, it can be expressed that the best thing about Woolworth's limited approach to IMC is that it has developed the effective system of monitoring and the company carries out changes in its IMC strategy at regular intervals.
- It can be recommended that Woolworths limited should focus on identifying its target audience before formulating marketing communication mix. The rationale behind this is that selection of target audience will support the retailer in the selection of appropriate and more practical tools and techniques of communication. Along with this, selection of target audience is also essential in defining factors such as what to communicate and when to communicate.
- It is suggested that the business enterprise should emphasize more on formulating the objectives and aim of communication. The reason behind this is that goals and aim will provide a clear cut direction to a company regarding where it should place its efforts and resources linked with communication.
- It can also be recommended that Woolworths limited should uncover its unique selling propositions and should display the same through marketing communication tools. It can be expressed that the use of unique selling proposition will support the organization in differentiating itself from the other players operating in the retail industry of Australia. In addition to this, it will give the clear reason to customers in terms of why they should prefer and purchase products offered by Woolworths limited.
- At the time of selecting and implementing the tools of marketing communication, it is required by Woolworths limited to ensure that the way in which messages are delivered to target audience remains consistent. It can be expressed that consistency in messaging will support in the development of Woolworths limited as a strong brand in the marketplace.
- From the overall analysis, it has been found that Woolworths Ltd more relies on advertising and another form of promotional tools. So it is recommended to an enterprise to focus on sales promotion strategies where offering discount on the continuous basis can allow in enhancing sales volume and can act as the main tool for the customer attraction. Therefore, sales promotion strategies must be integrated into the marketing plan.
- The overall survey must be carried out in the market with the motive to know whether the present communication strategies of a company are capable enough in sharing information linked with the products or not. Through this, it is possible to modify the current advertising modes.
- Time to time new information must be updated on the social media platform such as facebook where the different type of events can be organized through which customer involvement is possible. Highlighting the main advantages associated with purchasing the products of a company can surely be beneficial for the organization and in turn can act as the major source of competitive advantage.
- The concept of microblogging must be undertaken by the business through which short sentences that can be framed from a promotional point of view where short videos can be shared with the target market that can influence the purchase behavior of the target market.
From the above study, it can be inferred that integrated marketing communication provides businesses with a potential platform to interact with customers and identify their changing demand. In addition to this, the tools linked with IMC have supported Woolworths limited in creating awareness about its products and services in the market. The tools have also contributed a lot in creating demand among people in the marketplace. Integrated marketing communication is important because it helps business to gain the competitive advantage over the other market players operating in the industry. It can be inferred that the approach of Woolworths limited towards IMC is competent enough to accomplish its long term goals and objectives.
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