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Managing Advertising, Sales Promotion, Public Relation and Direct Marketing
Hundreds of theories exist that examine, outline, define and analyze the best methods for managing advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing campaigns. Slick advertising agencies offer manufacturers and retailers a variety of tools that do in fact support the advertising and sales promotion process. The primary key element however, that is common among all of these areas, and the one factor that truly will influence a marketing, sales or public relations campaign's success in the marketplace, is the ability to target audiences and respond effectively to consumers ever changing wants, needs and desires.
Consumers are becoming increasingly shopping savvy. The advent of technological advances such as the internet have allowed consumers new avenues for researching products and services on online at anytime. Most consumers have discovered that bargains can be found just about anywhere nowadays with a click of the mouse pad. Consumers want services and products that are reliable and easily acquired.
Customer service is also a key component to effective marketing, sales and public relations campaigns. A majority of consumers have stated that the quality of customer service has declined substantially during the last few years. Response times have declined, and face-to-face communications have become virtually non-existent. In today's competitive marketplace, perhaps the most intelligent marketing strategy entails providing outstanding personal customer service.
Smart marketing, sales and PR representatives must also understand that consumers are now global in nature; their personal preferences may vary in part depending upon the locality in which they live, their culture and the types of products/services that are popular in their area at the time of sale. Sales representatives are no longer limited to campaigning on a local level. Consumers can purchase products from any remote corner of the world; again the advent of technological advances such as the internet have made this possible.
Traditional large budget mass advertising and marketing campaigns are no longer considered the most effective mechanisms for moving products and services. Rather, more focused campaigns are necessary that take into consideration target markets and consumer objectives and preferences. Global companies typically serve many different divisions and thus must redefine their strategies in order to present a flexible approach to advertising, sales and marketing. What works for one area of the globe or target market will not necessarily work for another. Critical to the continued success of such campaigns is an agencies ability to redefine their strategy so that each and every campaign appears more directed, unique and individualized in nature.
Consumers desire products and services that speak to them on a personal level. Even if a product/service is not truly unique in nature, and effective marketing, sales and advertising campaign will be able to make the consumer believe that a particular product is targeted to meet their needs individually. These ideas are explored in greater detail below.
According to one author, "custom solutions keep firms from falling into the downward spiral of commodity pricing." Too many firms attempt to design sales campaigns and manage sales accounts as a business venture rather than managing sales as an initiative. One key to designing and managing sales campaigns that effectively target consumers as individuals is aligning organizational goals and strategic planning with sales goals and expectations. Many firms unfortunately view custom solutions in a negative light; again the trend has typically been to promote mass market campaigns. This strategy is much easier for businesses to maintain, and doesn't require innovative thinking or changes in the way a business traditionally operates.
Customization of campaigns and account management however, is the key to adding value to customer relationships, building loyalty and achieving sales success. Some firms, headed in the right direction, have established what are referred to as "co-destiny" sales accounts, which are accounts that go beyond analyzing a firm's ability to make profits, and rather view relationships with suppliers and customers as a means to establish true partnerships and long-term relationships.
Creating partnerships and building valuable relationships should be the primary concern of sales managers.
Creating campaigns that focus around communication and the establishment of successful relationships will ultimately result in the highest profit margins.
Initiating relationships is often the primary goal of sales managers. Nurturing those relationships and helping them grow falls into the realm of public relations representatives. Public relations should involve assisting sales managers and customers create wide ranging relationships that extend beyond the scope of ordinary business. Matching people and personalities is one key to success.
Public relations must regularly "quantify and communicate" the value customers receive from being loyal to a particular manufacturer or retailer. A public relations representative must work on constructing and maintaining seamless relationships between consumers and manufacturers to ensure continued demand for products and services.
According to industry experts, PR professionals typically claim that managing strategic direction is often the most difficult part of their job, when compared to other aspects of effective PR management including client management and tactical work. According to Renee Dunn, president of Workinpr.com, a recent survey which garnered feedback from more than 1,600 public relations professionals showed that "PR leaders need more help with strategic planning, allocating and new business development."
More than 36% of public relations professionals claim that finding strategic direction is difficult. Most public relations campaigns fail due to lack of appropriate insider knowledge regarding industry and business issues and a lack of ability to communicate among professionals and consumers. An effect PR campaign is destined to fail if the individuals promoting it have not aligned their goals with those of the corporation they are representing; at the same time PR professionals have a duty to understand the industry in which they are working. Without adequately understanding the market they are promoting, PR professionals can't hope to design campaigns that instill confidence in consumers.
Establishing confidence will require that PR professionals understand the individual needs of consumers, to assist them in better defining their target audiences. In a recent survey conducted by PR professionals, more than 73% acknowledged that they key to success in the industry is building good personal relationships with the media, consumers and organizations whereas only 10% felt that direct e-mail campaigns were effective, and only 7% felt press releases garnered adequate responses. This further supports the notion that effective communication campaigns that touch on personal styles and preferences are critical to the livelihood of effective PR strategies.
Marketing plans are often developed in such a manner that they please organizations CEO's and board of directors, rather than focusing on the best interests of the company the plans are supposed to be representing and consumers the plans will affect.. Organizations typically view direct marketing campaigns as a means to provide strong returns on investments, and thus often marketing plans focus too much on financials and too little on human interest.
The most effective marketing plans and campaigns will serve as tools that help move consumers into a manufacturer or retailer's corner and keep them buying into a particular market share. Successful marketing campaigns will not begin without adequate planning and examination of target markets. Such planning and investigation should be directed toward answering questions such as: Who is our target audience? Why would they be interested in our products/services? How can our organization reach this audience? What audience will most benefit from our products/services?
Examination of such questions will lead to development of initiatives that include customized advertising and direct marketing. Consumers are extraordinarily discerning; creating a marketing plan that reaches critical consumers requires creativity and a compelling strategy. A marketing platform must speak to consumers and address their concerns and needs or it will fail.
Direct marketing can be used as a very effective technique in a crowded marketplace and in a society with savvy consumers, where competition is often intense. Direct marketing encompasses a wide scope of techniques, including mail order, face-to-face selling and television campaigning. Direct marketing is most effective within households, because consumers are increasingly purchasing a majority of products and services from the comfort of their home. Part of the new demographic is a society where consumers seek out convenient, private and hassle free shopping. Comparison shopping can easily be accomplished through use of the internet and home shopping networks.
face-to-face selling is optimal in an environment where competition is fierce and consumer interest is high. This type of direct marketing is most useful when the provider or a product or service is selling something that requires explanation, or that is complicated in nature. A wonderful example is cosmetics representatives. face-to-face selling allows the seller to truly connect with the consumer; they can offer a free facial, assess an individuals unique cosmetics needs and tailor products to suit those individual needs. A cosmetic consultant will notice right away if a client has trouble with acne for example, by meeting with them in person, and then promote only those products designed for problematic or sensitive skin.
Direct mail has been a traditional means…[continue]
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