Marketing Communication An Integrated Communication Plan Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Marketing Communication an integrated Communication Plan.

Answer:

Introduction:

The company being started is an event management company and will be called Zeus Services. The company is expected to cater to all types of events, but with specific emphasis on weddings amongst the middle classes (Petersen, Kushwaha and Kumar 2015). The company is making virgin strides into an as yet unexplored territory as there are hardly any players in this market segment. Being amongst the pioneers Zeus Services shall be working on uncharted territory and hence need to put forward each step with caution and after due deliberation.

Marketing objectives

Weddings are considered to be a special moment in everyone’s life and thus the efforts and strain that surround the event is huge. The bride and groom hare burdened with numerous chores from selection of venue, dress code, costumes, menu and so on to even the accommodation and travel arrangements of the guests. The guest list is of particular concern as most weddings while spectacular do not usually tend to be an opus affair. Bearing all these factors in mind, Zeus services aims to provide a one-stop solution to all wedding events for persons of all religions and beliefs.

Products/ services

An all inclusive wedding service provider, Zeus Services shall be involved in pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding arrangements to ensure that the bride, groom and their families can sit back and enjoy their special day or even make it more special. The company would like to assure a hassle free and memorable event for its esteemed clients. As event managers, Zeus Creations would be involved in all pre wedding dilemmas including creating a guest list, checking RSVPs, confirming the guest list and venue, decoration of the venue, transportation to the venue, accommodation of guests, and scheduling pick-ups and drops as per their travel plans; meeting special request like wheel chairs and so on if any; ensuring availability of a duty doctor for any minor emergencies that may occur, lighting at the venue, menu, seating arrangements and circulating gift lists as well as pre wedding bachelorette and bachelor parties; dress trails; and so on as well as post wedding cleaning up activities.

Target audience segment analysis

While the super rich tend to have lavish and extravagant weddings without a though of the costs involved or being bothered about the nitty-gritty’s due to their complete dependence on wedding planners, the middle class tends to be burdened with the need to ensure that wedding expenses remain within budget, without causing any embarrassment to any of the concerned parties; while simultaneously making sure the day is special and memorable. The target audience chosen is therefore the discerning middle class who want a special day but within a budget.

The super rich are already being catered to by a several event managers who offer them service for not just wedding planning but all other events like births, birthdays, anniversaries and so on as well. The poor are not interested in spending on such matters and tend to be happy with a simple ceremony. The middle is class is further divided into those who would not mind spending but within their predefined budgetary constraints, as well as those who believe that wedding expenses are a mere waste of good money that can be spent on other things needed for a married life. Zeus Services intends to cater to the former group amongst the middle class.

Communication objectives

The three communication objectives in advertising that have been identifies by Zeus Services are developing brand awareness, promoting services as well as influence interests and consumer attitudes. Being a company in a niche segment, without too many predecessors to set an example, the primary communication objective of Zeus Services is to generate awareness about the services being offered; and assuring potential clients of best services for their wedding. The secondary objective would be communicating about the various services being provided. The first objective can be easily achieved through the use of traditional advertisements in newspapers and local periodicals. Since Zeus services is a new company, they would need to make significant provisions for advertisements to kick start their business. Word of mouth would also help, but the impact would be slower as awareness would be limited to the contact circle and their friends (Chen and Xie 2008).

The secondary objective would need to be more focused on potential clients (Pickton and Broderick 2005). Churches, boutiques catering to wedding dresses and hotels are a good source of information a potential clients would approach these places at the beginning of their wedding. Zeus Services is in touch with the owners and employees at these respective sources of potential clients. Potential clients would need to be contacted either in groups or individually. While the latter would help eliminate repeat visits for closing the deal; it would be a difficult task to get many prospective couples to spend time with strangers in between their bust schedule. Thus, a personal mailer, hand delivered to all couples looking at marriage dates within the next 4 months would be ideal. The invitation would infuse a curiosity in their minds and the short duration of the meeting would convince them that they would not have to commit a large chuck of their limited time unless they are truly interested in availing the services by Zeus Services.

Alternative styles of creative advertising

Creative advertising is not limited to a handout/ brochure or standout stall at an exhibition. Gifting a mug to all couples who attend the initial meeting regardless of their willingness to go ahead with the services being offered by Zeus Services is also an innovative and creative method (Blakeman 2014) of ensuring that both the company and its services remain on the minds of all the potential customer regardless of their initial response. A guestbook with signatures and social media ids like Facebook, Instagram, of all attendees is a great place to being the creative advertisement campaign (Castronovo and Lei 2012). This could include pictures of customized wedding cakes, venue decoration including lighting, interesting mementoes and invitation cards and so on. These would act as an inducement to all potential clients. A nine step social media advertising campaign would involve blogging, profiles on social media sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, and so on; tweets and face book groups; as well as a Search engine Optimized website

Justification of communication objectives and ethical issues

There are no ethical issues involved in the advertising objectives or the communication process. The communications objectives are designed to hold the attention of all potential customers even after the promotional activities are complete. While Zeus Services shall not bombard them with information, teaser would be provided as part of the social media marketing strategy (Castronovo and Lei 2012) to ensure that their interest in the services continues and they at least contemplate the hiring of Zeus services to cater to their wedding requirements

Media plan

The primary consideration of the media plan is to convey a picture of efficiency while remaining warm and courteous. Hence communication needs to be short, precise and warm. Sudden disruptions and abrupt dialogue would harm the reputation of the company. Planning is an essential part of all marketing communication. Creating a communications planning worksheet with all details like objectives and message clearly mentioned is the first step top effective communication. The words should convey both warmth and a positive image, while being precise and not beating around the bush. Redundancy and repetitions must be avoided at all costs. Selecting the media vehicle for implementing the media plan is an equally important step for effective communication.

Selection of Media vehicle(s) and justifications

As the target audience is the middle class, the demographics would veer towards the age group between 30 to 45 years. These individuals tend to be technology savvy and hence social media is an effective tool to attract their attention. Yet another innovative strategy would be booking an advertising space at the local theatre specifically for a movie that caters to this target crowd. A banner at a popular up-market eatery is yet another means of gaining the attention of the target audience. Zeus Services feels that while all the strategies mentioned above would be effective, the social media campaign would be the most effective. Hence the maximum focus would be concentrated on creating a social media presence and influencing potential clients to meet up personally for discussions before availing the services being offered by Zeus Services.

Social media is all about building relationships rather than direct selling. An understanding of this element of social media marketing is important before embarking in this direction. Results from a social media campaign would not be quantifiable or out in the open. However, the relationships and brand image build through the process would last a lifetime and be the stepping stones to help the company grow by leaps and bounds (Reid, Luxton and Mavondo 2005). Zeus Services aims to use social media to improve its brand presence, build a brand image, generate an awareness of and an interest in its services, increase the positive sentiment associated with its services, and develop relationships for opportunities in the future.

Important tools like listing out current situation, conducting PEST and a SWOT analysis along with a clear listing of organizational and communication objectives is essential developing an effective communications strategy that would help Zeus Services to grow exponentially. Identification of internal and external stakeholders would help streamline the advertising strategy effectively (Shultz, 1992). The message communicated across all platform must be uniform and in keeping with the brand image of the company. The idea that Zeus Services is trustworthy and reliable needs to be communicated to all potential clients on an ongoing basis through the advertisement campaign. Then alone would they be willing to trust the company with such a critical service. Employing a PR would an effective and positive step in this direction.

Evaluation of IMC plan effectiveness

The effectiveness of media plans need to be evaluated and measured in order to determine whether it is effective or needs to be changed in any manner (Castronovo and Lei 2012). While the media plan would vary across various industries and verticals, it is essential that the media plan be in tandem with the organizational capabilities, objectives goals and vision (Hartley and Pickton 2010). Any deviation from this would lead to heavy losses for the company. The effectiveness of the media plan would be seen in the reach achieved. In other words, the number of potential clients who have been reached through the various communication initiatives would determine the effectiveness of the media plan (Peltier, Schibrowsky and Schultz 2003).

The efforts on Instagram drew a considerable response and Zeus Services was able to host a small meet for 75 potential clients during the second week of the campaign. This response assures the management that the campaign and communication has been reasonably effective (Castronovo and Lei 2012). The client meet lead to more than five times the number of references as well as opening meeting with 7 clients scheduled for the next week. Based on the results to date, the management of Zeus Services is of the opinion that the media plan has been efficient in meeting the short term goals of the company (Berthon, Pitt and Watson 2014).

Conclusion

A start-up in the pioneering space of wedding planning and event management catering exclusively for middle class families, the media plan by Zeus Services was found to be effective and helped the company gain a foothold in the minds of potential clients. Since the company is operating in virgin territory without any precedents, it is hoped that the creative initiatives being used by them would help build up a considerable presence as well as raise awareness (Mulhern 2009) about the services being offered to all potential customers in the areas of operations.

References

Berthon, P, L F Pitt, and R T Watson. "Re-Surfing the Web: Research Perspectives on Marketing Communication and Buyer Behaviour on the W3." Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science. Springer, 2014. 182-182.

Blakeman, R. Integrated Marketing Communication: Creative Strategy from Idea to Implementation. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

Castronovo, C, and H Lei. "Social Media in an Alternative Marketing Communication Model." Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness, 2012: 117-134.

Chen, Y, and J Xie. "Online Consumer Review: Word-of-Mouth as a New Element of Marketing Communication Mix." Management Science, 53(3): PP 477-491.

Hartley, B, and D Pickton. "Integrated marketing communications requires a new way of thinking." Journal of Marketing Communications, 2010: 97-106.

Mulhern, F. "Integrated marketing communications: From media channels to digital connectivity." Journal of Marketing Communications, 15(2-3): pp 85-101.

Peltier, J W, J A Schibrowsky, and D E Schultz. "Interactive integrated marketing communication: combining the power of IMC, the new media and database marketing." International Journal of Advertising, 22 (1) : 93-115.

Petersen, A J, T Kushwaha, and V Kumar. "Marketing Communication Strategies and Consumer Financial Decision Making: The Role of National Culture." Journal of Marketing, 79(1) : pp 44-63.

Pickton, D, and A Broderick. Integrated Marketing Communications. Harlow, UK: Pretience-Hall, 2005.

Reid, M, S Luxton, and F Mavondo. "The relationship between integrated marketing communication, market orientation, and brand orientatioN." Journal of Advertising, 34(4): pp 11-23.

Schultz. D E, “ Integrated Marketing Comunications”, Journal of Promotion Management, 1(1), pp99-104.

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