Many definitions nowadays refer to an integrated perspective. This point of view has gained traction over the last decade and is now part of the marketing communications vocabulary. This shift to an integrated perspective, however, raises questions and debate about the purpose of marketing communications. Should the emphasis, for example, go beyond products and services? Should corporate communications be integrated into the marketing communications of the organization? Should the number of stakeholders be expanded beyond customers? And what exactly does integration entail, and is it even possible? Although many marketing communications strategies appear to be based on a promotional mix orientation, the integrative perspective developed a strong strategic and long-term orientation.
Hence, today we shall define what “marketing communications” is.
Defining Marketing Communications
Some of the already-established interpretations miss the key point that marketing communications add value by improving product and organizational symbolism. They also fail to recognize that the context in which marketing communications flow influences the meaning and interpretation of such messages. Its ability to set and associate offerings with various environments is extremely powerful.
Today, in an era when the term “inteWhat Is Marketing Communications?gration” is used to describe a wide range of marketing and communication-related activities, where corporate marketing is emerging as the next significant development within the subject, and where relationship marketing is the preferred paradigm, marketing communications must embrace a broader remit – to go beyond the product information model and become an integral part of an organization’s overall communications and relationship management. This viewpoint views communication as a one-way, two-way, interactive, and dialogic approach required to meet the varying needs of various audiences. The integration stage is concerned with the organization, whereas the next stage may be concerned with the relationships that an organization has with its various audiences. Above all, marketing communications should be focused on the target audience.
“Marketing communications are a management process through which an organization engages with its various audiences. By understanding an audience’s communications environment, organizations seek to develop and present messages for their identified stakeholder groups, before evaluating and acting upon the responses. By conveying messages that are of significant value, they encourage audiences to offer attitudinal and behavioral responses.”
There are three major themes in this definition. The first is about the word ‘engages.’ This type of communications can be used to interact with a variety of audiences in such a way that one-way, two-way, and dialogic communications that meet the needs of the audience are used by recognizing the different transactional and relationship needs of the target audience. However, do not assume that all audiences desire a relationship with your organization; for some, one-way communication is sufficient. Messages, on the other hand, should entice individual members of target audiences to respond to the focus organization (or product/brand). This reaction can be immediate, as in purchasing behavior or the use of customer service lines, or it can be delayed as information is assimilated and considered for future use.
Even if the information is later discarded, the communication prompted attention and consideration of the message.
The second theme is about marketing communication audiences. Marketing communications have traditionally been used to convey product-related information to customer-based audiences. Today, a wide range of stakeholders have varying degrees of connections and relationships, and marketing communications must reflect this breadth and variety. Stakeholder audiences, including customers, are all interested in a variety of corporate issues: some are product-related, while others are related to the organization’s policies, procedures, and values. Marketing communications should be an audience-centered activity, and messages should be based on a thorough understanding of the audience’s needs and environment.
Marketing communications must be grounded in the target audience’s behavior and information-processing needs and style in order to be successful. This is known as comprehending the context in which the communications event will take place. From this foundation, it is easier to present and position brands so that they are perceived as unique and valuable by the target audience.