Marketing communications techniques are valuable tools and methods you can use to grow your business, increase your sales and enhance your brand image.
Many people think communications is the same as “marketing.” However, it’s really only a part – a very valuable part! Professional marketing also includes product/service quality, pricing, marketing planning, marketing strategy, distribution/delivery and more.
But just focusing on marketing communications techniques, there are at least 40 different valuable tools and methods, which you can download as a free checklist – click here. Generally marketing communications techniques are clustered into these five categories:
Advertising is distinguished by the fact that you pay the media for space on their pages or time in their broadcasts, in return for having pretty much full control over your message. The best advertising focuses on one product or service, and creates a compelling message to buy it now. Big companies like Lockheed, GE and BASF also do what is called image advertising. They have so many products and services, sold under different brand names, that people can lose sight of the fact that one company is making them, and investing in their stock is a good idea.
Small businesses should not make that mistake. For best advertising results, create a demand for a particular product or service, and promote its benefits (how it can help the customer) instead of its features (size, weight, horsepower etc.). People want benefits because they are looking to satisfy a need, and the best ads say, “You got this need? Here’s the answer to it.” Online advertising using Google, Bing, Facebook and other social media can be especially cost-effective and is a great place to start. If you have sufficient budget, local newspapers, radio and TV stations will often produce your ad or commercial for little or no money. But they usually won’t provide the overall creative guidance and support that a local marketing or advertising agency will.
Public relations is different from advertising because you do NOT pay the media for their space or time, but in return you do not have full control over the message. Public relations is probably the most under-utilized, high-value form of marketing communications there is. It takes skill to write a news story that will interest busy news reporters or editors in publishing it, so hiring a PR firm can be an excellent investment.
Experienced smaller marketing and PR agencies can provide PR services inexpensively for small businesses. Keep in mind that the media are looking mainly for NEWS. This means you have to provide them with something NEW and interesting. This might include a new product or service, a new personnel hire, or an interesting story about how your product or service helped a customer solve a problem. These “application stories” are especially appealing to the thousands of trade magazines, usually published monthly, and sometimes it can be easier getting publicity in a national publication than a local one, depending on how broad or focused the interest is.
Personal selling is vital to get customers to give you their money. This is what happens between you or a representative of your business, and the customer or client, when it comes time to agree that they will pay you X dollars for a specific product or service. For some small business people this comes naturally, and for others it is difficult. What is key is to listen closely to what your customer says they want, ask clarifying questions to be sure you understand their need, then explain how a specific product or service you offer will meet that need very well.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that selling is just talking and “closing” till the customer reaches for his or her wallet. No no no. Show that you care genuinely about their needs, take time to understand, then respond in a way that shows you understand. Of course in a fast-food restaurant, this might be overkill, but in the vast majority of small businesses, it will pay handsome dividends.
Promotions (plural) include special events, sales, themes and other short-term “pushes” to generate extra customer interest in purchasing. Promotions are different from personal selling because it is a company-wide endeavor that often involves multiple forms of communication. An after-Christmas sale, a grand opening event, or a special bundle of products/services available at a discount price, are all examples of promotions that can drive higher revenues. Generally promotions are counter-cyclical. That means that they are held at times when sales are usually low, such as January or July, depending on your type of business (if you sell snow skis, January might be peak). Plan your promotions to give your sales a boost, and give them a good advertising push as well for best results. Of course be sure that what you are offering (product and price) are what customers want, and not just clearing out unwanted merchandise.
Online Marketing Communications Techniques
Internet marketing is technically a form of both advertising and public relations, because sometimes you are paying for the media and controlling the message, and sometimes you are communicating to the public at no charge. Internet marketing is increasingly important as more and more people shop online or start their search for a supplier of products and services online. Recent surveys show that about 85% of potential buyers like to check out a company online before they buy from them.
To discuss how Lawrimore’s marketing communications techniques can benefit you, and to get a free estimate, use our online contact form right on this page or call us at 704-332-4344 for a friendly, informative conversation. We look forward to meeting you and helping you increase your business income and success!