Topic 8 - Integrated Marketing Communications: Promotion, Advertising And Public Relations (Part 1 - Promotions)

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This article is a topic within the subject Marketing Fundamentals.


Required Reading

Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp. 374-403.

The Marketing Communication System And Communication Tools

[1] Firms need to use promotion to clearly & persuasively communicate customer value.

Firms can choose mass media (TV, radio & newspaper), targeted media (pay TV channels & sponsorships), in-store media (packaging & aisle displays) or 1 to 1 media (direct mail, direct selling & telemarketing) tools to communicate (classification of communication tools).

Changing Communications Landscape


  • The Media Side
    • Increasingly fragmented media - so many mediums including TV, radio, internet, social networks
    • Overlapping media - these mediums are overlapping
  • The Consumer Side
    • Consumers are more complex with more co-existent lifestyles
    • Increasing information sources, they are more communications empowered – seek out information (net, forums)
    • Less enduring brand loyalty
  • The Business Side
    • Retailers are becoming increasingly powerful (over manufacturers e.g. Wal-Mart) ‘category killers’
    • Business marketing strategies are targeting segments rather than the mass

Shifting Marketing Communications Model - Effects of the Changing Communications Landscape And The Need For IMC

Since consumers are changing, marketing strategies need to change which must be matched with the changes in communications technology. The dominance of mass media is declining as firms choose narrowcasting (highly targeted personalised interactive messages) over broadcasting. Moreover, media costs are rising, audiences are shrinking, ad clutter is increasing & viewers are gaining control of message exposure through technologies (e.g. remote). Thus, companies need to integrate many communication channels to deliver a clear, consistent & compelling message about the firm & its brands.

Integrated Marking Communications (IMC)

IMC entails co-ordinating the organisation’s promotional mix (communication elements - advertising, sales promotions, personal selling, public relations (PR) & direct/online marketing) to communicate a clear, consistent & compelling company & brand message. The IMC program must blend these elements to inform, persuade, remind & reinforce their attitudes/perceptions most effectively at each brand contact.

Basic Reasons For Communication

  • Inform – increase new product awareness, inform about specific brands, educates about product features/benefits
  • Persuade – persuade consumers to try new products, brands or services to create product demand (& secondary demand)
  • Remind – keep the firm’s brand fresh in the consumers memory, ‘creating top of mind awareness’
  • Add Value – altering consumer perceptions, innovation, improving quality, delivering sales promotions
  • Assist Other Efforts – assist sales reps, pre-sell products

IMC must not be seen in isolation, it must fit within the entire marketing mix (segmentation, targeting, positioning, mix).

The IMC Mix – Communication Elements


  • Advertisinga paid non-personal presentation & promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor
    • Advantages – repeatedly reach masses of geographically dispersed buyers at a low cost per exposure, increases legitimacy, large scale advertising positively related to seller’s size, popularity & success, dramatise sound/motion
    • Disadvantages – costly, impersonal, 1 way communication, may not be as persuasive as salespeople (no response)
  • Sales Promotionshort term incentives to encourage the purchase of a goods or services
    • Advantages – attract consumer attention, incentivises quick purchases, dramatise product offers to boost sales
    • Disadvantages – sales promotion effects are short lived, don’t effectively build long run brand preference & customer r/ships like advertising & personal selling
  • Personal Sellinga personal presentation by the firm’s sales force to make a sale & build customer relationships
    • Advantages – used in B2B marketing, effective tool in certain stages of buying process, can build buyer preferences, convictions & actions, personal interaction, flexible (can adjust), buyer feels a greater need to listen/respond
    • Disadvantages – sales force requires longer term commitment than advertising, most expensive promotional tool
  • Public Relationsbuilding relationships with company publics via favourable publicity, corporate image & media handling
    • Advantages - very believable (news stories, sponsorships & events), reach those who avoid ads/salespeople, dramatise a company or product (gets to the buyer as ‘news’)
    • Disadvantages – can backfire
  • Direct & Online Marketingdirect connection with carefully targeted consumers to gain immediate response & long term relationships
    • Characteristics – less public, immediate, customised, interactive e.g. direct mail, catalogues, online, telemarketing
    • Interaction with targeted consumers (individualised) - dialogue - adjust messages to be highly targeted - build long term 1 to 1 relationships

Promotion Mix Strategies: Push or Pull


  • Push Strategy‘pushing’ the product through marketing channels to final consumers by using personal selling & trade promotions to channel members (B2B)
  • Pull Strategydirects marketing activities (advertising & sales promotions) towards final consumers to induce them to buy (B2C)


Advertising And Major Advertising Decisions

[5] Advertising is only 1 element of IMC; its job is to communicate the brands value proposition to target customers.


Advertising Objectives Decision

  • Informnew product awareness, suggesting new uses, informing price change, correcting false impressions, features/benefits, reducing buyer fears, describing available services, explaining how the product works (new products)
  • Persuadebuild brand preference (switching) by changing buyer perceptions of product attributes, persuade to buy now (fight competition)
  • Remindremind buyer the product will be needed, where to buy, keep in buyers minds, top of mind product awareness (mature products)

Advertising Budget Decision

  • Affordable Methodhow much can the company afford to spend, ignores effects of promotions on sales
  • Percentage of Sales Methodwidely used as it is simple, criticised as it depends on the level of sales & views sales as the cause & large advertising may be needed in a year of falling sales to capitalise on an opportunity + no justified %
  • Competitive Parity Methodmatch competitor’s outlay (industry wisdom), but you are on par with competitors, no gains.
  • Objective & Task Method (Best)set by defining specific objectives & determining the promotional tasks required to achieve these objectives, costs will come from the required promotional tasks. The best method but hard to implement

Advertising Strategy – Creating Advertising Messages And Selecting Advertising Media

Advertising strategy consists of 2 main elements; creating advertising message & selecting advertising media. A large budget does not guarantee success & this decision is crucial.


  • Creating
    • Break Through the Clutter – to gain & hold attention, ads must be planned, imaginative & entertaining, ‘recorders’
    • Merge Advertising & Entertainment – 'advertainment' (attention/drama), brand entertainment (product placement)
    • Message Strategy - identify customer benefits (appeals) & bring to life via a creative & distinctive concept
    • Message Execution – turn the idea into an actual ad to gain attention/interest (see below)
    • Consumer Generated Messages – interactive technologies or tapping consumers for ideas
  • Selecting
    • AIDA Model – Get Attention, Hold Interest, Arouse Desires, Obtain Action
    • Appeals –rational (save $), emotional (fear, love or romance) & moral appeals (environment) meaningful/believable
  • Execution
    • Slice of Life – shows people using the good or service in a normal setting
    • Lifestyle – shows how a products fits within a lifestyle
    • Fantasy – creates a fantasy around the product & its use
    • Mood/Image – builds a mood or image around the product, e.g. love, serenity, beauty
    • Musical – people singing about a product
    • Personality Symbol – creates a character to best represent a product
    • Technical Expertise – shows the firm’s expertise in making the product
    • Scientific Evidence – presents survey or scientific evidence hat the brand is better than other brands
    • Testimonial Evidence – features a highly believable or likeable source endorsing the product


  • Deciding on Reach, Frequency & Impact
    • Reach - % of people in the target market who are exposed to the ad campaign in a given period of time
    • Frequency – how many times the average person in the target market is exposed to the message
    • Impact – the qualitative value of a message’s exposure via a given medium (believability), a desired level is set
  • Choosing Among the Main Media Types – based on the required reach, frequency & impact required TV, Radio, Mail, Net
    • Needs to effectively & efficiently delivers the advertising message to targeted consumers
  • Selecting Specific Media Vehicles – the specific media within each general media (e.g. Ch9 news, NCIS)
    • Cost per 1000 persons reached by a vehicles (CPM) must be computed & account for ad production costs
    • Balance costs against audience quality (determines exposure value), engagement & editorial quality
  • Deciding on Media Timing – how the ad is schedules over a given period of time, greetings card ads only before holidays
    • Continuity – ads scheduled evenly in a given period
    • Pulsing – ads spread unevenly in a given period


Advertising Evaluation

Pretesting Methods of Advertising Include – direct rating, portfolio tests, laboratory tests & Post-Testing Methods include recall tests & recognition tests. Managers can also evaluate awareness/communication, sales & profit effects. Final evaluation is determined by return on advertising investment (Return/Advertising Costs) but this is complex & hard to measure.

International Advertising Decisions

Standardisation reduces ad costs & ensures a more consistent global image. However, it ignores the fact that countries differ in cultures, demographics & economic conditions. Firms are developing ‘GLOCAL’ strategies with global products & strategies adapted by using specific advertising programs to meet local preferences. Ad regulations/costs in countries differ.

Organising for Advertising

Small firms tend to delegate advertising to sales staff, whilst larger firms set up an advertising department to work with an advertisement agency as they are specialists.

Public Relations (PR)

[6] PR is a major mass communication tool aimed at building good relations with publics by obtaining favourable publicity, a positive corporate image & handling of rumours/events. PR can include speeches, news, events, sponsorships, community service activities, lobbying etc. It strongly impacts public awareness at costs (don’t pay for media space) lower than advertising. It often has more credibility as the firm does not pay the media to publicize the news/event.


This is the end of this topic. Click Marketing Fundamentals to go back to the main subject page for Marketing Fundamentals


Textbook refers to Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall.

  1. Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp.377-379
  2. Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp.374
  3. Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp.380-384
  4. Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp.384
  5. Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp.386-398
  6. Armstrong G., Adam S., Denize, S. and Kotler P.(2012) Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Sydney, Pearson/Prentice Hall., pp.398-403
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