Marketing Research & Marketing Communication

Jan 13, 2011 • By • 3,194 Views

MARKETING RESEARCH & MARKETING COMMUNICATION

Market research is any organized effort together information about markets or customers. It is a very important component of business strategy. The term is commonly interchanged with marketing research; however, expert practitioners may wish to draw a distinction, in that marketing research is concerned specifically about marketing processes, while market research is concerned specifically with markets.

Market research, includes social and opinion research and is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to gain insight or support decision making

Introduction to Market Research

Good instincts and intuition certainly play important roles in business. But gut feelings about your customers' needs and preferences aren't enough. If you want to minimize risk and improve your chances of success, you need sound and objective data. That's where market research comes in.

Market research is the process of collecting and analyzing information about the customers you want to reach, called your target market. This information provides you with the business intelligence you need to make informed decisions. Market research can help you create a business plan, launch a new product or service, fine tune your existing products and services, expand into new markets, develop an advertising campaign, set prices, and/or select a business location.

Types of Market Research

Market research methods fall into two basic categories: primary and secondary. Your research might involve one or both, depending on your company's needs.

Primary research involves collecting original data about the preferences, buying habits, opinions, and attitudes of current or prospective customers. This data can be gathered in focus groups, surveys, and field tests. Secondary research is based on existing data from reference books, magazines and newspapers, industry publications, chambers of commerce, government agencies, or trade associations. It yields information about industry sales trends and growth rates, demographic profiles, and regional business statistics.

The bulk of your secondary research now is available on the Internet thanks to the proliferation of sites that provide or sell data about individuals and companies and because most publications now are available online.

Using Market Research

Market research allows you to pinpoint a host of key business factors about your market. It can help you identify:

  • Growth trends in your business sector
  • Size of your target market
  • Best location for your business
  • How your business stacks up against the competition
  • Factors that influence buying decisions
  • Degree of demand for your product or service

It also can reveal key information about your customers and prospects, including:

  • Their demographic profile
  • The types of features or special services they want
  • What they like and dislike about your product or service
  • How they use your product or service
  • How often they buy and how much they will pay for your product or service

Once you analyze the results of your market research, you'll be in a better position to create a focused business plan, develop a targeted advertising campaign, set competitive prices, select a new business location, or take other steps to grow your company.

Primary and Secondary Market Research

Success depends on a lot of things, but when you have information about a particular market segment, a geographic area, or customer preferences, you'll be better prepared to make the decisions that can make or break your business.

Many companies use market research as a guide. Whether you want to expand your business into a new area or introduce a new product, primary and secondary market research can provide valuable insight to help you shape your business and prevent costly missteps.

Secondary Research

If you're considering extending your business into new markets or adding new services or product lines, start with secondary research. This type of research is based on information gleaned from studies previously performed by government agencies, chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other organizations. This includes Census Bureau information and Nielsen ratings.

You can find much of this kind of information in local libraries or on the Web, but books and business publications, as well as magazines and newspapers, are also great sources.

Although secondary research is less expensive than primary research, it's not as accurate, or as useful, as specific and customized research. For instance, secondary research will tell you how much teenagers spent last year on basketball shoes, but not how much they're willing to pay for the shoe design your company has in mind.

Primary Research

Simply put, primary research is research that's tailored to a company's particular needs. By customizing tried-and-true approaches — focus groups, surveys, field tests, interviews or observation — you can gain information about your target market. For example, you can investigate an issue specific to your business, get feedback about your Web site, assess demand for a proposed service, gauge response to various packaging options, and find out how much consumers will shell out for a new product.

Primary research delivers more specific results than secondary research, which is an especially important consideration when you're launching a new product or service. In addition, primary research is usually based on statistical methodologies that involve sampling as little as 1 percent of a target market. This tiny sample can give an accurate representation of a particular market.

Using Both for Your Business

Savvy entrepreneurs will do secondary research first and then conduct primary research. For example, the owner of a video-rental shop would want to know all about a neighborhood before opening a new store there. Using information gleaned from secondary sources, the owner can learn all kinds of demographic data, including detailed income data and spending patterns.

They can then send out a questionnaire to a sampling of households to find out what kinds of movies people like to rent. That primary-research technique will help when it comes time to stock the store with the latest Hollywood releases.

Secondary research lays the groundwork and primary research helps fill in the gaps. By using both types of market research, business owners get a well-rounded view of their market and have the information they need to make important business decisions.

Market-Research Basics for Businesses

Before selling a product or service, it's important to know the market that you will be entering into. Research includes finding out what potential customers need, want and don't want, and why. Your goal is to build a demographic profile of your customers. A research or business library can prove helpful for studying the manners in which other small businesses have approached their target audiences. You can then take a similar approach, adding your own creativity and the particular benefits of your products or services.

Surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups are three among the many ways to obtain original data on potential customers. You can also get basic information when a customer calls for your services, visits your facility, or browses your web site. When customers make a purchase, or any kind of inquiry, you can find out where they heard about your business. In this manner you can better plan, and track, your marketing efforts.

Your marketing plan should be the result of your market research. You can then proceed to use the most viable means to promote and advertise your products or services.

There are many factors that will impact on your marketing plan including:

  • Your budget
  • The type of products or services you are selling
  • Your geographic region (Are you selling locally? Nationally? Globally?)
  • The amount of sales volume you can handle
  • Your methods of distribution
  • The amount of personal service you can or cannot provide
  • Your personnel

From market research you can also learn about pricing, trends, and competition. Typically, you will want to structure your pricing to be competitive. Depending on your position in the market, you may opt to undersell the competition and offer discounted items, or you may price items on the higher end and offer personalized attention and strong customer service. Pricing strategies are important and you'll adjust as your business grows.

Market research will also help you gain a greater understanding of the actual value of your product or service in the marketplace. By continuing to do market research as your business evolves, you will see what changes occur within your particular market.

Means of researching the market include:

  • Trade magazines
  • Trade associations or organizations specific to your type of business
  • Industry Web sites and email newsletters
  • Visiting competing businesses and/or reading the annual reports of competitors
  • The local Chamber of Commerce

When gathering market data you can use either primary or secondary research. Primary research means gathering your own data based on surveys, focus groups, and through other means. Secondary research means using other sources such as the United States Census Report, books, or trade magazines. Many businesses use a combination of both primary and secondary research.

Whether your goal is to expand into new markets, introduce a new product or service, or gauge customer reactions, even the smallest businesses can benefit from a simple but well-planned market-research study.

Market research helps you to understand your market, your customers, your competitors, and larger industry trends. High-quality research will reveal details about your current customers and will help you to target new customers. For example, before you open an organic produce market, find out if there's a demand for food grown without pesticides and whether customers will pay more for it.

In addition to the insight that you'll gain into customer needs, market-research studies can help you to avoid costly mistakes, such as introducing an unpopular new line of goods or developing a service that no one really wants. Coca-Cola's introduction of New Coke in the 1980s demonstrates what happens when decisions aren't supported by solid research. Coke revised the formula of its traditional brand of soft drink and lost millions in sales. By performing a study and determining what people thought of the new formula, the company could have avoided public-relations headaches.

When you establish a market-research study for your business, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Use the right sample. The research sample — your study's group of participants — has to be just the right size. Too large a sample is not cost effective, and too small a sample offers inaccurate results. You also need to have the right samples from your overall population. Even a sample as small as one percent of a market or group will work, as long as the sample truly reflects the overall geographic area or population that you want to query.
  • Mirror the market. Your surveys must reflect all of characteristics of the market from which it is drawn, such as geographical area or population group. Nielsen TV ratings are based on very small samplings of the overall audience, but they're accurate to a few percentage points. For example, if half of your target market is aged 65 and older and half is 30 and younger, make sure that the sample size accurately reflects this demographic. If one-third of your market lives in one town and two-thirds lives in another, your survey must reflect the geographic split in order to give you accurate and useful information.
  • Get quantifiable results. Successful studies follow proven approaches based on statistics and sampling. But don't worry — you don't need a PhD in mathematics. Most results can be tabulated with simple arithmetic and broken down into percentages that anyone can understand.

If you follow these guidelines, you'll collect information that can contribute to the success of your enterprise. In short, market-research studies can save you money, save you time, and — above all — save you from disaster.

Market research for business/planning

Market research is for discovering what people want, need, or believe. It can also involve discovering how they act. Once that research is completed, it can be used to determine how to market your product.

Questionnaires and focus group discussion surveys are some of the instruments for market research.

For starting up a business, there are some important things:

  • Market information

Through Market information one can know the prices of the different commodities in the market, as well as the supply and demand situation. Information about the markets can be obtained from different sources, varieties and formats, as well as the sources and varieties that have to be obtained to make the business work.

  • Market segmentation

Market segmentation is the division of the market or population into subgroups with similar motivations. It is widely used for segmenting on geographic differences, personality differences, demographic differences, technographic differences, use of product differences, psychographic differences and gender differences.

  • Market trends

Market trends are the upward or downward movement of a market, during a period of time. The market size is more difficult to estimate if one is starting with something completely new. In this case, you will have to derive the figures from the number of potential customers, or customer segments.

Besides information about the target market, one also needs information about one's competitors, customers, products, etc. Lastly, you need to measure marketing effectiveness. A few techniques are:

  • Customer analysis
  • Choice Modeling
  • Competitor analysis
  • Risk analysis
  • Product research
  • Advertising the research
  • Marketing mix modeling

The Five Basic Methods of Market Research

While there are many ways to perform market research, most businesses use one or more of five basic methods: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials. The type of data you need and how much money you're willing to spend will determine which techniques you choose for your business.

1. Surveys. With concise and straightforward questionnaires, you can analyze a sample group that represents your target market. The larger the sample, the more reliable your results will be.

In-person surveys are one-on-one interviews typically conducted in high-traffic locations such as shopping malls. They allow you to present people with samples of products, packaging, or advertising and gather immediate feedback. In-person surveys can generate response rates of more than 90 percent, but they are costly. With the time and labor involved, the tab for an in-person survey can run as high as INR 1000 per interview.

Telephone surveys are less expensive than in-person surveys, but costlier than mail. However, due to consumer resistance to relentless telemarketing, convincing people to participate in phone surveys has grown increasingly difficult. Telephone surveys generally yield response rates of 50 to 60 percent.

Mail surveys are a relatively inexpensive way to reach a broad audience. They're much cheaper than in-person and phone surveys, but they only generate response rates of 3 percent to 15 percent. Despite the low return, mail surveys remain a cost-effective choice for small businesses.

Online surveys usually generate unpredictable response rates and unreliable data, because you have no control over the pool of respondents. But an online survey is a simple, inexpensive way to collect anecdotal evidence and gather customer opinions and preferences.

2. Focus groups. In focus groups, a moderator uses a scripted series of questions or topics to lead a discussion among a group of people. These sessions take place at neutral locations, usually at facilities with videotaping equipment and an observation room with one-way mirrors. A focus group usually lasts one to two hours, and it takes at least three groups to get balanced results.

3. Personal interviews. Like focus groups, personal interviews include unstructured, open-ended questions. They usually last for about an hour and are typically recorded.

Focus groups and personal interviews provide more subjective data than surveys. The results are not statistically reliable, which means that they usually don't represent a large enough segment of the population. Nevertheless, focus groups and interviews yield valuable insights into customer attitudes and are excellent ways to uncover issues related to new products or service development.

4. Observation. Individual responses to surveys and focus groups are sometimes at odds with people's actual behavior. When you observe consumers in action by videotaping them in stores, at work, or at home, you can observe how they buy or use a product. This gives you a more accurate picture of customers' usage habits and shopping patterns.

5. Field trials. Placing a new product in selected stores to test customer response under real-life selling conditions can help you make product modifications, adjust prices, or improve packaging. Small business owners should try to establish rapport with local store owners and Web sites that can help them test their products.

Top 10 Market Research Mistakes

Market research is essential to understanding your customers and your competition. Market research can also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. But successful market research takes planning and strategy. Here are some of the most common mistakes businesses make in conducting market research and tips for avoiding them.

  1. Overspending. If you are smart about it, performing market research does not require a huge budget. But in their haste, many business owners shell out big bucks on the first market research firm that promises to provide them with all the data they could ever want on their target audience. If you are hiring an outside firm, shop around for the best deal.
  2. Not knowing what you are looking for. Doing market research in the hopes of discovering something (anything!) about your customers can be an exercise in futility. You should know what information you need before you even begin. Have questions ready for which you are seeking answers, such as "What are the specific needs of my customers?" or "How much would my customers be willing to spend on this product?"
  3. Poor choice of reference materials. The Internet is a great place to start your research. Business libraries are also worth visiting. But you must consider the source of the information you are getting. This is particularly a problem on the Internet, where sites can include dated or biased material. Research your research materials; check dates and double-check pertinent information.
  4. Not thoroughly researching the competition. Get as much information about your competition as you can. The more you know about how they are conducting business, their pricing, and their strengths and weakness, the more effectively you can establish your competitive edge.
  5. Not researching price information. If done properly, your market research should tell you what customers expect to spend and how high they will go to purchase a product or service like yours.
  6. Researching the wrong group. Before accumulating first-hand research from your customers, you need to have an idea of who they are. For example, a focus group must meet your demographic needs, and a survey must be answered by prospective customers. Often businesses make the mistake of gathering random data, much of which does not apply to their business needs.
  7. Not honing a good research instrument. Just handing out a questionnaire is not good enough. You need to be sure that your survey will provide you the answers you need. Take the time to hone a solid research instrument that helps you find out about your customer base.
  8. Not being aggressive enough in your research efforts. The best surveys or questionnaires are useless if you do not get customers to answer them. Businesses are often not aggressive enough and end up with piles of unanswered survey forms stacked up by the cash register.
  9. Relying on one set of data. Whether it is the U.S. Census or a survey you personally conducted, one set of data is rarely enough to get an overview of your target audience. Use various data, including information from primary and secondary resources.
  10. Ignoring your market research. The only thing worse than not doing market research at all is spending money on it and not utilizing the results. Some business owners also tend to toss good research aside just because it did not support the answers they wanted to see

Marketing research process is a set of six steps which defines the tasks to be accomplished in conducting a marketing research study. These include problem definition, developing an approach to problem, research design formulation, field work, data preparation and analysis, and report generation and presentation.

Stages of marketing research process

Step 1: Problem Definition

The first step in any marketing research project is to define the problem. In defining the problem, the researcher should take into account the purpose of the study, the relevant background information, what information is needed, and how it will be used in decision making. Problem definition involves discussion with the decision makers, interviews with industry experts, analysis of secondary data, and, perhaps, some qualitative research, such as focus groups. Once the problem has been precisely defined, the research can be designed and conducted properly.

If you are considering conducting marketing research, chances are you have already identified a problem and an ensuing informational need. Of the six steps in marketing research, this is always the first one. Your problem or issue will likely be recognized by one or more levels of management.

Step 2: Development of an Approach to the Problem

Development of an approach to the problem includes formulating an objective or theoretical framework, analytical models, research questions, hypotheses, and identifying characteristics or factors that can influence the research design. This process is guided by discussions with management and industry experts, case studies and simulations, analysis of secondary data, qualitative research and pragmatic considerations. Once your problem is better defined, you can move onto developing your approach. Generally speaking, your approach should be developed almost exclusively around a defined set of objectives. Clearer objectives developed in Step 1 will lend themselves to better approach development. Developing your approach should consist of an honest assessment of your team's market research skills, establishing a budget, understanding your environment and its influencing factors, developing an analysis model, and formulating hypotheses.

'Step 3: Research Design Formulation'

A research design is a framework or blueprint for conducting the marketing research project. It details the procedures necessary for obtaining the required information, and its purpose is to design a study that will test the hypotheses of interest, determine possible answers to the research questions, and provide the information needed for decision making. Conducting exploratory research, precisely defining the variables, and designing appropriate scales to measure them are also a part of the research design. The issue of how the data should be obtained from the respondents (for example, by conducting a survey or an experiment) must be addressed. It is also necessary to design a questionnaire and a sampling plan to select respondents for the study. Based upon a well-defined approach from Steps 1 & 2, a framework for the designing your marketing research program should be apparent.

This step is the most encompassing of all steps in marketing research, requiring the greatest amount of thought, time and expertise — and is the point at which the less experienced will obtain assistance from an internal/external market research experts. Since the intelligence eventually gained from the research is so closely related to the selected research design, this is the single most important six steps in marketing research, and the step most vulnerable to the typical research errors. Research design includes incorporating knowledge from secondary information analysis, qualitative research, methodology selection, question measurement & scale selection, questionnaire design, sample design & size and determining data analysis to be used.

More formally, formulating the research design involves the following steps:

  1. Secondary data analysis
  2. Qualitative research
  3. Methods of collecting quantitative data (survey, observation, and experimentation)
  4. Definition of the information needed
  5. Measurement and scaling procedures
  6. Questionnaire design
  7. Sampling process and sample size
  8. Plan of data analysis

Step 4: Field Work or Data Collection

Often called data collection or survey fielding, this is the point at which the finalized questionnaire (survey instrument) is used in gathering information among the chosen sample segments. There are a variety of data collection methodologies to consider. Data collection involves a field force or staff that operates either in the field, as in the case of personal interviewing (in-home, mall intercept, or computer-assisted personal interviewing), from an office by telephone (telephone or computer-assisted telephone interviewing), or through mail (traditional mail and mail panel surveys with pre-recruited households). Proper selection, training, supervision, and evaluation of the field force helps minimize data-collection errors.

Step 5: Data Preparation and Analysis

Data preparation includes the editing, coding, transcription, and verification of data. Each questionnaire or observation form is inspected, or edited, and, if necessary, corrected. Number or letter codes are assigned to represent each response to each question in the questionnaire. The data from the questionnaires are transcribed or key-punched on to magnetic tape, or disks or input directly into the computer. Verification ensures that the data from the original questionnaires have been accurately transcribed, while data analysis, guided by the plan of data analysis, gives meaning to the data that have been collected. Univariate techniques are used for analyzing data when there is a single measurement of each element or unit in the sample, or, if there are several measurements of each element, each RCH variable is analyzed in isolation. On the other hand, multivariate techniques are used for analyzing data when there are two or more measurements on each element and the variables are analyzed simultaneously.

All analysis that can be performed, from complex to simple, depends on how the questionnaire was constructed. Less complex analysis on smaller data sets can be handled with any of a number of office suite tools, while more complex analysis and larger data sets require dedicated market research analysis software. Types of analysis that might be performed are simple frequency distributions, cross tab analysis, multiple regression (driver analysis), cluster analysis, factor analysis, perceptual mapping (multidimensional scaling), structural equation modeling and data mining

Step 6: Report Preparation and Presentation

The entire project should be documented in a written report which addresses the specific research questions identified, describes the approach, the research design, data collection, and data analysis procedures adopted and presents the results and the major findings. The findings should be presented in a comprehensible format so that they can be readily used in the decision making process. In addition, an oral presentation should be made to management using tables, figures, and graphs to enhance clarity and impact.

Reporting and presentation, if not the most important of the steps in marketing research, is easily the second behind research design. All business critical information and knowledge that comes from your market research investment are limited by how they are presented to decision makers. There are as many reporting styles as there are research reports, but some are definitely better than others, and there are definitely trends to be aware of.

For these reasons, interviews with experts are more useful in conducting marketing research for industrial firms and for products of a technical nature, where it is relatively easy to identify and approach the experts. This method is also helpful in situations where little information is available from other sources, as in the case of radically new products.

Secondary data analysis

Secondary data are data collected for some purpose other than the problem at hand. Primary data, on the other hand, are originated by the researcher for the specific purpose of addressing the research problem. Secondary data include information made available by business and government sources, commercial marketing research firms, and computerized databases. Secondary data are an economical and quick source of background information. Analysis of available secondary data is an essential step in the problem definition process: primary data should not be collected until the available secondary data have been fully analyzed.

Qualitative research

Information, industry experts, and secondary data may not be sufficient to define the research problem. Sometimes qualitative research must be undertaken to gain a qualitative understanding of the problem and its underlying factors. Qualitative research is unstructured, exploratory in nature, based on small samples, and may utilize popular qualitative techniques such as focus groups (group interviews), word association (asking respondents to indicate their first responses to stimulus words), and depth interviews (one-on-one interviews which probe the respondents' thoughts in detail). Other exploratory research techniques, such as pilot surveys with small samples of respondents, may also be undertaken.

Marketing Research Steps: Marketing Research Approach

Once your problem is better defined, you can move onto developing marketing research approach, which will generally be around a defined set of objectives.

Clear objectives developed in Step 1 will lend themselves to better marketing research approach development. Developing your approach should consist of honestly assessing you and your team's market research skills, establishing a budget, understanding your environment and its influencing factors, developing an analysis model, and formulating hypotheses.

Project Analysis

    • How difficult is the project to execute?
    • Is it a large sample (500+) or small sample (<200)?
    • Will the project need advanced analysis?
    • What are the likely methodological approaches?
    • Is in-depth and detailed reporting or executive summary reporting needed?

Skills Analysis

    • Is there in-house market research available to meet project needs?
    • Is the in-house market research expertise available during the given timeframe?
    • What parts of the market research process can be handled internally?

Budget Analysis

    • Is this a strategic problem/issue or a tactical one?
    • What is the information worth?
    • Where will the budget come from, and can it be shared between departments?
    • Who are those most likely to benefit from the research, and likely those most willing to fund the project?
    • In what timeframe will budget be available?

Environment

    • What is the overall economic environment?
    • What is the economic environment relative to your products/services?
    • What is the governmental environment (regulatory, etc.)?

Overall Theory of the Marketing Research Approach

    • What is your overall theory and hypothesis?
    • What do you intend to prove or disprove?
    • What actions are your company willing to take based upon survey results?
    • What are the internal/external roadblocks that will need to be overcome to drive results?

Types of Media:

Media especially refers to two main divisions, the print media such as Newspapers & Magazines and the electronic media such as Radio and Television. The role of the media in a democratic country is to relay the facts to the people (tell them what they NEED to know). Media is considered as a mirror of the society and to be the 4th pillar of the society. The other three being legislative, executive and judiciary.

Media especially categorized in to two main divisions. One is Print Media and another one is Electronic Media.

Print Media would be Newspapers and Magazines.
Electronic Media would be Radio and Television.

Newspapers & Magazines: A publication that appears regularly and frequently carries news about a wide variety of current events. One of the most important functions of the newspaper -- a crucial function in a democracy -- is to provide citizens with information on government and politics.

Radio & Television:

Radio is a wireless transmission through space of electromagnetic waves in the approximate frequency range from 10 kilohertz to 300,000 megahertz. Communication of audible signals encoded in electromagnetic waves. Transmission of programs for the public by radio broadcast. An apparatus used to transmit radio signals; a transmitter. An apparatus used to receive radio signals; a receiver.

Television is the transmission of visual images of moving and stationary objects, generally with accompanying sound, as electromagnetic waves and the reconversion of received waves into visual images. An electronic apparatus that receives electromagnetic waves and displays the reconverted images on a screen. The integrated audible and visible content of the electromagnetic waves received and converted by such an apparatus. The industry of producing and broadcasting television programs.

The Different Types of Media

Daily newspapers

Daily newspapers cover national, state, and local education initiatives; elementary and secondary school education; and other related topics from many different angles - from writing a profile on a state education leader to covering a local school board meeting.

Weekly newspapers

Weekly newspapers (or "weeklies") are usually either suburban papers found in close proximity to large cities or rural papers that provide isolated areas with a link to the nearest town or county seat. They may be offered for sale at newsstands, by subscription, or distributed free of charge.

Weeklies primarily focus on events and issues that are directly tied to the communities they serve. Most week­lies also offer a calendar of area events. Contact the calendar editor about upcoming community meetings or other events.

Wire services

Wire services, such as the Associated Press (AP) or Reuters, are national or international news organizations that provide print and broadcast media around the country with up-to-the-minute news. The information is transmitted directly into the news room through telephone lines, microwave signals, or other electronic means of delivery.

Magazines

Magazines generally offer more comprehensive, in depth coverage of a subject than newspapers. Consequently, they also demand longer lead times. Many magazines have editorial calendars, which provide information about special issues or features planned for the year. To find out what a magazine has planned, request an editorial calendar from the magazine's advertising department at the beginning of each year.

Television

Television is different from all other media in that it demands visual presentation of your message

Radio

Radio programming offers a variety of formats for communicating to a number of distinct audiences. Each radio station offers regular and special programming combinations.

  • News programs provide a vehicle for releasing important and breaking news. Radio newscasts usually air at least twice every hour, allowing your statement to be edited into many sound bites for repeated use throughout the day.
  • Regularly scheduled programs (interviews, talk ­shows, etc.) provide a public platform to discuss education reform and your community's efforts to achieve education goals in greater length and detail than in normal radio newscasts - which are generally very brief.
  • Call-in shows often serve as the modern equivalent of the town meeting. The most common tend to focus on issues of controversy and community concern. Although call-in programs can be unpredictable, they are very popular with the general public in large and small markets, and extremely influential in determining public opinion.
  • Public service and public affairs programs are regularly or specially scheduled programs that usually feature a recognizable host.
  • Explanation of the different types of media with the advantages and disadvantages:

Newspapers:

Newspapers are one of the traditional mediums used by businesses, both big and small alike, to advertise their businesses.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Allows you to reach a huge number of people in a given geographic area
  • You have the flexibility in deciding the ad size and placement within the newspaper
  • Your ad can be as large as necessary to communicate as much of a story as you care to tell
  • Exposure to your ad is not limited; readers can go back to your message again and again if so desired.
  • Free help in creating and producing ad copy is usually available
  • Quick turn-around helps your ad reflect the changing market conditions. The ad you decide to run today can be in your customers' hands in one to two days.
  • Ad space can be expensive
  • Your ad has to compete against the clutter of other advertisers, including the giants ads run by supermarkets and department stores as well as the ads of your competitors
  • Poor photo reproduction limits creativity
  • Newspapers are a price-oriented medium; most ads are for sales
  • Expect your ad to have a short shelf life, as newspapers are usually read once and then discarded.
  • You may be paying to send your message to a lot of people who will probably never be in the market to buy from you.
  • Newspapers are a highly visible medium, so your competitors can quickly react to your prices
  • With the increasing popularity of the Internet, newspapers face declining readership and market penetration. A growing number of readers now skip the print version of the newspaper (and hence the print ads) and instead read the online version of the publication.

Magazines:

Magazines are a more focused, albeit more expensive, alternative to newspaper advertising. This medium allows you to reach highly targeted audiences.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Allows for better targeting of audience, as you can choose magazine publications that cater to your specific audience or whose editorial content specializes in topics of interest to your audience.
  • High reader involvement means that more attention will be paid to your advertisement
  • Better quality paper permits better color reproduction and full-color ads
  • The smaller page (generally 8 ½ by 11 inches) permits even small ads to stand out
  • Long lead times mean that you have to make plans weeks or months in advance
  • The slower lead time heightens the risk of your ad getting overtaken by events
  • There is limited flexibility in terms of ad placement and format.
  • Space and ad layout costs are higher

Yellow Pages:

There are several forms of Yellow Pages that you can use to promote and advertise your business. Aside from the traditional Yellow Pages supplied by phone companies, you can also check out specialized directories targeted to specific markets (e.g. Hispanic Yellow Pages, Blacks, etc.); interactive or consumer search databases; Audiotex or talking yellow pages; Internet directories containing national, local and regional listings; and other services classified as Yellow Pages.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Wide availability, as mostly everyone uses the Yellow Pages
  • Non-intrusive
  • Action-oriented, as the audience is actually looking for the ads
  • Ads are reasonably inexpensive
  • Responses are easily tracked and measured
  • Frequency
  • Pages can look cluttered, and your ad can easily get lost in the clutter
  • Your ad is placed together with all your competitors
  • Limited creativity in the ads, given the need to follow a pre-determined format
  • Ads slow to reflect market changes

Radio:

Offers a wide range of publicity possibilities. It is a mobile medium suited to a mobile people. It reaches the bedroom and breakfast table in the morning and rides to and from work in the car, lulls us to sleep at night and goes along to the beach, to the woods and on fishing trips, a flexibility no other medium can match.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Radio is a universal medium enjoyed by people at one time or another during the day, at home, at work, and even in the car.
  • The vast array of radio program formats offers to efficiently target your advertising dollars to narrowly defined segments of consumers most likely to respond to your offer.
  • Gives your business personality through the creation of campaigns using sounds and voices
  • Free creative help is often available
  • Rates can generally be negotiated
  • During the past ten years, radio rates have seen less inflation than those for other media
  • Because radio listeners are spread over many stations, you may have to advertise simultaneously on several stations to reach your target audience
  • Listeners cannot go back to your ads to go over important points
  • Ads are an interruption in the entertainment. Because of this, a radio ad may require multiple exposure to break through the listener's "tune-out" factor and ensure message retention
  • Radio is a background medium. Most listeners are doing something else while listening, which means that your ad has to work hard to get their attention.

Television:

A medium that permits the use of the printed world, spoken word, pictures in motion, color, music, animation and sound effects all blend into one message, possesses immeasurable potency. Television has become a dominant force, the primary source of news and entertainment and a powerful soapbox from which citizens protests can be communicated to the nation and the world. This medium has greatly altered national election campaigns and has diminished the role of the political parties. Events made large by TV shape public opinion worldwide.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Television permits you to reach large numbers of people on a national or regional level in a short period of time
  • Independent stations and cable offer new opportunities to pinpoint local audiences
  • Television being an image-building and visual medium, it offers the ability to convey your message with sight, sound and motion
  • Message is temporary, and may require multiple exposure for the ad to rise above the clutter
  • Ads on network affiliates are concentrated in local news broadcasts and station breaks
  • Preferred ad times are often sold out far in advance
  • Limited length of exposure, as most ads are only thirty seconds long or less, which limits the amount of information you can communicate
  • Relatively expensive in terms of creative, production and airtime costs

Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals, or services. It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. These brands are usually paid for or identified through sponsors and viewed via various media. Advertising can also serve to communicate an idea to a mass amount of people in an attempt to convince them to take a certain action, such as encouraging 'environmentally friendly' behaviors, and even unhealthy behaviors through food consumption, video game and television viewing promotion, and a "lazy man" routine through a loss of exercise .

Modern advertising developed with the rise of mass production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mass media can be defined as any media meant to reach a mass amount of people. Several types of mass media are television, internet, radio, news programs, and published pictures and articles. Commercial advertisers often seek to generate increased consumption of their products or services through branding, which involves the repetition of an image or product name in an effort to associate related qualities with the brand in the minds of consumers. Different types of media can be used to deliver these messages, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor or direct mail; or new media such as websites and text messages. Advertising may be placed by an advertising agency on behalf of a company or other organization.

Non-commercial advertisers that spend money to advertise items other than a consumer product or service include political parties, interest groups, religious organizations and governmental agencies. Nonprofit organizations may rely on free modes of persuasion, such as a public service announcement.

Major Methods of Advertising (Repeatedly Getting Message Out)

Brochures or flyers

-- Many desk-top publishing and word-processing software packages can produce highly attractive tri-fold (an 8.5 inch by 11-inch sheet folded in thirds) brochures. Brochures can contain a great deal of information if designed well, and are becoming a common method of advertising. (See Writing Brochures.)

Direct mail -- Mail sent directly from you to your customers can be highly customized to suit their nature and needs. You may want to build a mailing list of your current and desired customers. Collect addresses from customers by noticing addresses on their checks, asking them to fill out information cards, etc. Keep the list online and up-to-date. Mailing lists can quickly become out-of-date. Notice mailings that get returned to you. This should be used carefully and it can incur substantial cost, you don't want to inundate your stakeholders with information so make the most of your message. (See Using Direct Mail and Mailing Lists.)

E-mail messages -- These can be wonderful means to getting the word out about your business. Design your e-mail software to include a "signature line" at the end of each of your e-mail messages. Many e-mail software packages will automatically attach this signature line to your e-mail, if you prefer. (See Netiquette - Techniques and styles of writing e-mail messages and E-mail vs. voice mail.)

Magazines -- Magazines ads can get quite expensive. Find out if there's a magazine that focuses on your particular industry. If there is one, then the magazine can be very useful because it already focuses on your market and potential customers. Consider placing an ad or writing a short article for the magazine. Contact a reporter to introduce yourself. Reporters are often on the look out for new stories and sources from which to collect quotes. (See Classifieds of Newspapers and Magazines.)

Newsletters -- This can be powerful means to conveying the nature of your organization and its services. Consider using a consultant for the initial design and layout. Today's desktop publishing tools can generate very interesting newsletters quite inexpensively. (See Newsletters.)

Newspapers (major) - Almost everyone reads the local, major newspaper(s). You can get your business in the newspaper by placing ads, writing a letter to the editor or working with a reporter to get a story written about your business. Advertising can get quite expensive. Newspaper are often quite useful in giving advice about what and how to advertise. Know when to advertise -- this depends on the buying habits of your customers. (See Classifieds of Newspapers and Magazines.)

Newspapers (neighborhood) -- Ironically, these are often forgotten in lieu of major newspapers, yet the neighborhood newspapers are often closest to the interests of the organization's stakeholders. (See Classifieds of Newspapers and Magazines.)

Online discussion groups and chat groups -- As with e-mail, you can gain frequent exposure to yourself and your business by participating in online discussion groups and chat groups. Note, however, that many groups have strong ground rules against blatant advertising. When you join a group, always check with the moderator to understand what is appropriate. (See the groups listed on the right-hand side, Netiquette - Techniques and styles of writing e-mail messages and E-mail vs. voice mail.)

Posters and bulletin boards -- Posters can be very powerful when placed where your customers will actually notice them. But think of how often you've actually noticed posters and bulletin boards yourself. Your best bet is to place the posters on bulletin boards and other places which your customers frequent, and always refresh your posters with new and colorful posters that will appear new to passers by. Note that some businesses and municipalities have regulations about the number of size of posters that can be placed in their areas. (See Signs and Displays.)

Radio announcements -- A major advantage of radio ads is they are usually cheaper than television ads, and many people still listen to the radio, for example, when in their cars. Ads are usually sold on a package basis that considers the number of ads, the length of ads and when they are put on the air. . A major consideration with radio ads is to get them announced at the times that your potential customers are listening to the radio. (See Advertising on Radio and T.V.)

Telemarketing -- The use of telemarketing is on the rise. (See Telemarketing.)

Television ads -- Many people don't even consider television ads because of the impression that the ads are very expensive. They are more expensive than most of major forms of advertising. However, with the increasing number of television networks and stations, businesses might find good deals for placing commercials or other forms of advertisements. Television ads usually are priced with similar considerations to radio ads, that is, the number of ads, the length of ads and when they are put on the air. (See Advertising on Radio and T.V.)

Web pages -- You probably would not have seen this means of advertising on a list of advertising methods if you had read a list even two years ago. Now, advertising and promotions on the World Wide Web are almost commonplace. Businesses are developing Web pages sometimes just to appear up-to-date. Using the Web for advertising requires certain equipment and expertise, including getting a computer, getting an Internet service provider, buying (usually renting) a Website name, designing and installing the Website graphics and other functions as needed (for example, an online store for e-commerce), promoting the Website (via various search engines, directories, etc.) and maintaining the Website. (See Building, Managing and Promoting Your Website and Online Advertising and Promotions.)

Yellow Pages --The Yellow Pages can be very effective advertising if your ads are well-placed in the directory's categories of services, and the name of your business is descriptive of your services and/or your ad stands out (for example, is bolded, in a large box on the page, etc.). The phone company will offer free advice about placing your ad in the Yellow Pages. They usually have special packages where you get a business phone line along with a certain number of ads.

Promotional Activities Through the Media (Reporters, Newspapers, etc.)

Articles that you write -- Is there something in your industry or market about you have a strong impression? Consider writing an article for the local newspaper or a magazine. In your article, use the opportunity to describe what you're doing to address the issue through use of your business. (See Basic Writing Skills.)

Editorials and letters to the editor-- Often, program providers are experts at their service and understanding a particular need in the community; newspapers often take strong interest in information about these needs, so staff should regularly offer articles (of about 200 to 900 words) for publication. (See Managing Media Relations and Basic Writing Skills.)

Press kits -- This kit is handy when working with the media or training employees about working with the media. The kit usually includes information about your business, pictures, information about your products, commentary from happy customers, etc. (See Managing Media Relations.)

Press releases or news alerts -- They alert the press to a major event or accomplishment and requesting, e.g., it get included in the newspaper; they explain who, what, where, why and when; some include pictures, quotes, etc. to make it easier for the reporter to develop an announcement or story. (See Managing Media Relations.)

Public service announcements (PSA)s -- Many radio and some television stations will provide public service announcements for nonprofit efforts. Usually, these PSAs are free.

Types of Advertising

8 Different Ways to Advertise Products and Services

Here are eight ways to advertise a product or service. Many businesses will not need to use all types of advertising but can benefit from incorporating one or two.

Here are eight ways to advertise a product or service. Many businesses will not need to use all types of advertising but can benefit from incorporating one or two.

Advertising persuades members of a particular market to take some form of action, such as buying a product or service. There are many ways to spread an advertising message. A good ad campaign incorporates several types of advertising to get maximum exposure.

Television Advertising

TV commercials are a popular way to mass-market messages to large audiences. Although this medium has the ability to reach a high number of potential buyers, it is also one of the most costly forms of advertising. For example, one 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl cost about $3 million in 2009.

Infomercials are another form of television advertising. The infomercial is different than a commercial because it is longer, includes more product information, and has more of a personal tone. Although they are also costly to produce, infomercials are highly effective in creating impulse buys because of their demonstrative and persuasive nature.

Radio Advertising

Radio commercials are an effective way for businesses to target a group of people based on location or similar tastes. For example, a local night club seeking college student clientele would probably consider advertising on a local pop station. Likewise, a country and western bar would choose a local country station.

Print Advertising

Magazine and newspaper ads are another way to spread the word about a product or service. Print also offers the ability to target a specific audience based on geography or common interests. Print advertising usually includes larger display ads, as well as classified advertising. The classifieds are typically very affordable, whereas display ads are a bit more pricey.

Online Advertising

Advertising online is an increasingly popular method for promoting a business. There are many forms of online advertising. Banner ads are image ads displayed on web pages. Google AdWords is another popular form of online advertising that matches an ad to an Internet user's search inquiry.

How to Run Successful Online Marketing Campaigns

The benefits of online marketing are enormous but can be achieved only when one knows how to run an effective internet campaign. Here are key tips for internet marketing

Social network marketing has been the fastest-growing form of Internet advertising. This includes using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote a product or service. Many social networks have advertising available, such as Facebook Ads.

Billboard Advertising

Billboard ads are large advertisements displayed on structures in public places. Most commonly, billboards are located along highways to target passing motorists. Another type of billboard advertising is a mobile banner or billboard. This can range from the signs seen at major sporting event arenas to billboard advertisements pasted on the sides of semi trailers.

In-Store Advertising

In-store advertising takes place within a retail store. For example, a company that produces a new cleaning product might include an end cap display when they ship the product to stores. This gives the store an attractive display that draws attention to the new product. Other types of in-store advertising include banners and display cases.

Word of Mouth Advertising

While some may argue that word of mouth is not advertising because it's free, this form of promotion is one of the most credible and priceless assets of any business. Even if business owners can't buy word of mouth advertising, they can encourage their customers to tell their friends and family about the great product or service they purchased.

Endorsements

Endorsement is similar to word of mouth promotion but typically does cost money. Having a product or service endorsed by a celebrity can increase sales and product awareness. Not every company can afford to have a major A-list celeb promoting a product, though. For smaller companies, consider using local celebrities or well-known individuals within the product's niche market. For example, many equine companies look for professional horse trainers to endorse their products.

Which Type of Advertising is Best?

The best type of advertising depends on the business or organization and its particular needs. If a company needs mass-market exposure and has the capital, television advertising is probably a good fit. For a local company on a budget, a customer referral program to stimulate word of mouth might be the best option. The best advertising campaigns typically involve several forms of media to effectively gain maximum exposure.

MARKETING COMMUNICATION

As the term suggests, marketing communication functions within a marketing framework. Traditionally known as the promotional element of the four Ps of marketing (product, place, price, and promotion), the primary goal of marketing communication is to reach a defined audience to affect its behavior by informing, persuading, and reminding. Marketing communication acquires new customers for brands by building awareness and encouraging trial. Marketing communication also maintains a brand's current customer base by reinforcing their purchase behavior by providing additional information about the brand's benefits. A secondary goal of marketing communication is building and reinforcing relationships with customers, prospects, retailers, and other important stakeholders.

Successful marketing communication relies on a combination of options called the promotional mix. These options include advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and personal selling. The Internet has also become a powerful tool for reaching certain important audiences. The role each element takes in a marketing communication program relies in part on whether a company employs a push strategy or a pull strategy. A pull strategy relies more on consumer demand than personal selling for the product to travel from the manufacturer to the end user. The demand generated by advertising, public relations, and sales promotion "pulls" the good or service through the channels of distribution. A push strategy, on the other hand, emphasizes personal selling to push the product through these channels.

Elements of Marketing Communication

For marketing communication to be successful, however, sound management decisions must be made in the other three areas of the marketing mix: the product, service or idea itself; the price at which the brand will be offered; and the places at or through which customers may purchase the brand. The best promotion cannot overcome poor product quality, inordinately high prices, or insufficient retail distribution.

Likewise, successful marketing communication relies on sound management decisions regarding the coordination of the various elements of the promotional mix. To this end, a new way of viewing marketing comm