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Communication Mix for Services External Communication Communication efforts serve to not only attract new users but also maintain contact with an organizations existing customers and build relationship with them. e.g. Telephone, Fax, Website, octors chec! up reminders, "nsurance reminders, #an!s small letters etc. Internal communication $ar!eting communications can be used to communicate with service employees as well as with external customer. "nternal communication from senior managers to their employees play a vital role in maintaining and nurturing a corporate culture founded on specific service values
Marketing communications, in one form or another, are essential to a company's success. Enterprise Rent-a-Car could not have built its business without personal selling and advertising. ithout effective communications, few prospects would ever have learned of enterprise's e!istence, what it had to offer them, and how to use its services. "n the absence of follow-up sales calls, a user-friendly eb site, and good signage, customers might be more easily lured away by competitors and competitive offerings, and there would be no proactive management and control of the firm's identity. #o managers need to debate the $uestion% How should we communicate what our service has to offer? Much confusion surrounds the scope of marketing communication. #ome people still define it narrowly as the use of paid media advertising, public relations, and professional salespeople. &ut this view doesn't recogni'e the many other ways that a firm can communicate with its customers. (he location and atmosphere of a service delivery facility, corporate design features like the consistent use of colours and graphic elements, the appearance-and-behaviour of employees, eb site design... )ll of these factors contribute to an impression in the customer's mind. hen a company is organi'ed to create service value, it must communicate this to its customers and prospects in order to reinforce and make that value succeed. ) service is more difficult to communicate because it is invisible. Communication plays a crucial role in creating and maintaining a service reputation. "t is the art of making the service value more visible and reinforcing the company's core values. Listening: A Prerequisite for Effective Communication (he first obstacle in communicating effectively is the inability of a. company to listen to its customers. (he roots of a good service reputation are the core values built overtime by a company. (hese core values are translated into activities and tasks that create a customer-focused philosophy within the organi'ation. *istening to customers is a prere$uisite of effective communication. hen a firm does not have a customer-focused philosophy, communication is often the result of efforts to build the company's image or employees' attempt to please their managers. "n fact+ - ,ou must know what your customers want. - ,ou must be able to communicate to them that you have what they want. - ,ou must be able to deliver on that promise or they are not coming back. - ,ou need to deliver what they want "t becomes a circle. ,ou communicate what you are, you provide the service, you ask the customers if it is what they wanted, and then you go back and you refine your product. ,ou communicate that message, you deliver that service, you measure, and

you change.
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1. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION Marketing communications principles should be used to communicate with service employees as well with e!ternal customers. "nternal communications from senior managers to their employees play important role in maintaining and nurturing a corporate culture founded on specific service values. ell-planned internal marketing efforts are especially necessary in large service businesses that operate in widely dispersed sites, sometimes around the world. Even when employees are working far from the head office in the home country, they still need to be kept informed of new policies, changes in service features, and new $uality initiatives. Communications may also be needed to nurture team spirit and support common corporate goals. Consider the challenge of maintaining a unified sense of purpose at the overseas offices of companies such as Citibank, )ir Canada, Marriott, or Mc0onalds, where people from different cultures who speak different languages must work together to create consistent levels of service. Effective internal communications can help ensure efficient and satisfactory service delivery, achieve productive and harmonious working relationships, and build employee rust, respect, and loyalty. Commonly used media include internal newsletters and maga'ines, videotapes, private corporate television networks like those owned by -edE! and Merrill *ynch, "ntranets 8private networks of eb sites and e-mail that are inaccessible to the general public9, face-to-face briefings, and promotional campaigns using displays, pri'es, and recognition programs. !. E"TERNAL COMMUNICATION A A REIN#ORCEMENT $ TEM E!ternal communication plays two ma:or goals% reinforcing the firm's core values and making the service value more visible. "t is essential that employees see consistency in the company's e!ternal communication and its internal communication in order to help reinforce the company's shared values in them. hen disseminating sensitive information, the company must decide who 8whether the customers or the employees9 will receive the message first. Managing Customers% E&'ectations an( Leveraging ervice )a*ue (he ob:ective of e!ternal communication is to communicate the service value to customers. #ervice value is the difference between the benefits offered to customers and the customers' sacrifices to ac$uire the service. Most of the marketing activities tend to increase the perception of benefits to customers. #ome service companies tend to use advertising to make the customer believe that the firm delivers e!ceptional value. hen a company's marketing department over promises, the customer's e!pectations increase and when the company is unable to deliver, the customer develops a negative perception of the service value. -igure ;.< illustrates how the marketing communication activities influence the customer's perception of both service $uality and service value. *eading service companies use communication as a way of managing the customer%s e&'ectation and ma!imi'ing the service value perceived by customers. Every communication activity reinforces the perceived service value so that the communication strategy is actually a long-term reinforcement process. &eing customer focused, these companies know that customers are becoming more demanding and that their competitors are also improving their service $uality. (hey understand that today, 1good is not good enough1 and that they must delight their customers to enhance their service reputation. -igure ;.= illustrates the hierarchy of customer's e!pectations in relation to the benefits offered by the service provider. Leveraging the service value through e!ternal communication should be the main ob:ective for any marketing department. (he key issue is how to manage customers' e!pectations. Customers now do not want to :ust hear promises, they want to see what a firm actually delivers. (o develop a strong service reputation, a firm must have both good communication and a strong internal customer-focused culture. (he service culture is reinforced by an effective e!ternal communication as illustrated in -igure ;.>. E!ternal communication is

more effective because it finds its roots in the company core values. ) service company has a strong image because it has a strong identity. Creating a trong +ran( Image ) brand is an e!ternal indication that a product or service has received an organi'ation's imprint. (he brand name communicates directly to customers information about the products or service characteristics. "t also conveys information about the service $uality and service value delivered by the company. ) brand name also represents the company's employees, its service offerings and the customers as well. hen a brand name is built around the above characteristics, the customer is likely to have positive feelings and emotions about the brand. ) strong brand name is about the customer e!perience matching that of the service promise and the positive image that the company has built. ) brand name is useful to customers because it helps them make a choice with some criteria. ) brand name associated with a strong image is a timesaving reference for customers because reduces the need to search for information on different companies before making a decision. ) brand name effectively reduces the perceived risk for a customer in making the wrong decision. ) strong image has many advantages to a company% - "t supports brand loyalty - "t increases the brand differentiation relative to competitors - "t increases the perceived service value )t creates a barrier to entry - "t facilitates frontline people's work. "t reduces the importance of failure - "t improves the employees' attitude+ they are proud to work for the company - "t facilitates the selection of good employees by increasing the number of candidates - "t attracts potential investors *eading service companies have been able to create a strong image and for some a worldwide reputation by building a strong culture. (hey are able to understand their brand identity+ their internal and e!ternal communication e!presses the brand's essence. +ran( Image an( +ran( I(entit, #ervice companies that do not have a clear idea of their identity tend to imitate their competitors? (hat mean they cannot differentiate their brands. (hey try to reach and serve all segments because they are not sure who their customers are. (hey are always
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adopting the latest management fad, tossing their employees from one management guru to another or they blame their advertising agency for their communication problems. Managers often confuse the concept of brand identity with that of brand image. (he differences between the two concepts are essential and listed in the table below. "dentity comes from the sender's side and is a result of a pro:ect initiated by the top management who should initiate, agree and communicate the core values of the firm, which are the source ingredients of brand identity. "mage is on the receiver's, or customer's side and it is the result of the customer's interpretation of the signals sent by a firm. "dentity is, therefore, antecedent to image. "dentity comes from the sender's side and is a result of a pro:ect initiated by the top management who should initiate, agree and communicate the core values of the firm, which are the source ingredients of brand identity. "mage is on the receiver's, or customer's side and it is the result of the customer's interpretation of the signal-s sent by a firm. "dentity is, therefore, antecedent to image identity is uni$ue. ) company can' change its image and look through an advertising campaign or a new corporate identity program. 6owever, when the new look does not match the company's identity, i.e., the product or service e!perience, the customers become very cynical about the change. (herefore, thinking about its identity or about the brand values is the first step in the e!ternal communication process. earc-ing for .armon, "t is crucial for a firm to have a strong image, particularly in the services industry where it is difficult to achieve brand differentiation. (he process of developing a strong brand is

not complicated in itself. )n effective communication process within a company is like managing an orchestra. 6armony is re$uired between the director of the orchestra and its musicians to produce great music and a successful performance. 6armony is achieved when the company core values are the source of each business activity. (his enables the company to build and protect its brand territory. 6owever the brand values, or attributes of a brand, are not necessarily similar to the company's values. (he brand values should at least reflect the core values of the company. (he outcomes are intentional, differentiated and valuable to the customer in both tangible and intangible ways. @uestions that assess whether marketing and communication activities support brand value% A 0oes the new advertising campaign suit the brand valueB A 0oes the sales promotion destroy the brand identityB A 0oes the new service fit the brand territoryB A 0oes the behaviour of the frontline people align with the brand valueB A Can the brand sponsor a certain sporting eventB A hat kind of salespeople do we need to recruit in respect to company valuesB hen the company core values are used as a filter in making business decisions, there is a greater chance that the company ac$uires self-discipline and acts according to the values. (here is consistency between the way service is delivered and the way that service is communicated to customers. (he service culture is reinforced and the company's image gains more credibility 8-igure ;.C9. /. MA0IN1 T.E ER)ICE )ALUE MORE )I I+LE )lthough service is invisible, in some specific situations it is possible for a firm to show customers its service value. (he customer is the only :udge of the firm's service value. hat the customer sees and feels is the most important element. Managing the customer's perception during the moment of truth is a key issue. #ervice interaction is always the moment of truth. "t is critical that service value be visible when the customer actually e!periences the service during the service interaction. "t is the best way for a firm to make its service value more visible. 0uring that time, the service performance must meet, or ideally e!ceed a customer's e!pectations. "f the firm is unable to deliver service $uality, it is not likely to change that customer's perception through e!ternal communication activities. ) customer's perception is more affected by his e!periences than by what he may see or hear. hen the service is not delivered according to customer's e!pectations 8and it is very difficult to achieve perfect performance in services9, it is not too late to create a positive impression. (he ability to maintain a high standard of service $uality during service interaction is definitively a sustainable competitive advantage. "t is something that competitors cannot copy immediately. #ervice $uality has two dimensions. (he first one, technical $uality, is related to the service benefits offered to customers. (hese benefits must meet or e!ceed customer's e!pectations. "t can be said that technical $uality is the hard element of a service. (he second dimension, relational $uality, is the soft element and characteri'es the nature of the relationship between the company and the customer during the service delivery. Relational $uality is largely influenced by service style, which is particularly important because it is the service part that is most visible to customers. "t is critical for a service company to define its service style and to ensure that its frontline people understand the kind of service the company wants to deliver. hen the service style is well defined, it can be delivered consistently with positive impact on customers. 1aining me(ia su''ort *eading service companies1 deliver great service and are able to gain media support. Educating :ournalists about the way an industry operates enhances, mutual understanding. 4ood relationships with the media are fundamental for the company's visibility and reputation. #ervice companies are using a proactive approach in their

relationships with media. (he relationship is based on the company's willingness to cooperate with an open attitude and with integrity. 0elivering core messages consistently to different targets is a good way to make the service more visible. (hese messages help customers shape the firm's image and they reinforce customer's perception after he e!perienced the service. ervicing t-e communit, (he leading companies are more visible than their competitors for many reasons. -irst, they deliver better service than their competitors and are more successful. #econd, they obtain media support by being proactive in their relationships, and finally, they increase their visibility by being involved in community activities. (hey are very focused on serving their customers but with broad perspectives. (hey are very proactive with their environment. 8#ponsoring sports, education, welfare, arts, culture...9 E(ucating customers Educating customers about how to use the service increases the customer perception about service value. Customers need to be educated, especially when the business environment changes and traditional structures and practices become obsolete. Companies like 06* need to educate their customers about their new services and try to collaborate with them, as partners, while using the service. A(vertising tangi2*e c*ues )dvertising is the most traditional way to communicate service value to e!ternal customers. Many companies tend to invest lots of money in advertising without paying too much attention on whether the customer actually e!periences the brand value promised in the advertising% hen advertising emphasi'es the service benefits that are important to customers, the service value increases and becomes more tangible to customers. Companies who achieve consistent positive customer e!periences, which are reinforced in advertising, really ma!imi'e their investment. 3. ETTIN1 COMMUNICATION O+4ECTI)E AN5 C.OO E T.E MEAN TO ACT hen planning a campaign, marketers need to formulate specific communications ob:ectives and select the most appropriate messages and tools to achieve them 8see -igure ;.; for a list of common educational and promotional ob:ectives for service businesses9. 5lanning a marketing communications campaign should reflect a good understanding of the service product and the ability of prospective buyers to evaluate its characteristics in advance of purchase. "t's also essential to understand target market segments and their e!posure to different media, as well as consumer awareness' of the product and attitudes toward it. 0ecisions include determining the content, structure, and style of the message to be communicated, its manner of presentation, and the media most suited to reach the intended audience. )dditional considerations include% the budget available for e!ecution,
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time frames 8as defined by such factors as seasonality, market opportunities, and anticipated competitive activities9+ and methods of measuring and evaluating performance #igure 6.6: Promotiona* 7 E(ucationa* o28ectives A Create memorable images of specific companies and their brands A &uild awareness of and interest in an unfamiliar service or brand A &uild preference by communicating the strengths and benefits of a specific brand A Compare a service with competitors' offerings and counter competitive claims A *aunching a new or modified service product 8new positioning9 A #timulate demand in low-demand periods and discourage demand during peak periods A Encourage trial by offering promotional incentives A Reduce uncertainty and perceived risk by providing useful information and advice A 5rovide reassurance 8e.g., by promoting service guarantees9 A (each customers how to use a service to their own best advantage A Recogni'e and reward valued customers and employees

INTEGRATED SERVICES MARKETING COMMUNICATION


Meanin ! "ntegrated $ar!eting Communications %"$C& is an approach, which coordinates and integrates all mar!eting communication tools into a process that can maximise the impact on the consumer, while maintaining the low cost for the company. "n other words, "$C uses all the promotion mix tools li!e advertising, sales promotion and personal selling activities "t also includes internet mar!eting, sponsorship mar!eting, direct mar!eting, database mar!eting and public relations. "$C is the integration of all these different promotional tools along with other components of mar!eting mix, in order to gain an advantage over competitors. "$C identifies the areas of the customer interest and develop a strategy with the right channels %combination of different advertisement media& to create a stronger brand'consumer relationship. This approach involves !nowing what to use, when to use, and how to use the different media resources to ma!e the maximum impact on the consumer and their choice. Reasons for ro"in im#ortance of inte rate$ service mar%etin communication The main reasons for the growing importance of the integrated services mar!eting communication are as follows( ) *hift from media advertising to other forms of mar!eting communication. ) $ovement away from advertising focused approaches. ) *hift of power from manufacturers to retailers. ) fast growth of database mar!eting. ) emands for greater advertising agency responsibility.. ) +apid growth of the "nternet. ) "ncreasing importance of branding. A$vanta es of inte rate$ mar%etin communication The main advantages of the integrated mar!eting communication are as follows( ,. -rganisation can develop a strategic and comprehensive service mar!eting approach. For example, an organisation can change its image from very high cost service provider to cost effective service provider. .. "t helps in developing a consistent image of the organisation and delivers the message, which helps in building the image of the organisation and the services. For example, an organisation can have the reputation of being punctual for service delivery.

/. "t provides the organization the ability to target different mar!et segments for their services, without changing their brand image. For example, organisation can concentrate on both youth and children while mar!eting their services. 0. "t is a cost effective approach as it integrates all the communication and branding approach in one approach. For example, organisation can integrate the promotion and brand imaging in a single policy and can implement them easily. T&'ES O( SERVICE COMMUNICATION

SERVICE MARKETING COMMUNICATION 'ROCESS

Figure: Marketing Communication Process ) Noise! +epresents unwanted data or information. For example, even delay in delivering in the service or information is considered as noise. ) Source! +epresents the source of the information. For example it could be from the customer or sta!eholders. ) Messa e! +epresents the information shared by customer or sta!eholder. For example its the response from the user about a service. ) C)annel! +epresents the proper communication flow through which communication ta!es place. 1rint media and electronic media are some examples of channel. ) Receiver! +epresents the firm or organisation, which receives the message. For example, firm acts as receiver if it obtains some response from the customer for a service delivered to them. ) (ee$*ac%! +epresents the response that the sender receives from the organisation or receiver. Feedbac! could be in the form of five +s which include responsiveness, recourse, recognition, respect, and reinforcement. For example, once the organisation gets the response from the customer about their service, they may respond to the problems the customer faced while experiencing the service.
Today, businesses have become competitive and complex. The role of "ntegrated $ar!eting Communication is becoming important due to privatization, liberalization and globalization of 2merging economies. The "nternational environment is assuming greater importance than

the domestic environment of most firms. 3The central paradox of globalization is the encounter between companies that are increasingly global and consumers who remain largely local3 %4sunier .555&. The primary function of "ntegrated $ar!eting communication is to inform, persuade, and remind the target customers about the uni6ue benefits of products and services existing in the mar!et. "t involves the process of planning, executing, evaluating, and controlling the use of the various promotional'mix elements to effectively communicate with target audiences. "t also helps to generate awareness regarding existing products thereby inducing trial and building long'term relationships with the present as well as potential customers. "ntegrated mar!eting communications %"$C& developed during the ,775s as an endeavour to achieve consistency across mar!eting communications disciplines and media. "ntegrated $ar!eting Communication strategies include determining the target audience, establishing ob8ectives and budgets, analyzing social, competitive, cultural and technological issues, and finally evaluation and feedbac! regarding the effectiveness of promotional strategies adopted.

"$C helps to deliver a consistent unified message through various channels which has more chances of getting the attention of the customers in today3s era of commercialization. "ntegrated Communication mix includes personal selling, media advertising, publicity, public relations and sales promotions. "t also includes internet mar!eting, sponsorship mar!eting, direct mar!eting, database mar!eting and public relations. "ntegrated mar!eting communication conveys information regarding all of the elements of the mar!eting mix i.e. product, price, place, and promotion, process, people and physical evidence. The function of $ar!eting Communications is to provide information regarding existing products and services, the mar!ets, environmental and internal variables, production, research, finance, social responsibility and other organizational elements needed for success which must be lin!ed with the concepts such as selected target segments, positioning and differentiating the products of a particular firm from its competitors. -ther important function of "$C includes "nternal "ntegration which involves !eeping all staff informed and motivated about new opportunities, new advertisements, new corporate identities, new service standards and so on. *mall business can start an integrated mar!eting communication plan on a small budget using a website, email and *earch 2ngine -ptimization related to Technical advice on website development, content development, management of online business development campaigns and !eyword research. Ste#s Involve$ in Develo#in Effective Communication *tep ,' "dentify the Target 9udience( with the help of segmentation, targeting and positioning strategies. 9n in'depth research has to be done by the firm in order to design a message relating to uni6ue selling proposition of the product which then has to be delivered to the right segment, at the right place, at the right time and of course at the right cost. *tep .' etermine the Communication -b8ective( Communication ob8ective has to be modified according to the different stages of the 1roduct :ife cycle. The cost of promoting a new product is highest in the introductory stage where the firm see!s to build product awareness. 1romotion is directed towards "nnovators and early adopters. 'ro$uct +ife C,cle Sta e Communication Content "ntroduction''''''''''''''''''''"nformational ;rowth and $aturity''''"nformational and persuasive $aturity and ecline'''''''1ersuasive and reminder *tep /' esigning a $essage( 9n effective message should generate awareness, hold interest, desire, < obtain action which will result in the purchase of the product %9" 9 $odel&. Customized message needs to be developed if cultural beliefs, values and customs of a specific country are different. *tep 0' Choosing the $edia( There are two broad types of communication channels = 1ersonal and >on personal. 1ersonal Communication Channels( where two or more people communicate directly with each other. They might communicate face'to' face, over the telephone, through the mail or even through an internet. Im#ersonal Communication C)annels! Im#ersonal communication c)annels inclu$e! ,. 1rint media .. #roadcast media /. 2lectronic media 0. isplay media *tep ?' *electing the message source( Celebrity endorsements are widely used by mar!eters for promoting their products. For example athletes, actors, and even cartoon characters' are used to deliver the messages. 9ccording to a survey, the top five categories endorsed the most by celebrities included aerated soft drin!s, cellular phone services, toilet soaps and shampoos. *tep @' Collecting feedbac!( 9fter sending the message, the communicator must find its effect on the target audience with the help of agmar % efining advertising goals for measuring advertising results& which was given by +ussell A. Colley in the year ,7@,. "t is the basis for measuring the effectiveness of communication. The only way to improve system, processes, features and attributes of existing products or services, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction can be done with the help of effective feedbac! tools.

0ue to increase in "nternational trade, companies need to e!pand their operations across national boundaries to get access to new markets, skills, resources and new sources of

information and build customer traffic. Companies going "nternational need to conduct Crosscultural consumer analysis which will help provide marketers an in-depth understanding of the psychological, social, and cultural characteristics of the foreign consumers they wish to target, so that they can design effective marketing communication strategies for the specific national markets involved. (hus, "ntegrated Communication #trategies help companies develop sustainability strategies to access new markets and build market share, understand new opportunities and innovate to address them, identify and manage emerging risks, and build brand recognition and trust among the e!isting as well as the potential customers.