CIM Revision Cards: Customer Communications in Marketing 04 05, First Edition (Cim Revision Cards)

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CIM Revision Cards: Customer Communications in Marketing 04 05, First Edition (Cim Revision Cards)

CIM REVISION CARDS Customer Communications in Marketing 04/05 PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE IN MARKETING 2004 –2005 SYLLABU

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CIM

REVISION CARDS

Customer Communications in Marketing 04/05 PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE IN MARKETING 2004 –2005 SYLLABUS

Key concepts for revision ● ● ●

Relevant! Succinct! Compact! The Chartered Institute of Marketing

Helping you to pass your CIM exam

CIM REVISION CARDS Customer Communications in Marketing Gill Wood

AMSTERDAM l BOSTON PARIS l SAN DIEGO l

HEIDELBERG SAN FRANCISCO

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LONDON l SINGAPORE

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NEW YORK SYDNEY

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OXFORD TOKYO

Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP 30, Corporate Drive, Burlington, MA 01803 First published 2004 Copyright ß 2004, Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing in any medium by electronic means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the written permission of the copyright holder except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, England W1T 4LP. Applications for the copyright holder’s written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher. Permissions may be sought directly from Elsevier’s Science & Technology Rights Department in Oxford, UK: phone: (+44) 1865 843830, fax: (+44) 1865 853333, e-mail: [email protected]. You may also complete your request on-line via the Elseiver homepage (http://www.elsevier.com), by selecting ‘Customer Support’ and then ‘Obtaining Permissions’ British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress ISBN 07506 62824 For information on all Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann publications visit our website at http://books.elsevier.com Printed and bound in Great Britain

TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Preface ........................................................................... iv Introduction to customer communications ................................... 1 Buying behaviour................................................................ 10 The communication process ................................................... 19 Verbal communications – theory and methods .............................. 26 Written communication formats ............................................... 48 Using statistical data and visual information ................................ 59 The promotional mix – below the line ....................................... 78 The promotional mix – above the line ....................................... 95 The role of information communication technology (ICT)................... 108 Customer service and customer care ........................................ 116

PREFACE Welcome to the CIM Revision Cards from Elsevier/Butterworth–Heinemann. We hope you will find these useful when coming to revise for your CIM exam. The cards are designed to be used in conjunction with the CIM Coursebooks from Elsevier/Butterworth–Heinemann, and have been written specifically with revision in mind. They also serve as invaluable reviews of the complete modules, perfect for those studying via the assignment route n Learning outcomes at the start of each chapter identify the main points n Key topics are summarized, helping you commit the information to memory quickly and easily n Examination and revision tips are provided to give extra guidance when preparing for the exam n Key diagrams are featured to aid the learning process n The compact size ensures the cards are easily transportable, so you can revise any time, anywhere To get the most out of your revision cards, try to look over them as frequently as you can when taking your CIM course. When read alongside the Coursebook they serve as the ideal companion to the main text. Good luck – we wish you every success with your CIM qualification!

INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS

Unit 1

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Understand the importance of effective customer communications in marketing  Identify the internal and external customers in a given situation  Be aware of what is meant by the terms stakeholder and decision-making unit  Appreciate how communication methods and messages alter, depending on the context and the customer

Customer communication In business, it is the process by which information is transferred between one individual or group and another, both within and outside the organization. The communication can take place verbally or non-verbally and may be transmitted through a variety of communication methods

Syllabus Reference: 1.1, 1.2, 2.3

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS IN MARKETING

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INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS

Why do People Communicate in Business? n To build relationships internally and externally n To give instructions to others n To disseminate information n To share ideas and values n To negotiate or discuss matters n To motivate, interest or stimulate others n To create awareness n To establish a two-way communication flow

Communication roles – DRIP Differentiate – identifying the key differences between one product and another, e.g. Daz washes whiter Remind – communicating attributes you may have forgotten, e.g. remember how good the original Kellogg’s cornflakes were? Inform – conveying the product details and action required, e.g. fill in your tax form on time Persuade – giving a reason to buy, e.g. Crunchie – get that Friday feeling

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External Customers External customers are individuals who have no connection with the organization, other than purchasing goods or services, now or in the past External customers may be purchasers who buy the products or consumers who use the products. They may of course be both Customers can be individuals in the business to consumer (B2C) market, or individuals purchasing on behalf of their business, known as the business to business (B2B) market

The decision-making unit (DMU) It is important to communicate with all the members of the DMU in B2B markets, as all have different perspectives and can influence the purchase decision n n n n n n

Purchaser Initiator User Influencer Decision-maker Gatekeeper

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INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS

The External Communications Mix To communicate with external customers, organizations use a range of promotional activities

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Stakeholders Stakeholders or publics are internal or external individuals or groups who affect an organization, or are affected by its activities

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INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS

Communicating with the Extended Organization Information communications and technology (ICT) has transformed internal communication and communication with suppliers and distributors, which often leads to greater efficiencies

A good working relationship with suppliers and other ‘partners’ can produce dramatic effects: n Innovation n Improved performance n Lower costs n More holistic solutions to problems n Better understanding of the needs of all parties n New ways of working together n More cooperation

Two-Way Communications The following can encourage a two-way flow of information internally: n Regular staff meetings and team briefings n Suggestion schemes n Works councils n Intranets

The following can assist two-way communication externally: n Websites n FAQ sections on websites n Incorporating digital ‘red buttons’ within TV ads n Digital telephone systems to improve customer service

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Internal Customers

n 24/7 services meaning more shift working

Individuals within an organization have internal customers, such as colleagues and line managers, that they have to deal with. Organizations also have internal customers who are their staff

n Global organizations with cross-over cultures

Internal marketing

Internal marketing is about working collaboratively with colleagues and providing them with good services, so that, as a team, your organization achieves its goals

Key to effective internal marketing is internal communication. Without a culture of effective internal customer communication, employees face the following problems:

Organizations need to ensure good internal marketing maintains employee motivation and company competitiveness

n n n n n

Factors influencing change

Communication problems Frustration and non-cooperation Time-wasting and inefficiency Stress and lack of job satisfaction Poor quality of work

n Downsized organizations with flatter structures n Teleworking, with more people working from home CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS IN MARKETING

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INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS

The Internal Communications Mix

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Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on the identification of customers in different marketing contexts and has examined the range of communication methods that can be used in different situations n For assessment purposes, be prepared to identify customers or stakeholders in a given situation. Ensure that you can distinguish between internal and external customers and are able to recommend appropriate communication methods n It will be useful to revise how two-way communication can be fostered and how ICT can be used to maintain and develop customer relationships Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

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BUYING BEHAVIOUR

Unit 2

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Distinguish between different types of buying behaviour  Understand those factors affecting buying behaviour  Apply communications theory when developing communications material Syllabus Reference: 2.1–2.5

Why we need to understand how customers behave Understanding how customers behave and what influences their purchase behaviour helps determine effective and relevant communication and promotional activity It is only by knowing who we are trying to aim our communications at that we can increase our chances of conveying the right message in the right format

Influences on Buying Behaviour in B2C Markets

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BUYING BEHAVIOUR

The Buying Process Consumers are generally recognized as going through a number of stages, as they proceed from initially identifying that they have a need for something to the point of purchase

Stages in the B2C buying process n n n n n

Need recognition Information search Evaluation of alternatives Purchase decision Post-purchase evaluation

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How the buying process relates to customer communications If you were responsible for marketing nicotine supplements to help smokers give up, you could use your knowledge of the buying process to help develop promotional activity to fit in with the purchase process: n At the need recognition stage you could gain the target audience’s attention by using PR to bring their attention to the reasons for giving up smoking n At the information searching stage you could use advertising to stimulate interest in products that will reduce their craving for nicotine n At the evaluation stage you could make free trial products available in consumer magazines or at chemist POS n At the purchase stage you could encourage action by using sales promotion offers

Relating Communication Objectives to Stages of the Buying Process Using the AIDA model you can see that communication messages can be tailored to fit in with the customer purchase process

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BUYING BEHAVIOUR

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Influences on Buying Behaviour in B2B Markets Organizational buying is ‘The decision-making process by which business buyers establish the need for purchased products and services, and identify, evaluate and choose among alternative brands and suppliers.’ Kotler, Armstrong and Wong, 1999

Influences on business buyers Political and legal factors e.g. Government policies and laws Economic factors e.g. interest rates, price of oil and raw materials Social and cultural factors e.g. consumer trends change product demand which affects B2B markets Technological factors e.g. technology affects product demand, internal processes and communication Personal factors e.g. individual buyers have personal preferences and perceptions regarding suppliers, brands, etc. Organizational factors e.g. procedures, organizational structure and the DMU affect purchasing behaviour

Stages in B2B Buying Process n n n n n n n n

Anticipation or recognition of needs Determination of product/service required Specification of characteristics/quality Search for potential suppliers Analysis of proposals Evaluation of proposals/supplier selection Negotiation of contract or routine order Performance feedback/evaluation

The DMU may affect the buying process so that it is necessary to communicate (possibly) different messages to reach all the appropriate DMU members who may influence the purchase process Communications will vary depending on whether the product is: n A one-off purchase n A straight re-buy n A purchase which is part of a long-term arrangement or project

As with consumer decision-making, the Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) model can again be used to show that communication strategies and messages can be tailored to fit in with the buying process that organizational customers may go through

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BUYING BEHAVIOUR

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Communication Differences There are a number of key differences between those communications used by and targeted at consumer markets and those aimed at business-to-business markets Differences Between Consumer and Business-to-Business Marketing Communications

Message reception Number of decision makers Balance of the promotional mix Specificity and integration Message content

Consumer-oriented markets

Business-to-business markets

Informal Single or few Advertising and sales promotions dominate Broad use of promotional mix with a move towards integrated mixes Greater use of emotions and imagery

Formal Many Personal selling dominates Specific use of below-the-line tools but with a high level of integration Greater use of rational, logic- and information-based messages, although there is evidence of a move towards the use of imagery Contd.

Consumer-oriented markets Length of decision time Negative communications

Normally short Limited to people close to the purchaser/user Target marketing and Great use of sophisticated research targeting and communication approaches Budget allocation Majority of budget allocated to brand management Evaluation and measurement Great variety of techniques and approaches used

Business-to-business markets Longer and more involved Potentially an array of people in the organization and beyond Limited but increasing use of targeting and segmentation approaches Majority of budget allocated to sales management Limited number of techniques and approaches

Source: C. Fill, Marketing Communications, Contexts, Strategies and applications, 3rd Edition, 2002

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BUYING BEHAVIOUR

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Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on looking at the various influences that affect purchase behaviour in both B2C and B2B markets n The stages in the buying process in both contexts were examined, as were the key differences between communications targeted at individuals and organizations n For assessment purposes, ensure that you understand how the stages of the buying process and the AIDA response hierarchy of communications model can be used to identify the different communications that need to be used to target customers effectively n Familiarize yourself with the role of the DMU in the decision making process and what that means when communicating with organizations Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

Unit 3

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Produce a simple model of the communications process  Identify how and where barriers to communication occur  Use a planning framework in the development of customer communications  Apply communications theory when developing communications material Syllabus Reference: 3.3, 4.1–4.3

The communication chain There are five consecutive stages to the communication process: n The sender has the need to communicate n The need is translated into a message (encoding) n The message is transmitted n The receiver gets the message (decoding) n The receiver interprets the message and provides feedback to the sender

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THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

The Process of Communication

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Barriers to Successful Communication

n Social noise

Distortion

n Psychological noise

The meaning of messages can be lost at the encoding stage during the communication process. It can also occur at the decoding stage, where the recipient takes a different meaning from the one the sender intended Most common reasons for distortion: n If the wrong words are used n If jargon is used n If a foreign language or accent is misunderstood n If ambiguous words or images are used

Other barriers

Noise There are several types of noise that can render a message unclear: n Technical noise n Physical noise

n Perceptual bias occurs where the recipient makes assumptions or uses selected hearing n Information overload occurs if there is too much information or it is too technical n Contradictory non-verbal messages occur if the person encoding the message says one thing but their body language says something else n Language can act as a barrier if different languages are used or even if different regional accents or colloquialisms from different age groups are used

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THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

Avoiding Communication Barriers n Target audience – knowing the needs of the target audience means it is possible to have the same ‘mental image’ about a product/service as your customers, which results in more effective communication n Training – staff in face-to-face situations should be trained not to make assumptions or hear selectively so they can deal effectively with complaints

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n Simplify the message – avoiding information overload in publicity material and asking ‘checking questions’ in face-to-face situations will assist customer communication n Source credibility – by establishing credibility customers will feel that messages are trustworthy n Listening – In two-way communication situations effective listening is essential, otherwise poor listening results in communication breakdown

Planning the Business Message It is essential to decide the purpose of your communication at the outset. By being clear about your intention, you then know if you have achieved your objective at the end of the communication. The PASS mnemonic is used for planning message content

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THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

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The Mode of Communication After using the PASS framework to plan the message content, it is important to decide the way the message will be transmitted. The communication format should influence the structure and style of a message When communicating internally it could be suitable to display a message on the notice board, while, for other situations, it could be essential to have a face-to-face meeting The level of formality and confidentiality will affect the mode of communication

Hints and Tips n This unit examined the purpose of communication and how communication occurs. It has focused on how and why communication barriers occur and how to overcome them. It also sets out a planning framework for business messages, whatever be the mode of communication n For assessment purposes, ensure that you can apply the PASS mnemonic in a variety of communication contexts, for example, writing reports, drafting presentation notes or writing a mailshot. Make sure that you are able to identify barriers to communication in any given context and also that you can provide suggestions for how to overcome such problems when communicating with both internal and external customers Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

Unit 4

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Use non-verbal communication effectively  Be a better listener in face-to-face and telephone communication situations  Manage and lead meetings effectively  Prepare appropriate meetings documentation Syllabus Reference: 4.4–4.8

Face-to-face communication Effective verbal, non-verbal and listening skills are an essential part of every day life. Within business these skills are just as important but, within the context of marketing, we have the extra dimension of having to communicate with customers in an increasingly competitive environment

Verbal Communication When speaking with customers, whether in face-toface or telephone situations, it is important that what you say is perceived as helpful, welcoming and appropriate to the situation

Tone of voice The tone that you use relates to how you say things. The tone that you use can either be intentionally or unintentionally inappropriate, both of which can anger customers

n Inflection – the way you say words can be changed to sound angry, sarcastic, apologetic, shy or even humorous

Voice characteristics The pitch of your voice can irritate or render a message incoherent. A high-pitched voice can sound shrill and irritating. A very gentle, low-pitched voice can mean people cannot hear the message. The same applies to volume

n Apathetic tone – can sound droning, listless, which could convey the message that you do not care, or are not interested in, the customer and their query/complaint n Rushed tone – by speaking breathlessly or too quickly you can sound impatient

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

How We Receive Messages

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Non-verbal Communication Skills Non-verbal communication can convey messages without words or add meaning to words that are being used n Eye contact – the look in someone’s eyes can be welcoming or defiant. Whether or not a person maintains eye contact can be important in various situations n Facial expression – a smile or a frown can add meaning to words that are being used. Smiling at an inappropriate time could have negative results

n Posture – how a person sits or stands can indicate how attentive or disinterested they are. Body language such as folded arms could send out defensive messages n Physical space – a person’s personal space should not be invaded. Acceptable moves into other people’s physical space, such as shaking hands or cheek kissing, varies from country to country n The impression/atmosphere – clothes and physical appearance can create an impression, as indeed can punctuality, holding doors open for visitors and holding out seats for guests

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

Listening Skills

Barriers to listening

Listening is a vital part of customer care and is an active, not a passive, activity. The following are ways that listening skills can be improved by doing the following: n Concentrating on what is being said

n n n n

n Making notes, if it is a complex situation n Checking out understanding through questioning and paraphrasing n Using body language to show you are listening and have empathy n Not interrupting n Not arguing n Being helpful and looking for solutions not excuses

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Allowing your thoughts to wander Having prejudices and tuning out Not asking questions to clarify a technical point Information overload can cause people to lose track of what is being said

Applying Verbal and Non-verbal Communication Skills

How we receive messages by telephone

In marketing you use your verbal and non-verbal communication skills in a variety of ways with both internal and external customers: n Telephone conversations n Presentations n Meetings n Interviews

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

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Using the Telephone It is vital to use the right tone of voice in telephone conversations, because your body language cannot be seen. It is important to vary the tone of voice and to use verbal cues such as ‘yes’ or ‘hmm’ to show that you are listening to what is being said

Applying PASS to telephone use Purpose – Plan your call and ensure you have all the relevant information to hand Audience – Consider your audience, as this will influence what you say and how you say it Structure – Make a checklist of key points you want to say, as this will structure your conversation. Note down any action points from the call. Always start with a business greeting (your name, organization) and be clear about who you want to speak to or the purpose of the call. Having this structure in place at the outset will assist you if you need to leave a message on an answer phone Style – You should sound business-like and confident. You should speak more carefully and slowly than in your usual day to day conversation. Avoid slang words or being over familiar – business etiquette applies

Guidelines for Receiving Calls n Answer promptly n Answer efficiently, stating relevant details n Take messages effectively by noting down details and required action n Ask customers before putting them on hold n It is better to take a message and ring callers back n Always explain why a call needs to be transferred n Explain the nature of the call to the person you are transferring the call to

Trends in telephony Mobile phones have opened up telephone access when people are away from their desk. SMS messaging allows for some form of documentary evidence, but is only suitable for short messages. Videophone technology has removed some of the disadvantages of telephone usage Conference call technology enables people in different locations to have meetings, although they still lack the impact of face-to-face meetings

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using the Telephone Advantages

Disadvantages

– – – –

– – – –

Cheap, quick access, global coverage Two-way communication Automated message facilities available Easier to terminate a call than a meeting

No body language possible Lots of calls do not get through if people unavailable No permanent record of what is discussed Not ideal if visuals are required

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Presentations Before delivering a presentation there are a number of issues that need to be considered:

n Use an authoritative tone of voice to deliver the presentation n Check your timing by practising beforehand

n Organize the room layout so that there is enough seating and so that you will be visible

n Ensure your pace is slow enough for the audience to follow what you are saying

n Ensure there is a lectern or somewhere to place your notes

n Deliver your presentation with enthusiasm by varying the pitch and tone of your voice

n Check on heating, ventilation and lighting

n Use humour sparingly

n Make sure that there is adequate visual aid equipment

n Control your nerves by taking control of your body language

n Do not block the view of screens to be used in conjunction with overhead projectors or PowerPoint presentations n Be prepared to deliver your presentation, even if the technology fails

Body language n n n n

Smile and try not to look tense Stand upright with relaxed shoulders Maintain eye contact with the whole group Avoid distracting mannerisms

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

Meetings There are many different types of meetings, but the three main categories are: n Formal meetings, e.g. board meetings n Informal meetings, e.g. departmental or client meetings n Interviews, e.g. generally between two parties for the purpose of selection or appraisal

Advantages of meetings

Disadvantages of meetings

– – – – –

– – – – –

Enables two-way communication Discussion allows ideas to develop Decisions can be agreed Can allocate actions to individuals Sensitive and confidential information can be discussed

Can be time-wasting Can lack focus and direction Can be difficult to get all parties together Can comprise too much talking and no action Documentation needs to be organized

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Notices A notice should state when and where the meeting will be held and can outline what will be discussed, or even request recipients to submit items for the agenda

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

Notice for an informal meeting

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Agenda Agendas set out what is to be discussed at a meeting. Agendas for formal meetings are usually prepared by the secretary, or in informal situations any participant in the meeting may do this

They usually comprise: n Apologies for absence n Minutes of the previous meeting n Matters arising n Other items to go on the agenda n Any other business n Date of next meeting

Agenda Monthly marketing meeting held at head office on 19 September 200X at 2.30 pm 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Apologies for absence Minutes of the last meeting Matters arising Evaluation of radio campaign Motion: That the company purchase two new delivery vans. Proposed: John Smith, Seconded: Macie Powell 6. Discuss website improvements 7. Any other business 8. Date of next meeting

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

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Minutes These are a written record of the discussion and agreements that take place in a meeting. They are an important channel of communication and source of reference There are different styles of minutes: n Resolution minutes – where the decisions of the meeting are recorded n Narrative minutes – which include a brief summary of the discussion that led up to each decision n Action minutes – that detail the specific courses of action that have been agreed

Narrative minutes

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

An example of action minutes

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An example of resolution minutes

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

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Meetings Procedure For formal meetings there are clearly defined rules, often referred to as points of order. People speaking at the meeting should do so by addressing the chair In formal meetings, decisions are made through voting, usually by a show of hands or even by secret ballot

The results of voting may be declared as follows: n Passed unanimously – everyone voted in favour n Passed nem con – no one voted against but only a few have voted for the proposal, with most abstaining n Lost – the majority voted against n Casting vote – The chairperson is given an additional vote to break the deadlock of an equal number voting for and against a proposal

Managing Effective Meetings For informal meetings there is more room for disagreement about how meetings should be run. The following guidelines can help effective discussion: n Establish ground rules for addressing the meeting and making decisions n Keep to matters on the agenda and to the time allocated n Ensure equitable discussion by controlling splinter discussion and those who do all the talking n Ask questions of those who have not contributed n Summarize the discussion to help decision-making n Manage the decision process by taking votes/views at appropriate times n Control conflict n Allow adequate comfort breaks

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VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS – THEORY AND METHODS

Interviews

Interviews involve:

Interviews are similar to meetings but generally comprise only two people. They need to be planned beforehand and sometimes the items for discussion can be agreed in advance

n Verbal communication

They are used internally for the following purposes: n Selection n Appraisal n Disciplinary matters They are also used externally to develop and maintain customer relationships Interviews involve complex communication processes and require both interviewers and interviewees to demonstrate good communication skills

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n Non-verbal communication n Listening skills n Appropriate questioning styles n Planning and organization skills before, during and after the interview

Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on verbal communication, non-verbal communication and listening skills, all applied to business communication situations, such as telephone use, presentations, meetings and interviews n For assessment purposes it is essential that you are able to identify the type of body language that would be effective in a variety of contexts, but also how to interpret other people’s body language n Be sure you can apply the PASS mnemonic to planning telephone calls, presentations and meetings n There are often questions about presentations where you need to discuss the importance of verbal, non-verbal and listening skills n Ensure that you can draft an agenda for a meeting and that you are able to phrase motions with proposers and seconders n Familiarize yourself with the key meetings documentation, such as the different styles of minute writing, so that you could draft them for any given situation or context provided by a question Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

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WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FORMATS

Unit 5

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Appreciate the variety of written communication formats  Use the correct layout and presentation format for different types of written communication  Communicate effectively using a range of communication formats Syllabus Reference: 4.7, 4.8

Formats The following formats are normally used to communicate with both external and internal stakeholders, although memos are usually only sent internally n n n n n

Letters Memos E-mails Notices Reports

Written Communication Skills Whichever format is being used to communicate, the following structure should usually be adopted: n The beginning – where you clarify the reason for writing

PASS Purpose, Audience, Structure and Style are a useful guide to check against when you review your writing

n The middle – where you communicate your key messages n The end – where, if appropriate, you summarize the main points and/or state any action required

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WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FORMATS

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Letters

Style

Letter writing is not the quickest way to communicate but sometimes there are reasons why it is the most suitable format:

n Usually blocked layout or may use indented style

n They provide a permanent record of a message which has a legal dimension to it n Letters are formal and so good for important information, such as job offers, disciplinary matters, etc. n Good for long, complex messages that can be re-read over time n Mail merge facilities mean standard letters can be sent efficiently and effectively n Letters can also be sent as e-mail attachments or by a facsimile machine

n Usually feature company logo and contact details n May include references to indicate author/department n Should include the date n Should be personalized with recipient’s name, in which case the complimentary close should be ‘Yours sincerely’ n Salutation may be ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, in which case the complimentary close should be ‘Yours faithfully’ n Should feature short paragraphs n Should include the sender’s signature and position n May refer to enclosures or copies (by c.c.)

A template for a business letter

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WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FORMATS

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Memoranda Memoranda (or memos) are mainly used for internal correspondence to convey short messages. They are usually printed on A4 or A5 paper They are rapidly being replaced by e-mails in most organizations

An example of a memo

E-mails These are a quick and simple way to communicate internally and with external contacts who are connected to the Internet. There are no rules about the layout and the medium is usually used to send short messages, although longer documents can be attached There are no real layout rules to follow but, to make reading easier, it is better to use paragraphs and spacing rather than sending one long block of text People generally use a less formal approach in e-mails, but messages can be confused if they are not properly punctuated Your message might be one of many received in a day, so it is essential to use the subject line to give a proper indication of what the message is about There are no set rules about salutation or complimentary closures of e-mails If the message is being copied to others the cc line can be used, but if you do not want to show that someone has been copied into the message, then the bcc (blind carbon copy) button needs to be used

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WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FORMATS

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Notices Notices can play an important role in disseminating information to a large number of people at once

Notices n The size of the paper should correspond to the amount of information to be conveyed and its effect when displayed on the notice board and possibly viewed from a distance n The AIDA principle can be used with a large bold heading to capture attention and a combination of spacing and emphasis (in the form of emboldening, capitalization or underlining) on the key details n The message should be as simple and concise as possible

Reports

Organization of information

Reports can be used internally and externally, either to give information or to make proposals with justifications

1. Terms of Reference 2. Procedure 3. Findings n Main point n Sub-point Or

Reports should be factual and written objectively in an unbiased/impersonal style. So, rather than saying ‘I noticed that. . .’, the wording should be ‘It was found that’ or ‘The statistics show that. . .’ Avoid emotional phrases Reports often contain a lot of information that needs to be organized carefully. A schematic approach can be used for referencing purposes

1. Main heading 1.1. Sub-section 1.2. Same sub-section but dealing with another area 1.2.1. Sub point

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WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FORMATS

Formal Reports Formal reports are often used to provide information or based on investigating a problem or opportunity

The following headings and structure are usually used: n n n n n n n n n n n

Report title Recipient’s name Author’s name Date Contents table Terms of reference Procedure/methodology Findings Conclusion Recommendations Appendices

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Terms of reference should outline the scope of the report and why it is being written Procedure or methodology identifies how the information in the report was obtained Findings contain the relevant facts and findings in the order of importance or chronology Conclusion should be a summary of the main findings and not introduce new information Recommendations are not always required and tend to be used if analysis of the findings shows solutions to the problem

Informal Reports Informal reports are more popular for internal distribution

The following headings are often used: n Introduction n Findings n Conclusion Or n Purpose and scope of the report n Background information n Findings n Conclusions and recommendations

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WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FORMATS

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Hints and Tips n This unit focused on the key communication formats of letters, memos, e-mails, notices and reports. It looked at their usage and their structure/formats n It also serves as a useful reminder of how to use the PASS approach to ensure effective writing skills n The key learning points will be tested in most questions, as most require you to answer using one of the formats covered in this unit n For instance, a recent question required candidates to write a letter requesting sponsorship. In the same assessment candidates were asked to write an e-mail and attach various attachments n In addition, most assessments regularly require you to take a body of complex information and structure that into a report Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

Unit 6

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Analyze and interpret oral, written and graphical information accurately  Be selective with data that you include in reports  Produce a range of graphs, tables and charts from raw data Syllabus Reference: 4.5

Presenting data visually n Tables used for recording numerical data n Bar charts for comparing changes in relative quantity n Line graphs show trends n Pie charts show proportions of a whole n Pictographs simplify messages n Organograms show reporting relationships within organizations n Gantt charts help with project planning All these methods simplify information and are good for creating impact and attracting attention

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

Guidelines for Presenting Visual Information Whichever method you are using to present your data, you need to remember the following: n All charts or graphs need a title that indicates the content n The key or the legend relates the shading or pattern used on a chart to what it represents n Labels can also be used to mark what a bar, segment or line represents n All bars/charts should display the source of information

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n Charts should take up the full axis space available n Using colour or 3-D aspect creates impact n There should be two axes on each graph; the horizontal axis (x-axis) and the vertical axis (y-axis) n Orient data so that values on the x-axis are those where there has been a choice, such as when to measure or where to measure (the independent variable) n Values on the y-axis will depend upon the corresponding position on the x-axis (the dependent variable)

Tables Tables can be useful for presentation purposes to sort complex data

A table showing product line sales per representative

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

Bar Charts Guidelines for producing bar charts: n The chart must be titled and each axis labelled n The scale must indicate values on each axis n The vertical axis must start at 0 or a staggered line must indicate that the data does not start at 0 n The data should be presented in some order value n There should be spaces between the columns/bars n Use shading for impact

The following market share data has been put into a bar chart format on the next page: 1995 0.4%

1996 0.7%

1997 1.9%

1998 2.6%

1999 3.0%

2000 3.0%

2001 2.8%

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A bar chart showing market share for years 1995–2001

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

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Multiple Column/bar Charts Multiple column/bar charts use several columns/bars for each variable, with each bar then demonstrating a particular aspect of the overall data

Guidelines for producing multiple column/bar charts: n Two or more bars can be used to present divisions of the data n Shading must be used to distinguish bars representing different data n Bars can be drawn horizontally or vertically An example of a table showing sales for three product lines

B1 B2 B3

1999(000s)

2000(000s)

2001(000s)

150 230 340

180 245 560

225 205 480

The information from this table has been used to produce the multiple column/bar chart shown on the next page.

A multiple bar chart showing sales for three product lines

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

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Component (stacked) Column/bar Charts Component bar charts can be segmented or broken lengthways to show the relative size of components of an overall total The components can be ordered in any way in the bar, but must remain consistent if more than one bar is shown The relative values should be kept in ascending or descending order

A component bar chart showing sales of three product lines

Histograms Histograms are different from bar charts. Bar charts are used for discrete or non-continuous data and so are best drawn using a separate bar for each item. Histograms are used to display continuous data, e.g. earnings, exam marks, etc. and so there is usually no gap between the bars to indicate the continuous nature of the data On this page is a frequency table indicating monthly salaries, which are shown on the next page in a histogram format

Monthly earnings £ 500–700

No. of employees 3

701–900

2

901–1100

4

1101–1300

5

1301–1500

3

1501–1700

1

1701–1900

1

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

A histogram showing monthly salaries

500–700

701–900

901–1100 1101–1300 1301–1500 1501–1700 1701–1900

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Pie Charts Guidelines for producing pie charts: n Pie charts should be drawn accurately with a compass to represent the 360 degrees of a circle. n The component parts must represent 100% n A protractor should be used to measure off the degrees that represent the percentages, e.g. 180 degrees represents 50% n Keep the maximum number of segments to seven n Place the largest segment at the 12 o’clock position and the others relative to it in logical order n Use shading for emphasis n Label all the segments and use a key

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

A pie chart showing advertising expenditure

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Line Graphs Line graphs are a series of points joined together to form a straight or curved line and are usually used to reflect a trend over a period of time, or the interaction of the two variables

Guidelines for line graphs: n The horizontal axis should show the time period n The vertical axis should show the amount or value being measured n Both scales should begin at 0 or a staggered line should indicate if the data does not begin at 0 n Both negative and positive values can be shown n Solid or broken lines can be used to distinguish differences or focus on significant data

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

An example of a simple line graph

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Gantt Charts Gantt charts are a type of bar chart which show dimensions of a variable over a period of time and can be used to show business activity in terms of actual, planned and cumulative. They can be used to show how a plan will be phased in over a period of time

An example of a Gantt chart showing the roll out of a campaign in different cities

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

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Pictograms Pictograms are charts in which a line of symbols or pictures represents the data, e.g. aeroplane sales can be shown as drawings of aeroplanes, or employees shown by matchstick people

Guidelines for pictograms: n Use a symbol which will clearly represent the subject matter n The number of pictures or symbols should reflect the values they represent n An increase in quantity can be shown by more images, or the size of the image could be increased. However, there are problems with accuracy because of unclear scaling n Use a key to indicate the value of one symbol

An example of a pictogram

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USING STATISTICAL DATA AND VISUAL INFORMATION

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Flow Charts

Organization Charts

Flow charts are useful for demonstrating relationships, processes and procedures where numerical values are not important. The relationships between various parts of the activity can be shown in sequence from beginning to end and geometric shapes are used to distinguish between the various aspects

Organization charts or organograms are similar to flow charts, but are used to show the hierarchical positions and relationships of employees, which may also relate to formal channels of communication

Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on the analysis of data and how it is presented visually, specifically looking at the use of tables, bar charts, line graphs, pie charts, pictograms, organograms and Gantt charts n For assessment purposes the mini case usually involves presenting data in some form of graphical format n Key areas, therefore, include being able to use all the different formats covered in this unit and the ability to know which formats are best used in different situations Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Unit 7

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Determine the suitability of various below-the-line promotional activities  Examine the characteristics and use of below-the-line promotional tools  Devise a press release Syllabus Reference: 3.1–3.13

The Promotional Mix Below the line promotional methods Corporate image Public relations Sales promotion Direct marketing Personal selling

Below the line methods are those where commission is not paid. They often perform a supporting role to above the line media (see unit 8) but more and more organizations are moving away from using costly and fragmented main media to using below the line activities

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Corporate Image

Development of Corporate Image

Corporate image is often the key point of differentiation between competing companies. An organization’s image relates to how people perceive it and if its public think well of it they are more likely to do business with it

(Creates instant recognition)

The corporate image can be communicated as follows:

(Stationery, leaflets, annual reports, etc.)

n Business stakeholders such as suppliers or distributors may be given incentives or offered corporate hospitality n Community related stakeholders may be targeted by sponsorship of local events or teams to build profile n Customer-related stakeholders might be given no quibble guarantees, served by well-trained front line staff and the organization might develop alliances with ethical charities

The logo

# Corporate literature

# Corporate identity (Use of signage, uniforms and livery, also its reputation for service/quality)

# Corporate image (How the organization is perceived in the minds of its public)

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Packaging Apart from the functional role of packaging, which is to provide a container for products, packaging communicates the product name and brand image

Point of Sale Display and Merchandizing These in-store display methods can influence consumers to purchase. Manufacturers create in-store display material to remind customers of their products Some retailers depend heavily on having a consistent layout, shop design and the way products are displayed, which is part of their corporate image

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Public Relations Public relations activities fall into three categories: n Development of the corporate image – the face of the company n Communication of that image n Activities where the image is used

Once the corporate image is developed in terms of the visual identity and personality, it is possible to use various activities to target the organization’s publics: n Exhibitions and conferences n Press conferences, press releases and publicity stunts n Sponsorship

}

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The planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics

~

(Source: The Institute of Public Relations)

Exhibitions and Conferences

Sponsorship

In many B2B marketing situations, organizations have a sales force that visits the customer. With exhibitions, road shows, seminar and conferences, customers come to see the supplier These opportunities bring the two parties together and often generate sales leads that can be followed up at a later date Conferences and seminars are good opportunities for staff to mix with clients and other influencers in their industry. They provide a ‘softer sell’ than exhibitions and the emphasis is on seeing and being seen or getting kudos by staff speaking at a conference Press conferences are often used for very high profile product launches Publicity stunts are often used to make organizations more newsworthy and are used to generate press coverage

Sponsorship can be used to put an organization’s name across to a variety of publics and promote an image Organizations can sponsor the arts, sporting events or individual sportspeople and even television programmes Organizations are usually interested in the type of sponsorship that either attracts publicity and media coverage, or puts their name in front of their target audience in an interesting way For sponsorship to work, it should be in keeping with the organization or its brand image

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Press Releases A press release can be used to obtain editorial space, but it has to be considered interesting and usable before an editorial team will use it

A press release format should: n n n n n n n n n

Feature your organization’s logo at the top Have a main heading ‘press release’ Show the date of the release or the embargo date Have a headline Be typed in double spacing and have wide margins Only use one side of the paper Indicate if more copy follows on the next page Clearly mark the end of the release Contain contact details for further enquiries

n Contain additional ‘background notes for the editor’

Press releases should answer the questions who, why, what, when, where and how. They should contain interesting quotes and use factual, not flowery, language

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Advantages of PR n n n n n

Builds corporate personality Credibility is strong Supports other promotional elements Fairly low cost Newsworthy if linked to celebrities

Disadvantages of PR n n n n n

Hard to control the published message No guarantees of coverage Communication has a short life Can be difficult to measure effectiveness Can become newsworthy for the wrong reasons

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Sales Promotion The type of incentive chosen depends on the promotional objective

Objectives might be as follows: n Encourage trial of product – to overcome any negative perceptions, encourage brand switching n Extend existing customer base – by reducing the cost of brand switching n Prompt customers to change brand n Generate bulk buying – your consumers are less likely to switch brands if they have residual stock of your product n Overcome seasonal dips in sales – giving better value for buying now n Encourage trade to stock product – as helps in pushing products to consumers

Sales promotion is often described as ‘A short-term tactical marketing tool that gives customers additional reasons or incentives to purchase’

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Consumer Sales Promotions

Trade Sales Promotions

n Price reductions

n Discount on bulk orders

n Coupons/money-off vouchers

n Free supplies

n Entry to competitions/free prize draws

n Incentives

n Free goods

n Free prize draw competitions

n X per cent free

n Deferred invoicing

n 3 for the price of 2

n Merchandising and display material

n BOGOF – buy one get one free n Free samples or gifts n Guarantees or extended warranties n £x goes to y charity, if you purchase n Reward points/tokens against a free gift n Refunds or free gifts on a mail-in basis

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Advantages of sales promotion

Disadvantages of sales promotion

n Can provide a short-term sales lift n Can gain better store presence n Can be creative and forge links with other brands n Can generate good quality customer information

n Can encourage consumers to brand switch n Can be over-subscribed and cause fulfilment problems n Can reduce sales income in the long term

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Direct Marketing

Types of direct marketing activity

Direct marketing campaign objectives could be as follows:

n n n n n n

n Generate sales – by generating action, store visit or online orders n Build up sales leads – for sales people to follow at a later stage

Direct mail Door drops Selling via catalogues/brochures/websites Direct response advertising in the press Direct response advertising on television Telemarketing

n Invite recipients to visit a store – to gain information n Build the company database – to use for future communication n Remind people that an offer closes by a certain date – linking communication with sales promotions

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Advantages of direct marketing n n n n n

Easy to measure response Precise targeting possible Can send customized message Short lead times Good method for controlling message

Disadvantages of direct marketing n Many negative associations with this method n Direct response mechanisms are costly to administer n Costly systems needed to process information gathered

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Personal Selling While personal selling does occur in consumer marketing, mainly for larger, complex purchases such as financial services, cars, computer equipment, it is used much more in Business-to-Business marketing situations because of the nature of the customers and the purchases

Selling roles n Order taker – where the sales person takes a passive role n Pre-order caller – building relationships and giving information, e.g. medical representatives n Order supporter – the main skill may be technical knowledge, e.g. B2B software supplier n Order getter – where the sales person has to sell the product

Many sales involve the following negotiation phases: n Opening the sale – introduction, making appointments n Demonstrating the product n Handling objections – turning negatives into positives n Negotiating – offering other services or agreeing to price discounts for bulk orders n Closing the sale

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

Advantages of personal selling

Disadvantages of personal selling

n Two-way interaction n Sales people obtain market information n Good client relationships are profitable

n Costly to maintain a sales force n Training and updating of sales teams also costly n Lack of control of individual sales staff

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Evaluating Below the Line Methods n PR can be evaluated by the amount of print or broadcast media coverage n Sales promotion campaigns with ‘coupons’ can be coded and redeemed vouchers counted n Exhibition leads can be counted and leads that convert to business can be calculated against exhibition costs n Response rates from direct marketing campaigns can be counted and sales conversions evaluated against the cost of the mailshot exercise

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – BELOW THE LINE

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Hints and Tips n This unit focused on a variety of below the line communication methods. In particular, it examined the role of corporate identity, public relations, exhibitions, sponsorship, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling n For assessment purposes it is advisable to collect a range of below the line examples (from both trade and consumer sectors) that you can refer to in relevant questions n Be sure to be able to apply how below the line activities could be used in different contexts. Be prepared to answer questions on the role of corporate identity, branding and how logos are used to communicate with customers n Look at ways that mail shots and press releases are used so that you can apply these approaches n Finally, ensure that you understand how exhibitions and sponsorship work, as these topics may be used as the context for writing a letter or report Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

Unit 8

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Understand the characteristics and use of above-the-line promotion tools  Determine the suitability of various promotional activities  Formulate a promotional brief  Understand the concept of integrated marketing communications

Above the line media n n n n n n n

Television Press Radio Outdoor Cinema Internet Branding

Syllabus Reference: 3.1–3.13

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

Advantages of television

Disadvantages of television

n High impact creative medium n High audience coverage, builds audience quickly n Possible to show product being used n Good source credibility n Certain viewer segments can be targeted

n n n n n

High entry cost Audiences fragmenting with more channels Viewers may not watch commercials Subject to distractive ‘noise’ Complex to purchase with long lead times

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Advantages of Press

Disadvantages of Press

n Some have high circulation of a mass audience n Targeting possible, and editorial gives credibility n Flexibility of size, use of color and creative n Possible to convey complicated message n Short lead times n Long life of magazine advertisements and can be referred to at a later stage

n Newspapers only last a day n No exclusivity – may be near competitor advert n Lack of impact in crowded environment

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

Advantages of Radio Advertising n n n n n n

Both national and regional coverage Accessible in home, work or car Companiable medium used by many Source credibility gained by celebrity voices Short production period Can produce reactive advertising

Disadvantages of Radio Advertising n n n n

Passive medium often used as background noise Cluttered environment Advertisements difficult to distinguish Sound only, no visual techniques

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Advantages of Cinema Advertising n n n n n n

Glamorous environment Easy to target specific lifestyles Audience captive and receptive to message Can use audio and visual images Can be very creative Can target nationally, regionally or even just one cinema

Disadvantages of Cinema Advertising n n n n

High production costs High cost per thousand Still limited groups being reached No two-way response possible

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

Advantages of Outdoor Advertising n n n n

Good for opportunities to see Possible to buy sites near point of sale Local, regional or national campaigns possible Message gets long exposure

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Disadvantages of Outdoor Advertising n n n n

Message can be affected by weather or vandalism Detailed message not possible Long lead times Production quite complex

Advantages of the Internet

Disadvantages of the Internet

n Creative method of producing interactive message n Can track movement from linked sites and within site n Message can be kept as a permanent reminder

n Quite low coverage and needs support of other media n Complicated ads can cause downloading problems n Not yet mainstream in usage but developing fast

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

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Brand Image Whereas corporate image refers to the organization as a whole, the brand image relates to individual products/ services

Brand image is communicated in the following ways: n A name n A term n A design n A trademark n A symbol n A logo

Media Plans These are the plans that show how media should be put together over a specific period of time They are dependent on the audiences to be reached and the objectives to be achieved To communicate to the trade requires a push strategy To communicate with end users requires a pull strategy To build the organization’s profile requires a profile strategy Media choice will be dependent on budgets

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

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Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) IMC combines various communications elements for maximum impact. It is achieved as follows: n n n n

Starting with customers/prospects Having a common message Using all forms of contact, not just above the line Achieving synergy by speaking with one voice in all media

Benefits of IMC n Economical n Efficient n Effective n Enhancing n Coherence n Consistency n Continuity n Complementary Source: Pickton and Broderick’s 4 Es and 4 Cs of integrated marketing communications

The Advertising Brief The advertising brief is used within the communications industry to communicate with external suppliers n Client details n Background information n Objectives

Briefs are given to the following types of agencies: n n n n n n

Sales promotion Direct marketing Public relations New media Design and production Advertising

n Target audience n Message to be conveyed n Media n Timescale n Budget n Miscellaneous information

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THE PROMOTIONAL MIX – ABOVE THE LINE

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Evaluating Effectiveness The effectiveness of above the line media is measured as follows: n By pre-campaign and post-campaign research to assess levels of awareness before and after campaigns n Television audience research figures indicate who watches and when n Digital red buttons show audience response n Press research gives readership and circulation figures n Radio, cinema and outdoor industries all have audience measurement facilities n Links to websites and responses to direct response advertising telephone numbers also indicates effectiveness n Internet research can measure click throughs

Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on the main above the line media: television, press, radio, outdoor, cinema and the Internet n It has also looked at brand image, media plans, advertising briefs, the role of integrated marketing communications and evaluating the effectiveness of above the line media n For assessment purposes, ensure that you are familiar with the key characteristics of all the main media, so that you could recommend and justify a media plan in a particular context n Be sure that you understand what is meant by integration and consider problems and issues that might occur with integrated campaigns n Finally, make sure that you are familiar with the contents of a brief and how it could be applied to the wide range of consultancies that may be briefed to devise above or below the line promotional campaigns Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

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THE ROLE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

Unit 9

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Describe how technological developments are affecting customer communications  Understand the principles of web design  Appreciate how technology can be used to build databases Syllabus Reference: 3.14, 5.6

How ICT Improves Customer Communications n Database marketing uses computers to capture and store data about customers’ past purchase history, so that communications with customers are more relevant and targeted n Loyalty schemes in supermarkets use EPOs, not just for stock control, but also to target offers to customers n Customer Relationship Management schemes use computer software to identify customer lifetime value and maximize revenues from the most profitable customers n Data mining tracks customer files to identify future targeting opportunities n Database systems can be used for internal knowledge management systems

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THE ROLE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

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The Internet The Internet connects people from all over the world via a global network of computers

It can be used to do the following: n Promote and sell products/services n Provide information 24/7 globally n Enable two-way communication via e-mail n Capture contact information when people register details on websites n Build ongoing relationships through e-mail marketing or by giving additional benefits to online customers

Websites Most organizations have a website to communicate with their stakeholders. Before establishing a website it is important that the following factors are considered: n Decide your objectives for the website and who your audience is n If using sound and graphics, you may need to consider having an alternative simpler version of your website for those without access to sophisticated equipment or broadband access

n Include useful links to other websites where appropriate n Ensure the basic information, such as company and product information, is clearly visible n Website design can be improved upon and built up on an ongoing basis n Include interactivity so a customer database can be built up n Measure the number of hits and, if appropriate, calculate how that links with conversions to business

n Make the site easy to navigate around with clear instructions n Ensure there is a non-linear design so the website can be accessed from any page

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THE ROLE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

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Electronic Mail Electronic mail or e-mail is a method of sending text files from one computer to another in seconds. Messages can be sent and/or received by setting up an e-mail account with an Internet service provider It can be used as more than a messaging service because text, graphics, video and sound can be sent and received across the Internet E-mail can be sent to lists of customers in the same way as a mailshot can be sent by post. E-marketing is a useful promotional tool, especially for reaching named B2B customers. It avoids the paper and mailing costs associated with mailshots. However, effective e-marketing usually involves professional designers so that the e-mailshots stand out and communicate effectively

E-commerce Online shopping transactions are becoming more popular as more people are connected to the Internet and as they become more confident about the security associated with making online payments E-business is less about online transactions and more about making it easy to do business with customers, e.g. banks enabling customers to look at their accounts and do online transactions, or estate agents allowing prospective purchasers to do 360 degree virtual tours of houses before they actually visit a property E-commerce is about helping organizations and their suppliers do business together conveniently. This can help them source parts, reduce waiting times for stock, create inventory efficiencies and enable fast exchange of paperwork

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THE ROLE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

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Telecommunications There have been massive developments in the field of telecommunications: n Automated switchboards are now within the reach of even the smallest firms n Voice mail can enable companies to deal with large volumes of calls n ISDN allows the faster transfer of large documents than was possible on normal telephone lines and can be used for video conferencing n Mobile telephone technology is becoming more powerful as they are used to access e-mails. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) phones can be used to access the Internet n 3G mobile technology enables videophone calls and will make online transactions easier n SMS text messaging has become a valid tool in customer communications. For example, it is used as a very quick and cheap method of communication by estate agencies wishing to inform prospective purchasers of suitable properties that have come to market

Digital technology Digital technology for radio and television means improved sound and picture quality and also enables interactivity ‘Tell me more’ buttons enable people to find out more information about products/services, so that there is a move to more ‘permission marketing’ practices as organizations realize that intrusive methods do not always work

Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on how ICT is being used to improve customer communications n It looks at the role of the Internet generally and more specifically looks at how websites, e-mail and e-commerce are changing the way that organizations communicate and do business n The unit also looks at changes in telecommunications and the use of digital technology in relation to customer communications n For assessment purposes it is essential that you can answer questions that are set in the context of ICT but may relate to other areas of the syllabus – so it is about understanding the whole context of ICT in relation to customer communications n Ensure that you are familiar with up-to-date case study examples about how ICT is used and be sure that you can answer questions that relate to the use of ICT and relationship marketing Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance

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CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER CARE

Unit 10

LEARNING OUTCOMES     

Appreciate the importance of good customer service Understand how customer care can be improved Understand how customers can be satisfied Examine the issues associated with implementing customer care programmes Identify how customer care could be improved in a given situation Syllabus Reference: 1.3–1.5, 5.1–5.6

Customer Service Customer service is not just about dealing with complaints. It is about finding out what customers want and providing that service to a high standard, so that complaints will become unnecessary n n n n

Satisfied customers Satisfied customers Satisfied customers Your customers are

take up less time cause less stress and bring job satisfaction tell others about your organization your business – without them there is no business

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CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER CARE

Steps to Improving Customer Service The following steps can result in an improved service to customers: n Measure standards by finding out levels of customer satisfaction n Analyze the feedback n Act upon the information and develop the kind of service people want n Train staff to ensure competence

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n Review processes and procedures to ensure they are customer-focused n Exceed customer expectation if possible n Set up customer care lines and communicate this information widely n Have a ‘contact us’ section on your website n Send out questionnaires to lapsed customers n Train staff to deal with complaints should they arise

Customer Needs

Meeting Customer Needs

The following factors are crucial to providing good customer service:

Review sales/ordering systems

n Staff having a positive and proactive attitude n Customer friendly systems for payment, delivery, exchange, after sales and complaints n Knowledgeable staff n Product/service reliability and quality

# Improve accounts/invoicing processes

# Upgrade delivery and after sales

# Train staff to deal with customers

# Improve internal communication

# Invest in knowledge networks

# Use customer complaints to improve service

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS IN MARKETING

119

CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER CARE

120

Problems with Customer Care Systems There are several factors that can adversely affect the implementation of customer care systems: n If a specific department is allocated for customer care instead of training and empowering all staff to deal with customer care issues n If front line employees are not involved with establishing customer care programmes n If organizations move away from providing local branch networks to impersonal call centres n If employees are employed on short-term contracts then customer service becomes commoditized n If insufficient resources are allocated for rewarding good customer service n If management focus only on technology improvements

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS IN MARKETING

121

CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER CARE

122

Hints and Tips n This unit has focused on the importance of customer service, the ways that customer service can be improved and has examined the key customer needs that must be satisfied n It has also looked at the problems associated with implementing customer care systems and how they can be established in an organization n For assessment purposes, ensure that you are familiar with what customers consider to be important and make sure you are able to describe the stages involved in establishing a customer care programme Go to www.cimvirtualinstitute.com and www.marketingonline.co.uk for additional support and guidance