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In IMC, one is setting communication objectives and selecting media to maximize their ability to effectively reach the target market. But rather than only considering various ways of using advertising,. Strategic Integrated Marketing Communication or independently considering some form of promotion, the planning and execution of all marketing communication should be integrated. The point is that in the end one may consider any marketing communication that deals with brand building as delivering an advertising-like message, and marketing communication that is looking for short-term action on the part of the target audience as delivering a promotion-like message; and promotions should include advertising-like messages.

As we shall see in later chapters, the fact that marketing communication may be delivered via new media or old, as part of a direct marketing campaign or on the Internet, as an advert or promotion, the strategic foundation for the development and execution of the message remains the same. The brain will process the words and images the same way, regardless of how it is delivered. Sound is sound, words are words, and pictures are pictures to the brain, regardless of where the sense organs find them.

The role of advertising agencies in IMC Because traditional advertising agencies have the experience with advertising-like, brand-building marketing communication, they should have a better sense for what is needed strategically in the planning of all IMC. Most of the new promotion-oriented agencies and media service groups specializing in particular areas will simply not have the advertising-like message skills or experience needed to fully integrate the advertising-like message component in their promotions, or IMC planning in general.

But, they are still in a better position for understanding strategically what is needed to deliver effective IMC, and to have the relevant creative talent.

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To the extent that it is being used, it is probably most likely to be found among fast moving consumer goods fmcg companies operating globally as they look for ways to coordinate their international marketing communication needs. It should not be assumed by marketing managers that if they are not practicing IMC they are simply not enjoying the potential benefits of it. And the more complex the market, the less effective it will be. The lack of IMC, the lack of coordinated communications. Overview of IMC planning and the delivery of a consistent message, could lead to multiple portrayals of a brand in the market.

With a consistent look and feel something we will be dealing with in Chapter 9 , the overall impact of a campaign is much greater than the sum of its parts because the processing of each piece of marketing communication is facilitated by the prior processing of other messages in the campaign.

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When the individual messages being delivered lack this consistency, the processing of each different piece of marketing communication must begin from scratch. If each of these pieces has its own unique look, there will be no prior learning or foundation available when someone sees it. They must process the message on its own. As we shall see in later chapters, getting someone to process marketing communication at all is difficult.

Effective IMC helps. In fact, research has shown that there is a link between IMC and increase in sales, market share, and profit Marketing Week, Perhaps the single biggest problem revolves around the decisionmaking structure of most marketing organizations. The structure or organizational make-up of a company or agency, and the way managers think about or approach marketing questions frequently pose problems in trying to implement IMC programs.

We shall be looking at this in terms of specific organizational barriers to IMC and an organizations character. Additionally, the issue of compensation is often a serious roadblock to effectively implementing IMC. This results in a need for horizontal relationships struggling within vertical organizations. This leads to problems at the organizational level, where parallel structures, multiple departments, and functional specialties discourage the kind of communication between specialties required for IMC planning.

This type of problem is epitomized by the brand management concept, and recent moves by some large packaged goods companies to category or channel management is only likely to make the problem worse. IMC requires a central planning expertise in. Strategic Integrated Marketing Communication marketing communication. With diffused resources, individual manager relationships with marketing communication agencies and vendors, and critically a lack of incentive to cooperate, it is no wonder there are problems when it comes to effectively developing and implementing IMC programs.

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Organizational structure Although there is a broad agreement among marketing managers over the need for IMC, the very organizational structure of many marketing companies stands in the way of it being effectively implemented. There are a number of specific structural factors that can make this difficult. The low standing of marketing communication in an organization Unfortunately, for too many marketers, their marketing communication has a very low priority within the organization.

For many in top management, spending money on marketing communication is a luxury that can be afforded only when all else is going well. One of the fastest ways for someone concerned with the financial statement to send large chunks of cash to the bottom line is to not spend budgeted marketing communication money. With this sort of attitude, it is not surprising that those most responsible for marketing communication occupy lower-level positions within the organization. True, senior management does reserve the right to approve a campaign, and often does.

But it would be rare indeed to find senior management involved in the planning of marketing communication. Rather, it is generally somewhat junior brand managers or their equivalent who do the actual strategic planning, and the results of their work are passed up the management ladder for approval.

Even at companies where there are specific managers for advertising or promotion, these managers will have little power within the organization, and almost never final responsibility for the budget. Final decision on the budget will be with those managers doing the actual marketing.

We have always found this very shortsighted. As one brand manager put it in a personal communication with the author , can you think of any other part of business where decisions involving millions are made with so little senior management involvement? If even half the average packaged goods brand marketing communication budget were going to bricks and mortar, no doubt everyone including the board of directors would be involved!

Adding to this problem is the trend toward decentralized decision making. With more and more people empowered to make decisions at lower and lower levels, it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to. This is compounded by the tendency to look to specialists when confronted with large or complicated projects.


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Specialization To effectively manage IMC, those in charge ideally will be marketing communication generalists. In fact, what one is most likely to find in companies are people specializing in a particular area; and these specialists rarely talk with each other. They have their own budgets, their own suppliers, and jealously guard the areas they control. The problem becomes even more complex when one considers the marketing communication suppliers these specialists use. Each being a specialist in a particular area e.

By their very nature, whether intraorganizational or between suppliers, these specialists will want to keep communications programs separate. Given the narrow focus and understanding of these specialists, it is very difficult to bring them together in the first place, let alone expect them to have the broad understanding of many marketing communication options necessary for effective IMC planning.

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But even if they did have this understanding, getting them to give up control, especially when it is unlikely to be financially advantageous which we shall discuss more specifically later , is a lot to ask. Yet this is precisely what is necessary for IMC to work within an organization. We have just seen how traditional organizational structure can impede the flow of information and ideas within the organization. Too often only those directly involved with the marketing communication program are familiar with it and this can be a serious problem.

Culture of the organization How managers think is conditioned by both their own background and the culture of the company. This potential problem is then compounded. Strategic Integrated Marketing Communication in the IMC case when the culture of the marketer must interact with the culture of marketing communication agencies and vendors. Managers from different companies are likely to have different views of what makes effective marketing communication. This issue is also discussed later when we look at the potential problems inherent in how different managers perceive IMC.

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Here we are simply considering their general views of things and how that will be tempered by organizational culture. A great deal of literature on management addresses the idea that an organization will have its own defining culture, and that employees of the firm will absorb that culture. When managers come from different backgrounds or different marketing communication specialties, either within the marketing organization or at marketing communications agencies or vendors, they are likely to have different perceptions of what constitutes IMCs and the roles various people should play in IMC planning and implementation.

Because of this, it is not surprising to find that there are any number of notions about how best to go about implementing IMCs. The study among marketing managers discussed earlier in this chapter found a variety of opinions about how IMC should be achieved Caywood et al. We, of course, argue that while the marketer must take the lead in IMC planning, strategy should be worked out among all relevant parties, who then execute creative work guided by the common creative brief s , coordinated through the marketer.

Resistance to change Different perceptions of IMC will certainly mediate effective implementation. But much more troubling is the natural resistance to change that the idea of IMC is likely to trigger, making it difficult to implement despite general acceptance of the benefits. This is a problem that is especially compounded when advertising takes the lead which it should in most cases, as we have seen because of long-held feelings that advertising managers simply do not understand or even consider other means of marketing communications which unfortunately, is too often the case.

This is aggravated by the short-term tactical experience, for example, of those working in promotion versus the more long-term thinking of advertising managers. If employees feel the IMC manager does not fully appreciate their worth, they are certain to worry about where their specialties will fit in department budgeting, and fear their jobs will become less important or even redundant.

Such feelings could easily cause resistance to the implementation of IMC planning. Another way of looking at some of these issues of resistance to change is in terms of both intraorganizational and interorganizational politics. People, departments, and organizations want power and the rewards that go with it. Too often managers and their staff believe they will be giving up too much if they implement effective IMCs planning.


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Compensation is only one aspect of this problem. There are feelings of prestige and position that have in many cases been hard-won, that the combining of responsibilities required by IMC seem to threaten. This can be a very difficult problem. Financial emphasis Another important aspect of the character of an organization that bears upon IMC implementation is the misguided emphasis upon financial rather than consumer considerations in the development of marketing strategy.

The attitude of many managers is to let financial considerations drive their thinking when setting marketing objectives, rather than consumer wants or needs. But the consumer should be at the center of IMC planning.