Consumer communication and persuasion is an essential part of any Marketing Strategy. In fact, it is the starting point of all improvement as consumer voices provide companies with the data such as where they are lacking and what all they could do to improve the product or service.
Do all companies listen to the consumer voices? Not really. It is only the ones which have an effective consumer communication process in place, that are really able to focus on consumer needs. Are you one of them? Let us take a look at the consumer communication process at Suntory to understand the Consumer Communication Process.
This company has set up a Customer Centre which takes up all inquiries, complaints, and proposals from customers. Though most of the queries are answered, the customer voices are sent across to related departments of the company. These departments analyze the gap between the customer needs and the products and services. After doing so, the quality improvements are suggested and the product development takes place in keeping with the customer demands.
Consumer communication should be used effectively to drive maximum benefits to the company. You must be thinking how. Let us look at few ways which will help you market effectively even in a downturn.
- When economy is changing, it is all the more important to get the customer feedback. It is not a good idea to fill their inboxes and mobiles with promotional messages. More so, you can use online surveys to understand how they are thinking and what they want. You can then make changes in your strategies, processes and so on to deliver the product that your consumers are aiming for.
- It is just not important to feed information to your consumers. Having a dialogue with them from time to time is also important. You can use the email marketing newsletters to invite them for such conversations. Apart from understanding their concerns, showing your consumers that you care is also very important. This will have far-reaching consequence and will benefit your company’s image.
- Try and co-host an event with another local business. This will highlight your product’s image in a positive manner. This is a kind of customer relationship building activity where you interact face-to-face with the consumer and show him your expertise.
- Consumers are becoming more and more environmentally aware these days. Anything against the environment would put you in a bad light. So focus that your product or service is following all the environment friendly standards. You can also show your concern by teaming up with local charity and involving your consumers in the event too.
The above points can also be used for consumer persuasion too. Face-to-face meetings are more effective in persuading people to buy your stuff. People can judge easily whether what you are saying has substance or not. Therefore, try your level best to portray the positive image of your product in a positive fashion. Once you learn the essence of consumer communication, you would never have to look back.
Elements of the Communications Process
- The Message Initiator (the Source)
- The Sender
- The Receiver
- The Medium
- The Message
- The Target Audience (the Receivers)
- Feedback – the Receiver’s Response
- Medium can be:
- Impersonal (mass media)
- Interpersonal (with salesperson or a friend)
- Interactive (direct feedback possibility exists)
Marketing communications is essentially a part of the marketing mix. Promotion is what marketing communications is all about.
Marketing communication aims at conveying a firm’s message as effectively and accurately as possible.
The process is as follows: Sender, Encoding, Transfer Mechanism, Feedback, Response and Decoding.
- Source: A source is also referred to as a sender. The sender has a message to convey to others. The sender can be anyone from a brand manager (in a major corporation such as Nike or Budweiser) to a salesperson in a smaller organization. At times, celebrities are used to endorse products and act as a sender for the product. It is always important to make sure that the source is credible and trustworthy.
- A direct source can be a salesperson delivering a message about a product.
- An indirect source uses a well known public figure to draw attention to a product.
- Encode: The source encodes or translates ideas into a message. For example, a brand manager decides to promote a new product.
- Message: After defining the target market, the marketer designs an effective message that will achieve the communication objectives.
- Receiver: The receiver is the person or group with whom the sender attempts to share ideas. Marketers want a response, the reactions of the receiver, after being exposed to the message: for example, a consumer receiving the message about the new product.
- Decode: The receiver decodes or interprets the message. For a message to be decoded by a receiver the way it was intended by the sender, the sender and receiver need to have common experiences. In other words, a receiver may not decode a message the way it was intended to if her background and experience differ greatly from the sender’s. A marketer has to be sensitive to the intended audience.
- Noise: Noise interferes with or disrupts effective communication. This can include a poor television or radio signal.
- Feedback: Feedback is monitoring and evaluating how accurately the intended message is being received. This can be done by conducting market research. Essentially, this involves asking consumers if they have seen the message, if they recall the message, and what their attitude was towards the product.