Modern marketing calls for more than just developing a good product, pricing it attractively, and making it available to target customers. Companies must also communicate with their customers and there should be controlled direction to those communications. Promotion provides the primary communication function. As one of the four major elements of the marketing mix, promotion uses advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing to achieve the company's communication objectives.
There is a need for developing effective integrated marketing communications. Marketers know that as mass markets have fragmented, a shift is underway away from mass marketing. In addition, vast improvements in information technology has sped the movement toward segmented marketing. The result of these two trends is that companies must now blend promotional elements into an integrated marketing communications mix that carefully coordinates all the elements of the promotion.
Advertising is any paid form of nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, and services by an identified sponsor. There are five important tasks to be accomplished as the marketer attempts to organize and direct the advertising function, including setting objectives, budget decisions, message decisions, media decisions, and campaign evaluation. The marketing firm can undertake the advertising function themselves or they can contract with an advertising agency to accomplish their advertising objective, planning, and implementation.
Public relations is an attempt to build good relations with the company's various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good "corporate image," and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, or events. The organization has a variety of tools at their disposal for accomplishing this feat. One of the overriding tasks of public relations is to control the exposure and relationship with the mass media. By focusing on consumer attitudes, awareness, and knowledge of the organization, the company is better prepared to succeed.
Robert Louis Stevenson once noted that "everyone lives by selling something."
Today, most companies use salespeople to bring their company's offering to the consuming or business publics. The salesperson's role is a key one in the organization. The high cost of maintaining a sales force means that management is especially interested in how to efficiently organize this vital element. Six basic steps or decisions are important to the sales management process. They are: designing sales force strategy and structure, recruiting and selecting salespeople, training salespeople, compensating salespeople, supervising salespeople, and evaluating salespeople.
As an element of the marketing mix, the salesforce is very effective in achieving certain marketing, communication, and promotion objectives. The formal steps in the selling process that aid the accomplishment of these objectives are prospecting and qualifying, preapproach, approach, presentation and demonstration, handling objections, closing, and follow-up.