What is the Marketing Communications Mix?

A lot has been said about the marketing communications mix but what is it really? Should a business owner be aware of these things or does it just happen? As a responsible business owner, you must be aware of the different aspects of communicating your product to your market. There must be different strategies and styles that you have to use so that it makes your brand stand out more and more each day.

While some aspects of the mix may not be outright applicable to your brand but still it has some bearing in one way or the other. Although there are a lot of versions of the marketing mix here are a few of those parts of the mix : personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, direct marketing, trade fairs and exhibitions, advertising, sponsorship, packaging, merchandising, e-marketing and brands. But the general components of the mix can be divided into four – product, place, price and promotion.

These four general ideas of the marketing mix can touch all the bases regarding your brand. The Product aspect of this mix would cover all that has something to do your product – from the innovation to the differentiation of your brand. These points are important because this will dictate how different your product should be and what your product can do for the consumers that is why they should patronize you.

Price is another part of the mix that will play a very important role. How much will the consumer pay for your product? Factor in the different values like material costs, competition, your share in the market and even how the consumer will put a value on your product. The law of supply and demand will also come into play – the more the supply, the lesser the price, the more the demand the higher the price.

The other P of the mix would be the Place. The place would guide you in planning your strategies in terms of the avenue where your product can be seen. This will answer the where questions. Where will you distribute your product? Are these distribution channels the place for your product to be? Where will you do your direct and indirect sales? E-commerce will also fall in the Place category of the marketing mix.

The last P would be Promotion. This is a very exciting playing field because you can go creative and imaginative in this part. All forms of advertisement will fall in this category. Even your online marketing strategies are a part of the Promotion part of the marketing mix. As this will be a broad playing field, it will be confusing especially if you do not have a plan of action. Here you will have to find ways of reaching your target market in the the places where they are seen frequently.

As you can see, it is a rather challenging mixture. But once you have gotten the hang of the marketing communications mix you can be sure that everything will just fall into place.

5 Reasons Your Marketing Communication is Falling Flat

One of my associates sent me a promotional email she’d received. “I know this marketing communication doesn’t work,” she told me, “but why doesn’t this make me want to buy?” I took a look, and what I saw was familiar and sad. The promotional piece was for a weekend retreat. I could feel all the good intentions behind it, but the words just lay on the page like tired puppies. Worn out. No zip. No life.

As solo business owners, we are often at a loss to understand why our words aren’t getting a better response. Although an offer can fail for many reasons, I always recommend you look first to your marketing communication.

Why? Because if your message doesn’t connect, you won’t get much payoff from more exposure. Once your words really speak to people, you’ll get more bang for your buck from more marketing activity or better alignment.

Here then, are the top 5 reasons your marketing communication may fail to strike a chord.

1. No Clear Focus for What You are Offering.

When we aren’t clear on the ultimate outcome that we are delivering, we sometimes try boosting our appeal by offering to deliver everything under the sun. In this case? The retreat offered: renewal, creativity, connection, peace, appreciation of life, awareness, balance, and self-discovery

Phew! It’s so many different ideas my poor brain can’t wrap around it all. There’s no central theme or image I can use to fix in my mind what she’s offering. Instead of thinking “wow! I’d get a lot from this experience,” I walk away thinking, “I am confused, and I wonder if the retreat leader is too.”

2. No Verbal Markers that Say “I am talking to you!”

When we try to be a fit for everybody, we end up being a fit for nobody. Even when we think we believe in the law of attraction, our words often reflect our indecision or confusion about whom we want to reach. One sure sign that you aren’t clear? When there are no concrete “identifiers” in your copy. By identifiers, I mean phrases like “as a working mom,” “as a business owner,” “in the workplace,” “navigating the world of academia.” These concrete markers confirm for the audience that your marketing communication was written for them. It makes it personal.

3. No New Insight into Your Audience’s Struggle

It’s no longer enough to let your audience know that you feel their pain. You have to quickly demonstrate that you have valuable insight into that pain. That you’ve made some connection they haven’t about why they are stuck where they are. That gives them hope that what you are offering aren’t the same old tired solutions that they’ve heard of before.

In this marketing piece, I would have liked to have heard answers to questions like “What is it that leads us to be so disconnected from ourselves?” “Why is renewal needed now more than ever?” Even something as simple as “The harder we work, the more we need quiet, open space to recharge our batteries” would have made me go, “hmm, could that be true for me?”

4. No Visible Plan for Delivering on Your Promise

Once you’ve shown that you know your audience, and you have a juicy and specific outcome to offer them, the communication shifts. Your reader is no longer asking, “Am I interested?” She is asking, “Do I believe this person can deliver on what they are promising?”

Testimonials are one way to establish credibility, but what testimonials don’t do is create a picture for your audience of how you lead them step by step to the destination you’ve promised. When the way you deliver is a mystery, you’re asking people to take a big leap of faith. When you describe your logic, process, or philosophy in a limited number of steps, your audience can see how your steps or ingredients add up to the outcome you are promising.

For example, if the woman offering the retreat had listed the “five stages of renewal” or the “three ingredients of creative discovery,” her readers would have immediately believed more strongly that she could deliver.

5. No Fire in your Belly

To me, words are transparent. They reveal every nuance of who you are, how you see yourself in relationship to the world, and how you feel about your work. Since so many creative professionals say they hate marketing, it is a surprise that the communication they write comes across as strained and tense?

On a gut level, you readers will feel if you are writing from the place of consuming excitement about what you offer or from a place of caution and ambivalence. The more you let your words carry your passionate and full-hearted energy, the more your message will have an indefinable “something” that stirs the readers’ soul and sparks their interest in what you offer.

Copyright 2004-5. Isabel Parlett. All rights reserved.

How to Build a Compelling Marketing Communications Folder

What do you give your prospects after they’ve expressed an interest in your products or services? Most small business owners simply pass out a single sales brochure. It’s much more effective to present a complete folder of information that works to further build trust and confidence. This article discusses the inserts I recommend you include in your marketing folder.

Insert #1: The Compelling Story

Every small business owner should be able to tell a compelling story about their passions and why they started their business. After all, how can you expect to create passion in your customers if you’re not able to convey your own business passion?

The Compelling Story is just that – a short 1-page info sheet on just why you created your business. The story must be personal, engaging, and fun to read. If you can make an emotional connection with the reader, you’ll quickly build trust and confidence with your prospects.

Below are a few points to help you craft the perfect compelling story.

– Be personal – Talk about the people you’ve touched in your business

– If possible, appeal to the emotions

– Make your story fun to read

– Tell your story with passion

– Show your human side – talk about mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned

Your Compelling Story is the perfect start to your marketing communications folder.

Insert #2: The Competition

The purpose of this insert is to summarize why people should buy from you as opposed to your competition. Summarize all the advantages of doing business with your company. Communicate your unique approach, the value customers get when they do business with you, and why your products and services are the best in your field.

Again, make this a single sided sheet and pick just three or four points to communicate.

Insert #3: The Problem Solver

How are you are able to solve the business problems of your customers? This insert should tell the whole story.

Here’s what I suggest you include in this single-page insert.

– Define the main problems of your target market

– Describe how your product or service solves those problems

– Describe the steps needed to solve the problem

Insert #4: Product and Service Summary

In this insert, summarize your various product/ services and list the benefits of each.

Make sure you discuss the benefits, not the features. This is an important distinction. Too many companies spend their time covering product features instead of focusing on the benefits to the customer.

Insert #5: The Testimonial Page

This is the page that summarizes your best customer testimonials. Here are a few ideas for collecting customer testimonials.

1. Many customers may feel they don’t have the time to write a testimonial. For customers with an established relationship, write one up on their behalf and present it to them for their approval.

2. After completing a successful transaction with a customer, ask them for a quick testimonial. Have them write a few sentences down on a piece of paper. It will only take a minute and they will rarely refuse if you have provided value.

3. To create more powerful copy, ask your customers to write the testimonial as if they were recommending you to a friend.

Insert #6: The Informational Article

Write a short article on a topic that is important to your customer base. Include a web URL where they can view or download the entire article at no charge. By providing free and useful information, you will build on the trust and confidence you have already established.

So there you have it – all the main components of a strong marketing communications folder. You can purchase a pocket folder with your logo and tag line printed on the front from your local print shop or a service such as VistaPrint. I recommend purchasing folders that have slots on one of the inside pockets for your business card.

Any time you have someone that expresses an interest in your products and services, mail or give them a copy of your folder. It’s a powerful marketing communication strategy that will build trust, interest, and repeat business.