When we start thinking of communication mix elements, we come across many and the list keeps increasing with new and new communication channels developed by marketing managers to bring an element of uniqueness and innovation.

Some of the elements of marketing communication mix are:

1. Advertising 2. Publicity 3. Personal Selling 4. Sales Promotion 5. Public Relations 6. Direct Marketing 7. Internet Marketing 8. Database Marketing 9. Sponsorship Marketing 10. Event Marketing.

Elements of Marketing Communication Mix: Advertising, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling and a Few Others

Elements of Marketing Communication Mix – 5 Major Elements

When we start thinking of communication mix elements, we come across many and the list keeps increasing with new and new communication channels developed by marketing managers to bring an element of uniqueness and innovation.


Commonly speaking, the following are the marketing communication mix elements:

Element # 1. Advertising:

Advertising is a paid form of marketing communication by a declared communicator.

An advertisement has many benefits that can be listed as follows:

(a) It carries product image, brand name and identifying logo to specify the product.


(b) It can list all the features and benefits of the product, giving complete information about the product.

(c) Since it can be creatively made, it can attract and persuade most of the customers towards it.

(d) It can have a product brand ambassador promoting the product to attract the customers.

(e) It can be placed at vantage points for all the customers to see it.


(f) Because of the various available media, it can be frequently published/broadcasted to ensure that all the customers have opportunity to see and notice it.

Various types of media that are available for a marketer are listed below:

i. Print- Newspapers, periodicals, flyers, leaflets, posters.

ii. Electronic- Radio, TV channels, cable operators, movie theatres, part of movie/TV episode storyline.


iii. Out of Home (OOH)- Hoardings, shop panels/shutters, auto rickshaw/bus/train panels, mobile display vehicles, bus stops, railway stations, display units at airports, malls, shopping arcades, multiplexes etc.

iv. Shop display windows.

v. Door-to-door canvasing.

vi. Sampling at various locations.

Element # 2. Sales Promotion:


To promote means pushing forward or putting at a higher level, and so PROMOTION means activities done to push forward the sales volumes or to put sales at a higher level. Sales promotions mean pushing forward or putting at a higher level, the sales volumes of a product.

Marketing managers do various activities to promote the sales volumes of their products. In fact, all the activities and elements of marketing communication mix are basically directed towards/conducted to promote sales of the product.

Sales promotions are broadly classified as:

I. Push Promotions:


Push promotions are also called as stock loading promotions as they help the marketer to push the stock to the channel partners who in turn push it further to the consumers. These are also called as below the line promotions as consumers do not understand the originator of the push and always think that the push is created by the channel partner.

For consumer products it is the retailer who is pushing the product. Push promotions are more popular amongst the marketing managers who are fire-fighting to achieve their targets in the short term.

Good sales/marketing managers avoid using these promotions as in their terms, it is buying your sale in advance and not achieving it through skilful selling. There is always a significant drop in sales volumes immediately after a push promotion is used.

Push promotions are always directed towards the channel partners and are given added incentives to buy/ push the sales. So there are two types of push promotions.


They are:

(a) Purchase of Higher Quantity than Normal:

One must understand the difference between quantity purchase discounts and push promotion directed towards purchase of higher quantity. The discount on purchase of higher quantity is a part of the price list and is available to all the customers at all the times but push promotions are specifically directed towards a few customers who are capable of buying and pushing to a higher quantity.

Typically, a push promotion is offered only to “A” class customers who are selling a high quantity of your products as well as the competitor’s. Offering push promotions to all and sundry customers lowers the image of the product as the channel partners feel that the product is not getting sold and needs a ‘Push’.

Some customers who are capable of pushing any products to their consumers may take disadvantage of the situation and demand higher incentive for purchasing a higher quantity.

Some of the push promotions can be listed as follows:


i. Ten plus one free

ii. One carton ten units free etc.

Good sales managers will always convert these push promotions and give the incentives in kind rather than cash/free goods.

This way they can increase the push by offering higher perceived incentive than actually being given, e.g. Instead of giving Rs. 1000/- as cash discount, a sales manager will hunt for an attractive gift with MRP Rs. 2000/- and because it is being purchased in quantity from the manufacturer is available only for Rs.1000/-.

This way the channel partner perceives the incentive to be Rs.2000/- while the organization spends only Rs.1000/- as planned and gets better results in push.

Another way of giving incentive in kind is to offer free trips, for example, to Singapore. When the organization is buying the trip from the travel agents, because they are buying in bulk they get bulk discount and end up paying much less than the perceived value to the channel partner.


(b) Selling/Pushing Higher Quantity to Consumer than Normal:

This type of PUSH promotion is a longer period promotion than the earlier type. We can list some of these type of push promotions as follows.

i. Organizations give quarterly/half yearly or yearly targets to their channel partners and on achieving these targets they are given big incentives. The channel partners push the products to achieve the target and get additional incentives.

ii. Organizations declare targets to their sales staff and on achieving these targets they get a title as Star Salesman/officer with a special necktie and incentives.

iii. Organizations declare targets for the interim sales staff of the channel partners to push the products and give them incentives on achievement of the targeted sales.

Push promotions always give good results when the channel partners consider your product equal to the brand/category leader and convert the customers of other products to your customers temporarily or sometimes forever.


II. Pull Promotions:

Pull promotions create a consumer ‘Pull’ for the product and in this type, consumers are incentivized to purchase the product.

The following types of pull promotions are common:

(a) On Pack Gift:

On pack gift was a very popular method of pull promotions, but is not used much now for operational difficulties. Sway detergent powder and then many other soap companies used this method very effectively in olden days by giving a large serving spoon along with the pack.

Of the many popular on pack gifts, we can list the following which were very successful:


i. Glass ‘Katori ‘offer on Elaichi Horlicks.

ii. Stainless steel spoon offer on Plain Horlicks, Boost and many tea brands.

iii. Train photos and album free on Boost.

iv. Cricketer’s photos & album on A1 fruity (toffee).

v. WWF photos on Oven fresh bread.

vi. Tiny animal replicas on Binaca.


vii. Sketch pen on Maggie noodles.

viii. Cold coffee shaker on Nescafe.

ix. Mugs on Boost, Tata coffee.

The problem now is that the retailers are creating problems as many retailers do not give the gift to the customers and sell the gifts separately for profit, leading to failure of the promotion. Another problem is that the retailers ask for very high handling charges for the promotion, increasing the cost of the promotion.

(b) Additional Quantity at the Same Price:

This is a very popular method currently and most of the FMCG companies are using it regularly.

Some of the most popular amongst them are as follows:

i. Horlicks 500 gms at the rate of 450 gms and one kg at the rate of 800 gms promotion (This promotion blocked the launch of plain Milo – a Nestle product successfully).

ii. 30% more quantity at the same rate on many shaving creams and shampoo sachets.

iii. 20-30% more quantity in Colgate and other tooth powder packs.

iv. 20% more quantity at the same rate in many hair oils.

(c) Price Off:

This also a very popular promotion idea being used again with tamper-proof labeling available to manufacturers now.

(d) Scratch Card with Pack:

Scratch card with the pack is a promotion that has very limited success as most of the time the customers get only the lowest promised gift or no gift, so customer support for it is negligible. In this promotion, the customer is given a scratch card along with the product.

After scratching the card, it shows the gift the customer is entitled for. It worked initially for its novelty value but does not give the desired results any more.

(e) Mystery Gift inside the Pack:

This scheme is still popular as customers get some or the other utility gift inside the product. The limitations are from the packaging front as the gift needs to be packed in such a way that it does not hamper the quality of the product and does not go against the Packaged Commodity Act. Some organizations have successfully used this by giving gold chains and coins inside the pack. Currently Lux is offering a gold coin inside the soap cake.

(f) Lucky Numbers on the Wrapper/inside the Crown:

In this promotional scheme, marketer’s print lucky numbers on the wrappers or inside the soft drink bottle crown and instructions to get gifts are given on the wrapper and advertised in the print media. The consumer after getting the lucky number contacts the given address and collects the gift.

(g) Gift on Repeat Purchase:

This is a type of promotion directed towards creating loyalty amongst the consumers. This is operated in various ways e.g. Giving a discount coupon on the next purchase or bringing in collection value to the gift offered in each pack.

Successful promotions of this type are listed below:

i. Poison Butter Gift Coupons:

Poison Butter, the only packaged butter available in India before Amul was introduced, was sold in 50 gms, 100 gms, 200 gms packs. The sides of the outer cardboard pack used to have discount value or gift coupons. Customers were required to collect the coupons of various values to claim various gifts of different value. Since the gifts were attractive and not readily available in the retail market, customers used to collect the coupons and claim the gifts.

ii. Wimco Matches Alphabet Promotion:

In Wimco match boxes the alphabets W I M C & O were imprinted and customers were required to collect a set that spells WIMCO to claim the gift. Since one of the alphabets was hard to get, customers kept on purchasing to complete the spelling.

iii. A1 Fruity Cricketer’s Photos:

A1 Fruity, a popular toffee used to give a small photo of cricketers inside the pack. Children used to collect these photos and once they had completed the series of all 32 photos could claim a printed album from the company. Students used to exchange these photos and try and complete the series. It was very popular.

iv. Boost Train Promotion:

Boost came out with a unique train promotion wherein there used to be one of the twelve different photographs of trains from different parts of the world. After collecting all the twelve, customers could claim a printed photo album with detailed information about those trains.

Inside the album there was a form that used to ask the customer why he liked Boost (Slogan) and contact details. Customers with good slogans got a toy train which operated on battery. This promotion was a huge success.

(h) Gift on Purchase of Multiple Quantities:

These types of promotions are also popular in consumer consumables as well as consumer desirables.

Some of them can be listed as follows:

i. Buy three get one free is a common promotion on many soap brands.

ii. Buy two get one free is a common promotion on many textile brands.

Product in Attractive Pack:

Sway, a detergent from Swastik Oil Mills came out with an attractive bucket pack for 2 kg of Sway and it sold very well, in the days when plastic buckets were a novelty. The same idea was then replicated by Nirma with good success. Since then, many products have been offered in attractive packing to get good sales.

Some of them can be listed as follows:

(a) One kg. Horlicks/600 gms Boost in an attractive floral jug.

(b) Two hundred grams of Nescafe in an attractive kitchen jar.

(c) Cadbury’s celebration packs.

Element # 3. Personal Selling:

Personal selling is the most important and original form of marketing communication. In this, the sales person meets the customer and convinces him to purchase the product.

The following personal selling situations are common:

(a) Door to Door Selling:

In this situation, a sales person/vendor carries products with him door to door and explains the product, its features, and benefits to the customer and tries to sell the product. The sales person may attract the customers by shouting the product name so that customers come out or may tap individual doors and talk to the customers.

The sales person has the advantage of showing the demonstration of the product to convince the customers e.g. Eureka Forbes selling vacuum cleaners.

(b) Street Vending:

The sales person may squat on the road displaying his products or may use a handcart and move around carrying the product. In this form also the vendors are seen to be shouting the names of the products to attract the customers to come out of their homes and buy the products.

(c) Roadside Stalls:

Instead of moving around carrying the products, some sales persons choose to construct a stall on the roadside and sit there regularly. Customers keep coming to him, where he convinces them to buy the products.

(d) Stalls in Exhibitions:

New concepts, novelty products and new products are displayed in various types of exhibitions by taking a stall there. Most of the exhibitions have attractions for children in the form of games like Merry-go- round and food stalls to attract the younger crowd.

People come to see new concepts, novelty products or simply enjoy a family/friends outing and the marketer gets a chance to communicate with them and explain the utility of their products.

(e) Shop Counter Sales:

This is the easiest form of marketing communication and selling situation. The shopkeeper arranges all his products in a proper display where any customer entering the shop or passing by the shop notices various products and enters the shop with the intention to buy or get information about the product.

The counter salesman can communicate with the customer and give him all the information to persuade him to purchase the product. Since the customer has entered the shop with the intention to buy the product and if he is satisfied with the information, it is easier to sell the product.

(f) Selling through Channel Partners:

All the FMCG products, and many industrial/institutional products are sold through channel partners. We have already seen various channel designs and their utility. In selling through channel partners, the organizations need to convince the channel partners to stock and sell the products.

Channel partners make the product available at the maximum possible locations and the marketer can inform the consumers about the availability at these places, through advertising in the media.

(g) Ethical/Missionary Sales:

In this situation, representatives visit medical practitioners and explain to them the product features, benefits and effective dosage for various age groups. The medical practitioners when motivated, prescribe the medicinal products to their patients.

Since there is no use of advertisements (according to medical practitioners, for advertised products unethical practices are used to lure customers) in this type of sale (medical practitioners refuse to prescribe advertised products even if they are the best) it is called as an ethical sale.

(h) Industrial/Institutional Sale:

In Industrial/Institutional sales, mostly channel partners are not used and sales persons are sent directly to meet the prospective customers to sell the products by giving full information about the utility of the products to the industrial/institutional customers.

Element # 4. Public Relations:

Public relations are a paid form of marketing communication without a declared sponsor. When an organization wants to create good opinion about itself or its products, the communication needs to be done by a third party and the consumers are necessarily kept in the dark about the organization prompting the message.

Many organizations get events organized where the prominent speakers talk about topics like for example, public health and then talk about the goodness of a particular product that is helpful for the purpose. The customers listening do not know that the event has been arranged only to promote the product’s sale and take it as expert opinion and start using the product.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities can also be termed as public relations even when the known sponsor is present. CSR helps improve the image of the organization and its products. E.g. Hand-washing day sponsored by HUL to promote Lifebuoy soap is a CSR/ public relation activity of HUL that promotes washing hands and then says,’ Lifebuoy is best for the purpose.’

Element # 5. Direct Marketing:

In direct marketing, customers are contacted by the marketer and are communicated about the product.

The following methods of direct marketing are most common:

(a) Mail Order:

In this type, customers are given information about the product in various ways described below and asked to order the product directly:

i. Catalogue Selling- Customers are provided with catalogues giving descriptions of products. They can choose the product and send order along with the money order/demand draft and get the products home- delivered.

ii. Advertisements- Advertisements giving contact details and prices are published. Customers can choose the product and send order along with the money order/demand draft and get the products home- delivered.

iii. Mailing Shots- Data of prospective customer’s contact details is procured from secondary sources and printed brochures/leaflets are mailed/posted asking them to order the chosen products by sending the money in advance.

(b) Tele-Calling:

Data of prospective customer’s contact details is procured from secondary sources and they are called on telephone/mobile to give information about the product and persuaded to purchase the product directly by ordering it with money sent to the marketer.

(c) Teleshopping:

Various television channels air programs where manufacturers can display and demonstrate their products and convince customers to order their products directly.

(d) E-Commerce:

With internet becoming common to most of the customers in developed and developing nations, marketing through internet is becoming common. This type of marketing is called as E-commerce, a short form for electronic commerce.

Advertisements are posted on the internet and various social networking sites to give information and demonstrations about the product and customers are attracted and persuaded to purchase the product by sending orders directly to the manufacturers.

(e) Factory Showrooms/Outlets:

In the olden times, artisans used to sell their wares at their production site only to the customers who visited the artisan with their requirements. Today, many manufacturers open up factory outlets/showrooms where their products are put on display and sold directly to the customers.

Factory outlets/showrooms operated through franchisees do not qualify to be called as direct selling as the franchisee is an agent selling the products for the manufacturer.

(f) Personal Selling Vs. Direct Marketing:

Personal Selling:


i. Face to face contact with customer gives opportunity to clarify customer doubts.

ii. New customers can be enrolled by explaining features and benefits.

iii. Customer can handle the product before purchase.

iv. Customer has more faith when purchasing from a person who is reachable.

v. Market expansion is possible by reaching out to all the probable customers.

vi. Real time situation of market conditions at various locations can be understood.

vii. Competitive activities can be observed and immediate reaction to counter can be taken.


i. High cost of selling if volumes are low.

ii. Effective monitoring and control required to keep sales staff motivated and efficient.

iii. Regular training of sales staff is required.

Direct Marketing:

Benefits and Drawbacks:

i. Low cost of selling.

ii. Less number of sales staff required.

iii. Building customer faith is difficult.

iv. Imitations can eat into market share.

v. Imitations can spoil market reputation.

vi. No understanding of customer problems, objections to quality, quality complaints etc.

vii. Competitive activities are not known, so competitors can become more active and become leaders before you know the reasons for loss of sales.

viii. Deliveries dependent on logistic partners, who may fail many times.

ix. New market expansion is not easily possible.

Concept of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC):

With customers getting knowledgeable and competition becoming intense and strong, marketing communication needs to be perfect to the point. With access to the target audience with the required frequency at the lowest possible cost, one cannot use a single channel to send marketing communication to the targeted customer. This is where the concept of integrated marketing communication was generated.

The Marketing manager is required to use various channels/elements of communication in an integrated manner i.e., all the channel/elements should pass on exactly the same message to the customer at the same time and there should be no ambiguity in the message. E.g.-

For a new product launch, a marketing manager can use the following communication channels simultaneously:

i. Newspapers announcing arrival of the new product.

ii. Television channels explaining the usage, features and benefits.

iii. Shop displays are put to remind the customer at the point of purchase/sale (POP/POS).

iv. Demonstrators may give product samples to consumers at the shop or door- to-door.

v. The product may have on pack gift to customers.

vi. The channel partners are given Push promotions to push the product to customers.

vii. Outdoor publicity may be used to support other efforts.

viii. Internet, viral marketing.

This all-out effort can have a greater impact, ensure product trials and help in the adaption process.

Elements of Marketing Communication Mix – Top 10 Elements: Explained!

Marketing communication-mix consists of advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, publicity and other elements as shown below:

(1) Advertising:

It is defined as any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion- of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor. It is impersonal salesmanship for mass selling, a means of mass communication.

(2) Publicity:

It is non-personal stimulation of demand for a product, service or a business unit by placing commercially significant news about it in a publication or obtaining favourable presentation of it upon radio, television, or stage that is not paid for by the sponsor. Public relations focus on building goodwill and creating positive image of the company among stakeholders.

(3) Personal Selling:

It is the best means of oral and face-to-face communication and presentation with the prospect for the purpose of making sales. There may be one prospect or a number of prospects in the personal conversation. Personal selling involves two-way communication. When it comes to convincing the prospect, closing a sale and transferring the title from seller to buyer, personal selling becomes the strongest tool of promotion.

During personal interview, the sales person understands the needs and wants of prospect, highlights product benefits and convinces him to buy the product.

(4) Sales Promotion:

It covers those marketing activities other than advertising, publicity and personal selling that stimulate consumer purchasing and dealer effectiveness. Such activities are displays, shows, exhibitions, demonstrations, and many other non-routine selling efforts at the point of purchase. Sales promotion tries to complement the other means of promotion given above.

(5) Public Relations:

The process of building goodwill towards a business enterprise and securing a favourable public image of the company is called public relations. The marketers should have good relations with customers, shareholders, employees and the community. Participation in social welfare projects enhances public image of the marketer.

(6) Direct Marketing:

Under direct marketing, a sale is effected without the help of middlemen traders. Examples- Mail order sales, in-home selling, sales through vending machines etc.

(7) Internet Marketing:

Internet marketing involves use of Internet and related digital technologies for achieving marketing objectives.

(8) Database Marketing:

A customer database is an organised collection of comprehensive data about individual customers, prospects that are accessible for marketing purposes such as sale of product or service and maintaining customer relationship.

(9) Sponsorship Marketing:

Sponsorship marketing means that the company pays money to sponsor someone or some group. A firm can sponsor individuals, activities, or events. For years, companies have been sponsoring sports, arts, festivals, fairs, and annual events. Sponsorship can be used to enhance company’s image, increase firm’s visibility, differentiate a company from its competitors, and develop relationship with customers.

(10) Event Marketing:

Event marketing is similar to sponsorship but in this case, the company supports a specific event.

Promotion Messages:

The message transmitted through all forms of promotion must describe the product features in terms of customer wants and desires. The problem-solving or need-satisfaction approach is better while transmitting the message. It develops better understanding of customer needs and problems.

Remember that customers are buying a bundle of benefits. The promotion message must communicate effectively these benefits to consumers. Hence, promotion message must achieve two basic objectives- Communication and persuasion. For effective communication, sender and receiver must have a common background of experience, e.g., a common culture, common language, so that they will be clearly able to symbolise certain ideas, concepts and events in a manner easily understandable to each other.

Meaning attached to the various words, ideas and symbols may differ when sender and receiver of the message do not have common frame of reference and common field or background of experience. In the absence of such a consensus, communication may be poor or even impossible.

The best example of consensus is the communication of product benefits in French or Japanese language to a villager in India or any other developing country at present. Communicator may be stressing the benefits in which receivers are not interested at all. In that case, there will be a communication barrier leading to bad communication.

Promotion by definition is persuasive communication. The message is arranged to facilitate the consumer in the decision-making process (awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction, and action). Promotion message is one course of information at the disposal of a buyer.

The buyer behaviour is influenced by many other sources of information available from many sources. If promotion message is useful, relevant, and credible, the buyer will be influenced and persuaded to take action as desired by the marketer or communicator.

Unfortunately, we come across fraudulent, deceitful and misleading promotion message. The innocent consumer, relying on the promotion message, purchases the product but, very soon he discovers the dissonance and frustration in his post-purchase experience. Without satisfaction, repurchase and consumer loyalty will be impossible. On the other hand, word-of-mouth communication will act as anti-advertisement.

The Process of Persuasive Communication:

Buyer’s welcome persuasive communication provided persuasion does not amount to coercion. Coercion is criticised by consumerism. It compels people to do exactly according to the marketers’ directions. Buyers can be induced to visit a store, listen to radio commercials and watch television jingles, read magazines and newspaper advertisements or actually write to the firm for more information.

The individual potential buyer is induced to pass through several stages on his way to buy a product or favour a seller.

The AIDA formula proposed these stages as-

(1) Awareness (attention),

(2) Interest,

(3) Desire, and

(4) Action.

Promotion is a systematic attempt to move forward step by step from a stage of unawareness to awareness, then to knowledge and liking, then to preference and conviction and finally to purchase action or a behavioural response.

Broadly speaking, there are three distinct kinds of consumer response to promotion:

(1) Awareness and knowledge emphasising cognitive response,

(2) Changed attitudes, emphasizing affective response (consumer moving from cognition to liking and preference) and

(3) New behaviour including motivational response (moving to conviction and action, i.e., purchase decision).

The marketer must remember that communication accomplishes its objectives in a series of mental stages as the receiver or audience moves from unawareness to actual purchase. Several messages through several channels are necessary in order to complete the process of promotion.

The purpose of communication must be made clear before deciding upon most desirable messages and media. Then again, the marketer must be aware of the fact that his promotion is only one persuasive influence operating among many other influences in a total situation.

All marketing communications try to influence pre-dispositions (attitudes, beliefs, values, goals, etc.) of buyers towards the firm and its products. Marketing communications cannot be planned without knowing something about existing buyer behaviour or his inclinations or pre-dispositions.

Marketers must know their audience thoroughly. Buyer’s pre-dispositions and behaviour are governed by the socio-economic, demographic, and personality characteristics. The receiver is an active participant in the promotion process. The receiver assigns the meaning to the message according to his predispositions.

The attitudes and beliefs are learned from experience and the receiver tends to act towards a particular object in the environment in a particular way. Hence, action towards a company and its products. The response to promotion is subjective and it entirely depends upon the mental frame and satisfaction of the receiver of the message.

Each receiver finds his own meaning to the message sent by marketers. The consumer/user is the key to the whole exercise of communication. The consumer will accept communication which will interest him.

Elements of Marketing Communication Mix – 6 Major Elements (With Advantages and Disadvantages)

The marketing communication mix, also known as the promotion mix, consists of six major modes of communication/promotion.

These are also known as the elements of the promotion mix:

A. Advertising.

B. Media.

C. Sales Promotion.

D. Personal Selling.

E. Public Relations.

F. Direct Marketing.

A. Advertising:

Advertising is nothing but a paid form of non-personal presentation or promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor with a view to disseminate information concerning an idea, product or service. The message which is presented or disseminated is called advertisement. In the present day marketing activities hardly there is any business in the modern world which does not advertise. However, the form of advertisement differs from business to business.

Advertisement has been defined differently by different persons.

A few definitions are being reproduced below:

i. According to Wood, “Advertising is causing to know to remember, to do.”

ii. According to Wheeler, “Advertising is any form of paid non-personal presentation of ideas, goods or services for the purpose of inducting people to buy.”

iii. According to Richard Buskirk, “Advertising is a paid form of non-personal presentation of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor.”

iv. According to William J. Stanton, “Advertising consists of all the activities involves in presenting to a group, a non-personal, oral or visual, openly sponsored message regarding disseminated through one or more media and is paid for by an identified sponsor.”

v. According to Philip Kotler, “Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.”

In simple words, “Advertising is a means of informing and communicating essential information.”

The above definitions clearly reveal the nature of advertisement. This is a powerful element of the promotion mix. Essentially advertising means spreading of information about the characteristics of the product to the prospective customers with a view to sell the product or increase the sale volume.

The main features of advertise are as under:

i. It is directed towards increasing the sales of business.

ii. Advertising is a paid form of publicity.

iii. It is non-personal. They are directed at a mass audience and not at the individual as is in the case of personal selling.

iv. Advertisements are identifiable with their sponsor of originator which is not always the case with publicity or propaganda.

The purpose of advertising is nothing but to sell something -a product, a service or an idea. The real objective of advertising is effective communication between producers and consumers.

B. Media:

What is Media?

Media are the agencies, means or instruments used to convey messages. Advertising is done through a mass medium. Before we proceed further, it is necessary to take a look at the various types of media used for advertising.

Categories of Media used in Advertising:

1. Print media.

2. Broadcast media.

3. Speciality media.

1. Print Media:

Print media can include any of the following:

i. Newspapers:

The advantages of using newspaper as a medium for advertising are:

a. Large readership;

b. Known circulation (easy to target);

c. Low cost;

d. Timely and flexible.

The disadvantages are:

a. Wasted circulation;

b. Disposable (short lifespan);

c. Poor print quality.

ii. Direct Mail:

The advantages of direct mail are:

a. The advertiser can be highly selective;

b. Flexible and secretive;

c. Wide choice of formats;

d. Can use coupons or other incentives;

e. Can directly make the sale.

The disadvantages of direct mail are:

a. Low level of response;

b. High costs;

c. Poor image (junk mail) and often not read.

iii. Magazines:

Magazines can be classified as – Local, Regional, National weeklies, Monthlies and Quarterlies. Another classification is based on where they are categorised – for example, consumer magazines (Reader’s Digest, Femina, etc.,) or business magazines (Fortune, Business World, etc.)

Advantages of using magazines for advertising are:

a. Easy to reach the target audience;

b. Read slowly and thoroughly;

c. Good print quality.

d. Longer life span because they are kept for an extended period of time.

The disadvantages are:

a. Less mass appeal within a geographic area;

b. More expensive than newspapers;

c. Not timely or flexible (long lead times).

iv. Outdoor Advertising:

It comprises of three types of outdoor signs:

a. Posters – Pre-printed sheets put up like wallpaper on outdoor billboards;

b. Painted bulletins – Painted billboards that are changed every 6 months to a year;

c. Spectaculars – Outdoor signs using lights and moving parts, and are situated in high traffic areas or cities.

Advantages are:

a. Highly visible;

b. Relatively inexpensive;

c. Permits easy repetition of message;

d. Can be geographically tailored for the target market.

Disadvantages are:

a. Short message due to limited viewing time;

b. Unknown audience;

c. Government regulations.

v. Directory Advertising:

This is not a very popular medium for advertising.

The main advantage is:

a. Alphabetical listing of businesses;

b. Relatively inexpensive;

c. Found in 98% of households – all demographics;

d. Kept for at least a year – not thrown away.

Disadvantages are:

a. Very inflexible due to being printed yearly;

b. Wasted advertising (to non-target market).

vi. Transit Advertising:

It involves using public facilities such as – subways, buses, advertising in railway stations, etc.

Advantages are:

a. Reaches a wide and captive audience;

b. Economical;

c. Defined market (usually urban).

Disadvantages are:

a. Unavailable in smaller towns;

b. Subject to defacement;

c. Restricted to certain travel destinations.

vii. Broadcast Media:

It comprises of radio and television.

Advantages of radio advertising are:

a. Can select the target audience;

b. Flexible – can change quickly and easily;

c. Mobile (can be taken anywhere – shopping Jogging, hiking or driving).

Disadvantages of radio advertising are:

a. Short life span;

b. Sometimes there are many stations and the advertiser will need to choose among them. If the advertiser decides to use all of them, it may be more expensive.

Advantages of television advertising are:

a. All elements for creative message;

b. Believability;

c. More personal and effective;

d. Can reach the masses or target specific interests;

e. Adaptable to special needs.

Disadvantages of television advertising are:

a. Expensive – the highest production costs – too high for small businesses;

b. Audience size is not assured;

c. Nuisance – channel surfing – leave during commercials,

viii. Speciality Media:

It comprises of inexpensive, useful items with an advertiser’s name printed on them – these are usually given away for free.

C. Sales Promotion:

Definition – It is a sponsor-funded demand stimulating activity, designed to supplement advertising and facilitate personal selling.

It frequently consists of a temporary incentive to encourage a sale or a purchase. Sales promotion may be directed at the consumer or the retailer/trader.

Sales promotion uses many tools like coupons, premiums, etc. Although these tools are diverse in nature, they offer three basic benefits to the marketer.

i. Communications – They gain attention and usually provide information that may lead the consumer to the product.

ii. Incentive – They incorporate some concession, inducement, or contribution that gives value to the customer.

iii. Invitation – The tools of sales promotion include a distinct invitation to engage in the transaction at that time.

Major Decisions in Sales Promotion:

Some of the major decisions in sales promotion include:

i. Establishing the sales promotion objectives;

ii. Selecting the tools;

iii. Developing the programme;

iv. Pre-testing the programme;

v. Implementing and controlling the programme;

vi. Evaluating the results.

Objectives of Sales Promotion:

Just like in advertising, there are various objectives for doing sales promotion.

Let us look at some of these major objectives:

i. Increase in short term sales volume – Sales promotion generally involves offering an incentive to the prospective customer for a short period of time in order to motivate him to buy. This results in a short term increase in the sales volume.

ii. Maintaining customer loyalty – In an era of ever-increasing competition, sales promotion gives loyal customers a reason to buy the product/brand and not switch from it. Thus, it helps to maintain customer loyalty.

iii. Emphasising novelty – Sales promotion, while incentivising the customer, is often used to urge customers to buy and try out newer products. Thus, it is often used with the objective of emphasising the novel aspect of the product.

iv. Complementing other promotional tools – Sales promotion blends well with the other elements of the marketing mix, and hence can be used as a complementing promotional tool for personal selling and direct marketing as well.

Selecting the Sales Promotion Tools:

Many sales promotion tools are available. The marketer must take into account the type of the market, sales promotion objectives, competitive conditions, and the cost-effectiveness of the tool while selecting the tool.

Two categories of sales promotions tools:

i. Consumer promotions – These are the promotions that are targeted at the consumers where they are offered an incentive to buy a product or a service.

ii. Trade promotions – These are sales promotions targeted at the middlemen or traders. Here, the promotion is based on them buying from the manufacturer and reselling to the final consumer.

D. Personal Selling:

It is defined as a direct presentation of a product to the prospective customer by a representative of the organisation selling it.

It takes place face-to-face or over the phone, and it may be directed to a business, person or a final consumer. Basically it emphasises on a personal interaction between the buyer and the seller.

Objectives of Personal Selling:

All the tools or elements of the promotion mix are designed and used to fulfill certain objectives.

Let us take a look at the objectives of personal selling:

i. To create a positive image of the organisation and the product in the minds of prospective customers – Personal selling is often used to imprint upon the mind of the customer the image of the organisation and its products.

ii. To explain the technical aspects of the product that cannot be done through advertising – Often, it has been observed that for technical products, advertising cannot be used to communicate the technical aspects of the product. In such cases, personal selling is found to be immensely useful. One of the main advantages here is that the person promoting the product can get an immediate feedback from the customer and solve his queries regarding the same.

iii. To create confidence in the minds of the customers – When a product’s features are explained, it creates confidence in the minds of the customers about the product.

Types of Personal Selling:

Personal selling comprises of the following three basic types:

1. Direct Selling.

2. Distribution Selling.

3. Outlet Selling.

1. Direct Selling:

Direct selling, as the name suggests, involves selling of the products/services directly by the manufacturer to the customer without any intermediary.

In personal selling, direct selling has the following features:

i. Uses the human capital resource;

ii. Offers high earnings to those who do not have businesses;

iii. Home based;

iv. People get people strategy- In other words people who purchase get other people to buy;

v. Very sound business model.

2. Distribution Selling:

Another form of personal selling is distribution selling.

This involves:

i. Sales efforts to cover geographic region;

ii. Covers relevant distribution channels.

3. Outlet Selling:

This is also a form of personal selling.

It involves:

i. Sales efforts by a salesperson to customers who come to a specific outlet;

ii. It is generally seen at all retail outlets.

E. Publicity and Public Relations:

This encompasses a wide variety of communication efforts to create generally favourable attitudes and options towards an organisation and its products. Publicity is a special form of public relations that involves news stories about an organisation or its products.

Objectives of Publicity and Public Relations:

There are several objectives of publicity and public relations.

i. To create a Positive Image:

Just having a good product is not enough in today’s world. It is essential that the customers of the organisation as well as all other stakeholders have a positive image about the organisation. One of the major objectives of publicity and public relations is to create that positive image in the minds of customers and all stakeholders.

ii. To Defend the Image of the Organisation against Competition:

To sustain in the competitive situation, it has become imperative for organisations to defend their image against the competitors. Since most organisations will have products and services of the same quality, customers will generally favour products and services of those organisations that have created a positive image vis-a-vis the competitors.

iii. In Case of any Mishaps, to Recover Lost Ground:

Many a time, the organisation finds itself in the eye of the storm due to certain controversies. The media, being very active, blows up many small issues into major ones. In such a situation, one of the objectives of publicity and public relations is to salvage the situation by clarifying the issues and creating confidence in the minds of the target audience.

iv. To be a Constant Reminder to the Target Audience:

It is often said that – “Out of sight is out of mind.” Publicity and public relations are often used to remain in the news and remind the target audience about the existence of the firm and its offerings.

Advantages of Publicity and Public Relations:

i. Since it is not done by a known sponsor, it carries more weightage in the eyes of the consumer – In case of advertising, sales promotion or personal selling, the sponsor is the organisation itself, and as such, it is assumed that it would project its own image and its products and services in a good light. However, in case of publicity, it is a neutral source (like the press) that writes about the organisation and its products and services, and therefore, it carries more weightage in the consumers’ mind.

ii. Creates a positive image in the minds of the customer Publicity and public relations create a positive image in the minds of the customer.

Disadvantages of Publicity and Public Relations:

i. It can create a negative image – It may also create some controversies and thereby lead to a negative image.

ii. Customers might consider it as a ploy to hard-sell the products – Customers might find an organisation as pushing hard for selling the products by undertaking more publicity.

F. Direct Marketing:

Direct marketing is an interactive marketing system that uses one or more advertising media to effect a measurable response and/or transaction at any location.

Direct Marketing consists of direct connection with carefully targeted individual consumers to obtain an immediate response as well as cultivate lasting customer relationships.

However, Direct Marketing is also an element of the communication mix, as an approach for communicating with the consumers directly.

Forms of Direct Marketing:

The major forms of Direct Marketing include:

i. Telephone marketing,

ii. Direct mail marketing,

iii. Catalogue marketing,

iv. Direct response television marketing,

v. Kiosk marketing, and

vi. Online marketing.

vii. Personal selling,

i. Telephone Marketing – This involves using the telephone to sell directly to customers.

ii. Direct-Mail Marketing – This involves sending an offer, announcement, reminder or any other item to a person at a particular address.

iii. Catalogue Marketing – This involves direct marketing through print video or electronic catalogues that are mailed to select customers made available in stores or presented online.

iv. Direct Response Television Marketing – Direct Marketing via television including direct response television advertising or infomercials and home shopping channels.

v. Kiosk Marketing – Placing information and ordering machines called as kiosks at select locations to enable customers to place orders directly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Marketing:

Advantages of Direct Marketing:

Direct marketing provides a host of advantages to both the buyer and the seller.

For buyers Direct Marketing is:

i. Convenient.

ii. Easy to use.

iii. Private.

iv. Can be used from home.

v. At a convenient time.

vi. Immediate and interactive.

For sellers:

i. Powerful tool to build customer relationships.

ii. Helps target smaller groups or even individual customers.

iii. Helps send personalised communications.

iv. Can be timed rightly.

v. Low cost communication tool.

Disadvantages of Direct Marketing:

Some of the disadvantages of Direct Marketing are:

i. Invasion of privacy of the buyer Many a times buyers are upset at receiving mails/phone calls or mailers that they have not solicited and can sue the organisation for invasion of privacy.

ii. Irritation – Buyers often get irritated with direct marketing phone calls/mailers and other direct communications.

iii. High throwaway rate – Many buyers will simply throw away print communication sent as a direct mailer without even reading it.