Written by DESPINA HARALAMBOPOULOS and IVY YU
“Hi, (Despina) it has been a while since we have seen you”…A usual exchange between family, friends, your hairdresser, the place that you buy your lunch, your favourite restaurant. Right…Well wrong…
Now you could be forgiven for thinking that this exchange was in fact between parties that have an intimate relationship like family and friends. So you can imagine my surprise when one night I went to open my emails and found this message in the subject line. My immediate response was not one of “Oh that is nice” but rather, “Who is this?”, “How do they know that?”, “Why are my movements known”? As the questions were going through my head I remember my heart racing and feeling as though my privacy was violated.
Of course I wanted answers to my questions, so I opened the email and realised that it was from one of my favourite brands. It now made sense. I remembered having shopped at the store during a promotion period for members. I recall being asked at the time if I was a member to which I replied “No”. I was then informed that to sign up is really easy and there are no costs. I thought this was great. Easy, no costs and unlike health cover memberships there are no waiting periods. I would immediately be saving money. Of course I agreed to become a member but clearly I was ignorant to what in fact I was signing up for….
Email marketing such as the example above has been used to build loyalty and retention throughout the customer database which is the most valuable asset for a business. Active customers, those that open, click emails and take action afterwards are considered most valuable. Most of us have signed up for Coles Flybuys and Woolworths Everyday rewards and by doing so, Coles and Woolworths collect a huge amount of customer data. They are able to learn about our shopping habits, what, when and where we shop, buy our petrol, how much we spend on average every week and so on…
The proliferation of traditional and digital media has given rise to the concept of integrated marketing communication (IMC) that has been described as an inside-out approach to marketing communication.
Business need to build an inside out approach to marketing communication that involves expanding media choices so as to capture reach, intimacy and engagement.
New media technologies – the Internet, mobile broadband, e-commerce, internet-enabled entertainment, social networking, and others – are fundamentally changing the way people interact with each other and the world.
The evolution of the internet has seen the redirection from the organization monologue towards consumers to the dialogue and interactions with consumers in real time. The internet is an interactive community where users can communicate, share, post, blog and create content in real time.
Traditional media whilst achieving reach goals do not provide a true marketing exchange. Consumers are no more than innocent and unwilling bystanders in the actions of marketers.
Digital technology marketing such as social media and email marketing has changed the relationship between consumers and business. Terms such as prosumer (i.e. producer and consumer) and presumption (i.e. production and consumption) have emerged to reflect this change in relationship.
Moreover the term “prosumer” has transformed from meaning “professional consumer” to meaning “product and brand advocate.” Rather than simply “consuming” products, people are becoming the voices of those products and significantly impacting the success or failure of companies, products, and brands, particularly through their involvement on the social web.
Digital marketing puts consumers, the information and messages in the centre of communication. Businesses are no longer completely in control of their products, brands and messages. Today, consumers are in control. In the case for Ivy, CUE email marketing (as one kind of integrated marketing communication), has built her brand awareness, loyalty and positive attitude to the brand. In some instances Ivy will receive 3-4 emails within one week and in this case she will click and delete immediately. However when Ivy receives from CUE about new season campaigns or sales she will often go to the store, to look and which most often will result in a purchase. What is your experience with email marketing?
Relationship communication is any type of marketing communication that influences the receiver’s long-term commitment to the sender by facilitating meaning creation through integration with the receiver’s time and situational context. Whereas the integrated marketing communication refers to an integration of messages that takes place at the company level, integration according to the Relationship Communication Model refers to integrating the message with the consumer’s time and situation. The integration takes place at the consumer level. Instead of integrating outbound messages the focus is shifted to the consumer’s integration of inbound messages. Thus reinforcing the change in relationship between businesses and consumers.
Businesses need to let go and allow their prosumers take control and spread the messages….Prosumers are the greatest drivers of business’ product, brand and can influence the success and failure. Businesses should refrain from strategies to maintain control such as covert marketing. When these strategies go wrong, businesses are exposed and can be negatively affected.
“Word of mouth” is an important and effective influencer of consumer purchases. eWOM messages are more permanent as compared to the fleeting and temporary nature of traditionally spoken WOM message. This changing online environment necessitates businesses to focus on building credible online reputation.
On a final thought, the digital and online platforms such as social media have brought about changes to the IMC. Digital media presents only a part of IMC strategy and requires integration with traditional marketing. What do you think?
Rakić, B & Rakić, M 2014, ‘INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS PARADIGM IN DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT: THE FIVE PILLARS OF INTEGRATION’, Megatrend Review, vol. 11, Issue 1, pp. 187-204.
Nekmat, E & Gower, KK 2012, ‘Effects of Disclosure and Message Valence in Online Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) Communication: Implications for Integrated Marketing Communication’, International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 85-98.
TĂLPĂU, A 2014, ‘SOCIAL MEDIA – A NEW WAY OF COMMUNICATION’, Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov Series V: Economic Sciences, vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 45-52.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2010/07/03/the shift from consumers-to-prosumers/