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Marketing communications as a strategic function

Introduction

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In this unit, we emphasise the strategic importance of marketing communication, rather than seeing it as merely a tactical process of promoting the other elements of the marketing mix. Brands exist in the minds of customers not only through their experience of a product or service, but also because of the long-term effects of communication.

Traditional marketing models fail to capture the complexity of contemporary consumer behaviour. Simple cause and effect can no longer be relied upon as a predictive guide for consumers or markets. Established communication models, particularly those which picture communication as a magic bullet fired at the customer's mind to ensure compliance with marketing plans, are similarly inadequate. Instead, both academics and practitioners are embracing models which acknowledge the autonomy and unpredictability of customers.

Communication is, of course, essential in any relationship. Building and managing relationships with consumers and customers has a direct bearing on marketing communications. Marketing communications helps define an organisation's relationships with customers not only by the kind of messages exchanged, but also by the choice of media and occasion to suit their customers’ preferences.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Marketing in a complex world (B825), which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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