International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012         Determining the In...
International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012awareness and brand image a...
International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012reduction [3]. The purpose ...
International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012     IV. THE IMPACT OF DIGI...
International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012[2]    J. Baran, J. Galka, ...
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Determining the integrated marketing communication tools for different stages of customer relationship in digital era


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Determining the Integrated Marketing Communication Tools for Different Stages of Customer Relationship in Digital Era

Amir Ekhlassi, Vahid Maghsoodi, and Shiva Mehrmanesh

Abstract—The purpose of this paper is to study the objectives, tools and media appropriate for each customer relationship stage and present a model showing this. Information era and changes caused by that have had an undeniable impact on these concepts. Thus, impacts of digital era and internet on dimensions of the presented model are discussed. Customer relationship management programs are focused on acquiring best customer, maintaining and encouraging him to consume products and services of the company more. The success key to this relationship is marketing communication. Firms communicate with customers, through marketing communication functions such as advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and etc.
IJIEE 2012 Vol.2(5): 761-765 ISSN: 2010-3719
DOI: 10.7763/IJIEE.2012.V2.202
The authors are with the Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, and Tehran, Iran (e-mails:,,

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Determining the integrated marketing communication tools for different stages of customer relationship in digital era

  1. 1. International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012 Determining the Integrated Marketing Communication Tools for Different Stages of Customer Relationship in Digital Era Amir Ekhlassi, Vahid Maghsoodi, and Shiva Mehrmanesh  communication elements [5]. Abstract—The purpose of this paper is to study the Communication era and changes caused by that has hadobjectives, tools and media appropriate for each customer an undeniable impact on these concepts. Despite obviousrelationship stage and present a model showing this. influence of internet on IMC there are few studies aboutInformation era and changes caused by that have had an IMC specific requirements and opportunities in onlineundeniable impact on these concepts. Thus, impacts of digitalera and internet on dimensions of the presented model are environment [6]-[8] and also the relationship between IMCdiscussed. Customer relationship management programs are and CRM [9], [10]. Digital revolution has had an importantfocused on acquiring best customer, maintaining and influence on MC horizon in all three fields of functions,encouraging him to consume products and services of the messages and media. Information technology (IT) tools are acompany more. The success key to this relationship is foundation on which every successful CRM strategy ismarketing communication. Firms communicate with customers, based. Furthermore, the growth speed of internet andthrough marketing communication functions such asadvertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and etc. technologies associated with it has raised many opportunities for marketing and has improved company- Index Terms—Integrated marketing communication, customer relationship [11].customer relationship management, digital era, internet CRM evolution can be categorized in three stages as customer acquisition (CA), customer retention (CR) and customer development (CD). Particular forms of MC tools I. INTRODUCTION are more applicable in each CRM stage. In spite of Customer relationship management (CRM) becomes a importance of this fact, most companies do not succeed inpriority for most companies during recent years and by implementation of CRM system due to insufficient attentionapplying it they try to survive in competitive markets [1]. to this. The purpose of this paper is to give a conceptualAlthough there is not a universally accepted definition for model for determining the appropriate MC tools and mediaCRM, it can be considered as building proper relationship for each CRM stage and studying the impact of digital era inwith customers in different ways to make a long term profit general and internet in specific on the model.[2, p6]. The purpose of CRM is to increase the opportunity This paper carried out a general review of IMC literature,of repurchase by improving the customer relationship its most important tools and media and different CRMprocess and providing right offer through right price and stages. At first the most important MC tools and CRMproduct and via right communication channel at right time. stages has discussed from different perspective. Then aCRM programs are focused on acquiring best customer, model is given to classify CRM goals and MC tools andmaintaining and encouraging him to consume products and media suitable in each CRM stage. At last the impact ofservices of the company more. The success key to this digital era and internet on the model dimensions has beenrelationship is marketing communication [2]. investigated. Marketing communication (MC) is a general phrase thatdescribe all types of different tools to deliver plannedmessages via different media to audiences in order to build II. LITERATURE REVIEWbrand. The most significant tools are: advertising, sales A. Integrated Marketing Communicationpromotion, direct marketing, public relations, personal IMC is a concept that has become a significant topic forselling, event and sponsorship [3]. Duncan has added both academics and firms from the beginning of the 1990scustomer services and packaging to them [4]. IMC is used to [12]. According to Schultz, IMC is a process through whichcoordinate and align all communication’s activities in every companies accelerate returns by aligning communicationcustomer touch point in direction of one goal. This concept objectives with corporate goals [13]. Duncan defined it as: ais an approach to ensure that brand personality, messages concept that direct and coordinate the process of planning,and position are derived from a unique strategy and are implementing and supervising brand messages by whichdelivered to the customer with synergy among all brand-customer relationship is build [4]. To applying this concept, various tools are used that their major Manuscript received May 11, 2012; revised June 21, 2012. specifications and applications are shown in Table I. The authors are with the Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Advertising is a paid, non-personal offer of products by aand Tehran, Iran (e-mails:,, company [3] via various types of print, outdoor, broadcasting and interactive media in order to create brandDOI: 10.7763/IJIEE.2012.V2.202 761
  2. 2. International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012awareness and brand image and persuade customer to challenging matter for organizations [19]. Specially for fastrespond [14]. moving consumer goods (FMCG), packaging play a critical Sales promotion is a value added short term suggestion to role in brand identity like a miniature billboard, whilemotivate customer to immediate response and product trial delivering the last brand message to the customer. It is[4], [3], [15]. Overusing this tool can damage brand image estimated that almost 60-70% of purchase decision ofand decrease the profit in long term period [16]. FMCGs is not taken before arrival to the shop [4]. Direct marketing is a database driven, direct and Companies utilize events for their MC objectives in threeinteractive communication process that uses wide range of ways. They create events, participate in them or sponsormedia to stimulate a customer response. Because of amount them. Companies sponsor a person, an organization or eventof intrusiveness, it can be seen as an annoying tool by to announce their brand publicity and associate with thatcustomer. To avoid this, decreasing customer defection subject in order to reinforce the brand [20].should be considered as well as trying to increase profit [17]. Customer service as another MC tool is the process of managing interactive and two-way brand-customer TABLE I: MAIN SPECIFICATION AND APPLICATIONS OF MC TOOLS MC tool Main specifications Main application experience. The purpose of customer service before, during  Brand awareness and particularly after purchase is customer retention and his  Non-personal satisfaction [4].  Brand image Advertising  One-way  Encourage a  Paid B. Customer Relationship Management response  Short term CRM is a business process in order to identify, choose, Sales  Facilitate the acquisition, retention, development and serve the customer  Encourage an promotion buying decision immediate response in a better way by usage of customer information and  Enabling dialogue purchase history [2]. In another definition CRM is the  Direct and two-way with customer organizational approach to understanding and influencing on Direct  Data based  Product and customer behavior through a meaningful relationship in marketing  Using wide range of services order to improve customer acquisition, retention, loyalty and media customization profitability processes [21]. CRM evolution can be  Formal channel of communication categorized into three stages: customer acquisition, customer  Create and control with society retention and customer development. Public brand news specially in crisis Customer acquisition: CRM focal point is most on CR, relations  No media spending management but CA is also necessary to be succeeded. Some believe that  The most credible MC  Reinforcement and CA is out of CRM domain. However, because companies modify brand lose about 20-40% of their customers annually, CA is image essential [2].  Dominant tool for  Face to face New customer acquisition deals with gaining short term B2B and special Personal communication profit and growth and focus on general public. CA is a products in B2C selling  The most effective and necessity for replacing the customers who do not need the  Brand message expensive MC personalization company’s products anymore [22]. New companies and  Brand identity new products should concentrate on CA that is gained by  Containing product reinforcement IMC and advertising through mass media in order to create Packaging information  Delivering the last brand awareness [4].  Free medium brand message Customer retention: prevention from customer churn by  Active involvement CR is at the heart of CRM [23].  Create, sponsor or of customers Until the beginning of 1980s, marketing attempts was Events and participate in  Brand public sponsorship celebration, contests mostly focused on CA by means of making better marketing announcement and and trade fairs reinforcement mix in comparison with competitors. A common message  Managing brand- had been sent to all people by the use of mass media and the customer interactive  Customer retention product and price was a way to acquire customers. But, as a Customer relationship  Customer result of IT developments and the capability of collecting service  Company`s attitude and satisfaction customer information and purchase history, CR strategies behavior toward become the priority [2]. customer Considering customer needs and wants, companies utilize direct marketing and try to maintain current customers by means of customer loyalty programs and increasing Public relations attempt to create and control the brand customer satisfaction with offering high quality services andnews, announcements and reminders that publish by public products, managing complaints and customization andmedia without spending. Marketing managers take personalization of orders [11].advantages of this MC to build and reinforce their brand Prevention of a current customer’s churn is less costly[18]. compare to acquire a new customer and cause more sales Personal selling is an interpersonal relationship by which and profit [4]. Acquiring a new customer is almost fivesales representative fulfill the customer needs to gain mutual times more expensive than customer retention. Profitabilitybenefits. Personal selling is the most effective and expensive can be enhanced 25-85% with only 5% customer churnMC tool. Therefore, sales force management is a very 762
  3. 3. International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012reduction [3]. The purpose of customer retention strategies reminding and persuading. For this step awareness is theis to build, maintain and continue a long term relationship most applicable goal. For introducing brand to prospects,with customer [2]. mass media such as TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, Companies should find customer churn reasons and try to billboard, catalog and brochure can be used. Personal sellingreduce or eliminate them. There is no way to maintain as another tool of CA should be employed for most likelycustomers who leave a district or market. But, keeping prospects instead of cold calls. Perhaps this is the mostcustomers who leave as a result of high price, low quality or effective tool in B2B. Handy, attractive and rich illustrativedefective products need an action [24]. Two main ways for packages can encourage prospects to purchase, specially forCR are raising switching cost and providing customer FMCGs. Holding, sponsoring or attending in various typessatisfaction [3]. of events such as sports, cultural, TFs, ceremonies and etc Customer development: in this stage, companies increase provide an opportunity to introduce the brand. Salestheir selling to current customer [25]. Firms recognize and promotion is also one of the most fundamental tools tounderstand customer incentives and predict their behavior persuade customer to buy and is very effective in gathering information and CRM, to enhance buying gathering customer information by placing forms incurrent or new products [2]. Some of the customer growth different customer touch points such as sweepstakes orand development strategies are cross selling and up selling auctions is one of the CA strategies that can lead to create a[23]. To customer development, a company must look for list of prospects [2].unfulfilled needs. More selling from current products and The next CRM step is maintenance and continuity theselling extra products are methods of CD [26]. long term relationship with current customers in order to build customer loyalty. Undoubtedly, customer service is one of main tools that provide a basis to receive and manage III. CONCEPTUAL MODEL customer complaints during and specially after selling so In this model, we try to determine and classify CRM that facilitates CR. According to a research from numerousgoals and MC tools and media those are more appropriate in customers about the most effective factors on CR, customereach CRM stage. Though presented tools and media for service with 85% was recognized as the second (aftereach stage are not unique and they can be used in different product quality) and public relations (particularly in disasterstages of CRM cycle, our focus is on more related tools and management) with 73% as the third effective factor [4]. Inmedia. another survey, 63% of questioned companies have stated As shown in Table II, the first step of CRM is identifying that email had been their most effective CR tool [4]. Directand acquiring prospects by means of current customer’s marketing by using a wide range of interactive andinformation and history [2]. New companies and new addressable media (such as telephone calls, SMS, mail,products often look forward to acquire new customers and email and etc.) can send right massages in right time to keepthe most important MC tools for this reason are advertising, current customers and increase their share of wallet from thesales promotion, events, packaging and personal selling. brand [4]. Firms also are using public relations via different TABLE II: GOALS, TOOLS AND MEDIA OF CRM STAGES kinds of news media (TV, radio, newspaper, news websites CRM CRM goal MC tools Media and etc.) to enhance credibility, reinforce brand image and stage as a result prevent customer churn. In addition, since CR is  Mass media  Identifying at the heart of brand relationships, sale’s persons in (TV, radio, prospects to  Advertising newspaper, meetings and TFs not only should create relationships, but replacing also try to keep it on. Their main goal must be building trust  Sales promotion magazine, Acquisition defected  Events and outdoor media so that the customers keep their relationship with brand [4]. customers sponsorship e.g. billboard, Advertising through mass media is used for CR with the  Brand  Packaging catalog and goal of reminding the brand to customer in his future awareness  Personal selling brochure) purchase.  Short term  Product Customer development is another step of CRM that profit packaging means selling more products to current customers. For this,  Make and  Interactive MC tools such as personal selling, events, packaging and keep Long term media e.g. sales promotion can be applied. Sale’s person has the  Customer service internet and opportunity to inform customer of his hidden needs and relationship  Retention Direct marketing email  Customer necessity to fulfill them in face to face meetings and  Personal selling  TF and sales loyalty persuade him to buy more company products. Many events  Public relations meeting  Long term also provide an opportunity for cross selling [4]. For  Advertising  Mass media profitability instance, while Olympics sponsorship, Coca-Cola provides  Different news  Reducing CA drinks in games venues exclusively. By product bundling, media cost companies can encourage customers to consume related  Events and  TF and sales Development products that can be done by means of studying customer  Cross selling sponsorship meetings buying habits or by creativity [11]. Sales promotion either at  Up selling  Packaging  Product the consumer level or at the distribution channels’ level is a  Sales promotion packaging good motivation for customer to buy more than what he needs. Advertising has three main objectives: awareness, 763
  4. 4. International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 5, September 2012 IV. THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL ERA DEVELOPMENTS ON richer informative environment compare with telephone THE MODEL calls, is less costly than personal selling, is not individual- As it will be discussed, although internet is not the only based and has 7/24 accessibility [4]. The simplest form ofoutcome of digital era, but it can be considered as the most internet presence is setting up a website that is calledsignificant consequence of this revolution. The rapid growth brouchureware. Other internet advertising tools includeof internet in last decade has altered the classic using other websites to propagation. Search enginecommunication procedures. Reference [27] considered three optimization, banner advertising, click through, pop up andmain factors to distinguish internet from other pop under and the new concept of participative marketingcommunication channels: interactivity, transparency and are examples of these tools.memory. Because of its advantages internet has became thefirst and main interactive media. Internet has provided a TABLE III : IMPACTS OF DIGITAL ERA ON MARKETNG COMMUNICAION MIX MC tools Digital era impact  Magazines’ customizability  Moving pictures in LED outdoor displays  Higher quality sending and faster, more targeted and less costly Advertising access via digital TV and radio  Internet ads through websites, banners, pop up, social networks, email marketing, viral marketing and etc. Sales  Creation and use of customers database via IT tools and then suggest promotion more effective sales promotion offers to most likely customers  Capability of online connection between company’s representative Personal and central office in sales meeting selling  Ability to show the company’s website and catalogue by computer in sales meeting Public relations,  Faster and most effective sending the firm’s news to reporters by Events and email and other e-channels sponsorship Customer  Facilitating customer service in web service Direct  Identifying customers tend to get brand message, by making database marketing  reducing the waste of cold call costs Emergence of social media in internet context, produce a paradigm in IMC domain in which communicationhappens through consumer generated media and theirmessages content, timing and frequency is out of direct V. CONCLUSIONcontrol of the company’s executives [28]. According to Developments of information and communication eraCaplan, social media are sets of web2.0 based internet provide many opportunities to build two-way relationshipapplications by which users can produce and exchange the with customer. By means of these dialogues company cancontents [29]. Social media include a wide range of online perform customer retention in a better way. Utilizing ITforums such as social networks, business networks, virtual tools (e.g. data mining in search engine’s data warehouses orcommunities, photo sharing sites, company or customer customers’ credit card information in each purchase),supported blogs and etc [20]. companies predict their future behavior and as a result, plan The latest change which is caused by communication more targeted loyalty programs. Digital applications hastechnology, is mobile accessibility to the internet that influenced MC considerably and opened new channels toprovide MC managers with specific opportunities to make communicate to consumers. These evolutions also facilitatebrand preferences and shape customer behavior [30], [31]. all three CRM strategies. Because of online Email marketing is another aspect of internet marketing communication’s cost effectiveness, many firms haveby which companies collect customers and prospects’ email replaced the traditional customer relationship channels withaddresses and directly connect to them. Spreading word-of- internet. To relate with customers successfully, companies atmouth by consumers themselves is another application of first must determine that their goal is acquisition, retentionemail as an MC function which is called viral marketing or development. Then, considering specified objective and[32]. Today, email and interactive MC tools are a basis for use the most appropriate MC tools via proper media thosemany loyalty programs [33]. are mentioned in the model. Using various CRM, customer database and IT tools,allow marketers to target their MC messages more REFERENCESeffectively. Table III shows the influences of digital era on [1] J. U. Becker, G. Greve, and S. Albers, “The impact of technologicalMC tools. As it is seen, these changes lead to improvement and organizational implementation of CRM on customer acquisition, maintenance, and retention,” Intern. Journal of Research inof sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, event Marketing, vol. 26, pp. 207-215, 2009.and sponsorship, customer service and direct marketing 764
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