Luxury Products and Normal Goods
Marketing communication, with respect to the marketing mix, is one of the pillars of product and service promotion. In its simplest terms, it refers to making decisions on the most appropriate ways to communicate with consumers in a bid to foster product awareness, knowledge with respect to distinct features, purchasing interest likelihood of choosing the product in question and/or repeat purchases. The elements of efficacious market communication are personal and non-personal sales (Chongqing University 2008). The main aim of this type of market communication is the creation of brand preference.
Market Communication in Practice
For years, marketing communication was considered a personal communication between producers and consumers. The break in the direct relationship between the two elements has caused a rethink of the realm of marketing communication. Advertising, a clearly informal communication form that makes use of mass media, grew in tandem with the growth of print media. Marketing as we know it today took root not only in the United States but also across the globe in the early part of the twentieth century (Castro 2006).
Individuals purchase products either for emotional or rational purposes. The emotional appeals have a number of characteristics. Primarily, there is a soft-sell approach, that is, persuasive or suggestive advertising. There aim here is to address potential consumers not by way if processing factual information and logical reason but by creating moods or arousing specific feelings. Combinations of surprise, interest, disgust, pleasure, sadness, joy, anger, fear, hate and love. When consumers incorporate these affective elements in market communication, they link their products and services to certain parts of the consumers’ emotional lives, thus appealing to their interests. Consumers feel good when associated with the products and services in question. Emotion is the basis of marketing luxury goods (Levens 2006). It is about glamour, class status and wealth. The websites express all this in terms of colours used, associated links and sponsors. As far as the discussion of this aspect goes, celebrity influence has also proved a very important marketing tool in the promotion of luxury goods. This is a consequence of the visual media gaining intense popularity. Celebrities make headlines and their activities are constantly under the microscope (Chennai 2005). When such people endorse products, sales hit the roof as shown in countries like India. Names and faces like that of David Beckham have proved successful in the sale of men’s wear, while the Manchester United brand has proved lucrative in the East. The use of celebrities also translates to higher recall rates, as consumers pay higher attention to advertisements featuring their admired celebrities. Moreover, celebrities facilitate product repositioning in the face of sagging sales (Chennai 2005).
Rational appeals on the other hand are premised on the hard sell, that is forceful, insistent advertising. They come across as reasoned arguments communicating attributes of a product or service that necessarily represent values or benefits for the target audience and have the credibility to change receivers’ beliefs with respect to advertised brands. Fast moving products make use of rational appeals (Chongqing University, 2008).
In this information age, the influence of the Internet cannot be ignored. As Metcalfe’s law states, the more persons join particular networks, the more the members involves stand to benefit from the resultant interaction. It is a reality that companies strive to take advantage of in a bid to achieve competitive advantage. The reduced communication cost between producer and consumer, a wider reach and the possibility of instantaneous feedback make this tool extremely powerful. It allows for the simultaneous approach of impersonal and personal advertising through website promotion and email communication, respectively. An important quality of luxury goods is customization. Through the Internet, companies can easily collect information from customers, describing specific information they would like factored into their products. This is common when dealing with apparel and accessories like watches.
Luxury products advertised over the Internet require attention to detail, giving the consumer every piece of information necessary. Round-the clock-support service is equally vital, since customers are making large investments. The organization must provide answers on demand, an aspect that also increases consumer confidence. Other services likely to differentiate the marketing of luxury products from normal ones is transaction tracking. Consumers need to know every stage of their transaction from purchase to door-step delivery. This is more important when great distances are involved. Testimonies from consumers of similar products are equally important as a means of getting consumer confidence.
Turning attention to fast-moving products, the Internet gives organizations an opportunity to build vital information databases that give mass marketing a certain personal feel. Moreover, a relationship develops between company and consumer. The differentiation of messages sent, based on demographic, location and preference creates a long lasting relationship (Coviello et al, 1997). Fast-moving products do not demand much specialisation as there is ready market. This is a consequence of the necessity of the products. Producers lighten the burden on consumers by transferring part of the savings made from Internet advertising to them. This comes in the form of reduced market prices, discounts and reduced or free shipping.
Marketing communication is a very important element of the ‘Market mix’, whether dealing with luxury products of fast-moving ones. It is clear that the Internet has proved instrumental in bringing out the personal touch vital for marketing luxury goods Previous studies show that appeals used in various countries is a function of regional factors like advertising, degree of economic development, culture and regulation and expenditure. Collectivist cultures like Korea’s need to adopt emotional appeals due to the importance placed on group consensus as well as the growth of personal relationships between producers and consumers. Conversely, more individualistic and confrontational cultures like the United States should lay emphasis on rational appeals as there is reliance on personal decision making ability, based on reasoning, evidence and information (Chongqing University, 2008). With that in mind, the Internet is an indispensable marketing communication tool in this global village. Consumer must pay attention to the characteristically dynamic, global market.