Among the most important skills in marketing are communication
and promotion. Communication is the broader term, and it happens
whether planned or not. A salesperson’s attire communicates, the
catalog price communicates, and the company’s offices communicate;
all create impressions on the receiving party. This explains the
growing interest in integrated marketing communications (IMC).
Companies need to orchestrate a consistent set of impressions from
its personnel, facilities, and actions that deliver the company’s brand
meaning and promise to its various audiences.
Promotion is that part of communication that consists of company
messages designed to stimulate awareness of, interest in, and
purchase of its various products and services. Companies use advertising, sales promotion, salespeople, and public relations to disseminate
messages designed to attract attention and interest.
Promotion cannot be effective unless it catches people’s attention.
But today we are deluged with print, broadcast, and electronic
information. We confront 2 billion Web pages, 18,000 magazines,
and 60,000 new books each year. In response, we have developed
routines to protect ourselves from information overload. We toss
most catalogs and direct mail unopened into the wastebasket; delete
unwanted and unread e-mail messages; and refuse to listen to telephone
the glut of information is leading to attention deficit
disorder (ADD), the difficulty of getting anyone’s attention.11 The
attention deficit is so pronounced that companies have to spend
more money marketing than making the product.
As a result, marketers need to study how people in their target
market allocate their attention time. Marketers want to know the
best way to get a larger share of consumers’ attention. Marketers apply
attention-getting approaches such as high-profile movie stars and
athletes; respected intermediaries close to the target audience; shocking
stories, statements, or questions; free offers; and countless others.
Even then, there is a question of effectiveness. It is one thing to
create awareness, another to draw sustained attention, and still another
to trigger action. Attention is to get someone to spend time focusing
on something. But whether this leads to buying action is