In the essay, I am going to discuss how important the involvement of target audience of a message is in designing marketing communication campaign. To have intensive discussion, I am going to state the meaning of marketing communication and involvement at first. Then literature reviews on this topic will be presented. After that, different points of view on the importance of the notion of involvement for designing marketing communication campaign will be discussed and some case studies will be provided. Lastly, a conclusion will be made.

Marketing communication is a new developed topic thus there are many different definitions from different scholars. Nevertheless, marketing communication emphasizes promotion that is one of the elements of the marketing mix-product, price, place and promotion. Marketing communication includes all promotional tools and other promotional activities. There are five main functions: direct marketing, advertising, public relations, sales promotion and personal selling. According to Delozier 1976 in Fill 2002, marketing Communication is

“The process of presenting an integrated set of stimuli to a market with the intent of evoking a desired set of responses with that market set and setting up channels to receive, interpret and act upon messages from the market for the purposes of modifying present company messages and identifying new communication opportunities.”

The “integrated set of stimuli” is talking about the integrated marketing communication which means coordinating all promotional elements to communicate with target audiences to send a coherent theme and topic in turn to get an effective marketing communication. Besides, the definition also introduced that there are feedback from the target audience so two way communication. On the other hand, Fill 2002 stated, “It also fails to recognize that it is the context within which marketing communications flow that impacts upon the meaning and interpretation given to such message.” Also it cannot draw out that marketing communication can provide value added opportunity through enhanced product and organizational symbolism.

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Apart from the above definition, Fill 2002 stated another definition of marketing communication as that

“Marketing Communication is a management process through which an organization enters into a dialogue with its various audiences. Based upon an understanding of the audience communication environment, an organization develops and presents messages for the identified stakeholder groups, evaluate and acts upon the responses received. The objective of this process is to (re) position the organization and/ or its products or services, in the mind of members of the target market, by influencing their perception and understanding. The goal is to generate attitudinal and behavioural response.

This definition focused on the dialogue, positioning and cognitive response. Besides, it introduced that the organization needs to understand the communication process with the audiences before designing a message to influence their responses in terms of attitude and behaviour.

To summarize the above definitions, it is obvious that an organization should communicate with its target audiences through a clarified, consistent message via different marketing communication tools. After setting up right aim, goal and objectives, a good marketing communication campaign should involve an appropriate message design. To design a right message to the target audience, marketers should understand and realize the target audiences’ information or communication process via which the audience perceive and interpret the message with reacting responses.

According to Chestnutt, RW 1980, consumer information processing involves three sectors cognitive activities: coding/ perception, conscious evaluation and memory. When these three activities intersect with each other, there are seven sectors formed. The sectors are: preconscious encoding, trace activation, conscious encoding, spectator behaviour, participator behaviour, operational memory and long term memory.

In this essay, the focus is on spectator behaviour in which when the message has been decoded, the audiences have to decide what they will do with the message. In this stage, the audience will select a particular strategy to deal with the message and there are a number of factors affect the audiences to choose the particular strategy. One of the factors is involvement.

The term of ‘Involvement’ has no common agreement on definition from scholars. Some researchers interpreted it is both interesting and revealing. Kapferer and Laurent (1985) in Fill 2002 argue that involvement involves five different facets: interest, risk importance, risk probability, sign value and hedonic value. While some just thought involvement about the ego, perceived risk and purchase importance- a cognitive perspectives.

Judith Zaichkowsky (1986) in Belch ; Belch 2004 developed an involvement construct that involves three antecedents, or variables proposed to precede involvement as Fig. 1.

Involvement = f (Person, Situation, Object)

Figure 1 of involvement concept

Refer to the figure of involvement concept, the level of involvement is affected by one or more factors: person, situation, and object. Besides, interactions among each factor may occur. Moreover, the level of involvement of consumers with advertisements (marketing communication), with products and with purchase decisions will affect consumers’ perception of the advertisement (marketing communication) and purchase decision process.

According to Schiffman and Kanuk, 1991, when some thought that involvement is about behavioural perspectives, “the search for and evaluation of product-orientated information is pertinent”.

Fill, 2002. There are features associated with involvement concept and can be separated into three phrase as Fig 2. In phrase 1, the degree of involvement which will change with a situational basis and will be influenced by contextual elements, for example: the nature of a person and his experiences, values and expectations. The situational basis is about the purpose of purchase also can affect the degree of involvement. Whether the person has a direct or indirect experience of the object can be considered by the products or services. In addition, the nature of the stimulus to purchase is also a primary factor which may be advertisement, peer or family.

In phrase 2, there are three main factors. The intensity of involvement can reflect the degree of people relevance in term of high or low involvement. The focus of involvement refers to whether the object or the marketing communication surrounding the products or services is important or not. Duration of the involvement is the third factor. The duration can be long lasting or temporary, which can induce the degree of loyalty or commitment and interest of a products or services.

In phrase 3, the consequence of the involvement an person experienced is described. The attitude and the amount of time in which information is processed will reflect the level of involvement and leads primarily to either the attitude being formed before action (high involvement) or the attitude being formed after action (low involvement).

Fig. 2 Three phrases of individual involvement and attitude development

There is no consensus on the definition of involvement but involvement is considered as a variable, which can help explain how consumers process marketing communication information and how the information will influence the consumers. Thus involvement does play an important role for marketers in designing marketing communication campaign. That why many scholars keep on study involvement of consumers and the effect of involvement on information processing and purchase. When marketers realize thoroughly that consumers with different level of involvement have different information process and information needs, the marketers can tailor different marketing communication campaign for their products or services towards their target consumers. Hence, the marketing communication campaign will be more effective.

Now, the followings are the suggested marketing communication strategy implications from various researchers according to different level of involvement of consumers.

Richard Vaughu of Foote, Cone & Belding advertising agency and his associates have introduced FCB grid which is used to analyse communication situation. FBC Planning Model is built on traditional response theories, for example the hierarchy of effects model and its variants, as well as, research on high and low involvement. Besides, dimension of thinking verus feeling processing at each involvement level, by braining in theories regarding brain specialization, was added in the model. FCB grid outlined four main advertising planning strategies-informative, affective, habit formative, and satisfaction-according to the most appropriate variants of the alternative response hierarchies. The FCB model also describe the selection of suitable media and visual images in the composition of the messages in the marketing communication program.

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