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Marketing Communications Process

Marketing Communication Process

It is important to understand the process of Marketing Communications.  The process is as follows:  Sender, Encoding, Transfer Mechanism, Feedback, Response and Decoding.

  • The SENDER is typically the company that produces the product. 
  • ENCODING involves communicating the message in understandable terms for the consumer. In some companies, this person is identified as the Marketing Manager.
  • TRANSFER MECHANISM is the medium that will be used to “transfer the message”. 
  • DECODING is how the customer interprets the message.
  • RESPONSE is how the customer reacts to the message.   Will the customer purchase the product?
  • FEEDBACK measures how successful the advertising campaign was.

Example of a Marketing Communications Strategy:
  SENDER – Clothing manufacturer
  ENCODING – Marketing Manager at the clothing manufacturer
  TRANSFER MECHANISM – Television ad
  DECODING – Customer sees the television ad and keeps it in mind
  RESPONSE – Customer goes to the store and purchases the new product (item of clothing)
  FEEDBACK – Information that customers are responding positively to the message

Basic Model of Communication

The Basic Model of Communication consists of the following elements.

  • Source – A source is also referred to as a sender.  The sender has a message to convey to others. The sender can be anyone from a brand manager (in a major corporation such as Nike or Budweiser) to a salesperson in a smaller organization.  At times, celebrities are used to endorse products and act as a sender for the product.  It is always important to make sure that     the source is credible and trustworthy. 
    • A direct source can be a     salesperson delivering a message about a product.
    • An indirect source uses a well     known public figure to draw attention to a product. 
  • Encode – The source encodes or translates ideas into a message.  For example, a brand manager decides to     promote a new product. 
  • Message – After defining the target market, the marketer designs an effective message that will achieve the communication objectives. 
  • Receiver – The receiver is the person or group with whom the sender attempts to share ideas.  Marketers want a response, the reactions of the receiver, after being exposed to the message: for example, a consumer receiving the message about the new product.
  • Decode – The receiver decodes or interprets the message. For a message to be decoded by a receiver the way it was intended by the sender, the sender and receiver need to have common experiences.  In other words, a receiver may not decode a message the way it was intended to if her background and experience differ greatly from the sender’s.  A marketer has to be sensitive to the intended audience.
  • Noise – Noise interferes with or disrupts effective communication.  This can include a poor television or     radio signal.
  • Feedback – Feedback is monitoring and evaluating how accurately the intended message is being received.  This can be done by conducting market research. Essentially, this involves asking consumers if they have seen the message, if they recall the message, and what their attitude was towards the product. 

Traditional Response Hierarchy Model

The traditional model for creating any marketing communications message is the AIDA Model:  get Attention, hold Interest, arouse Desire,  obtain Action.  The AIDA Hierarchy Model can be represented as a pyramid.

AIDA model – The AIDA model defines the process that a receiver goes through when receiving a message.  The model was developed for salespeople to help their selling experience to be effective in the personal selling process.  It gains the receiver’s attention, holds interest, arouses desire, and obtains a desired action.  A hierarchy of effects model of consumers’  responses to advertisements implies that for advertising to be successful it must move the consumer upward in the hierarchy from one objective to the next objective.

In designing a message, decisions need to be made about the message, content,  message structure, and message format.   Rational appeals relate to the audience’s self interest.  These appeals simply relate the rational benefits of the product and explain how the product will satisfy the functional needs of consumers.  Emotional appeals attempt to stir up positive or negative emotions that can motivate purchases. 

Widely used advertising techniques include humor, fear appeals, guilt, sex appeals,  subliminal messages, the use of music, and comparative advertisements.


A channel is the path used to transmit the message.  Marketers select the promotional media that best reaches the target audience.  Media refers to the entire set of channels through which it is possible to transmit messages to people.  Just as previously discussed in the personal selling process, media channel refers to the non-personal selling process.

Look at the basic media selections.  The channel can take the form of:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Magazine
  • Direct Mail
  • Internet     Advertising
  • Outdoor     Advertising

Push and Pull Strategies

There are two kinds of promotional strategies within the marketing communications process which are called - “push” and “pull.”   These two types of promotional strategies are mainly used to get distribution channel members excited about a product.

Push – When a company uses a push strategy it relies on the company’s sales force to “Push” the product through the distribution channels to create consumer demand for the product.  For example, a snow blower manufacturer may provide incentives to retailers to encourage them to “push” their brand over competitor’s products.

Pull – This type of promotional strategy relies on heavy advertising to create consumer demand for the product.  For example, after heavy advertising, customers visit retailers and ask for the specific brand.

Distribution (Marketing) Channels

A distribution channel is necessary to get a product moved from manufacturer to consumer. 

A manufacturer may decide to send its products to a middleman (wholesaler).  The middleman will then sell to retailers where the consumer can go to purchase the product.

Or,  a manufacturer may decide to use a broker first, who then will find appropriate wholesalers, who then will ship to retailers.

Of course, there are also situations where manufacturers may decide to deal with the consumers directly.  For example,  Avon cosmetics, newspapers and, a long time ago, when milk was delivered to people’s doorsteps. 

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