Integrated Marketing Communications
Amidst the fierce competition in automobile industry, an automaker must develop distinctive products that are different from their competitors’. In order to win competition, a company should fulfill customers need by designing products that match their characteristics, which result in the increased revenue and profit margin.
However, at this time, producing superior products does not guarantee a company success. This is because, customers may buy a product based on emotional value (intangible value) rather than tangible value. This situation suggests that a company should conduct various initiatives to embed the desired brand equity of its products in customers’ minds. This initiative refers to media strategies that involve target audience identification, selection of media and many others. Due to the variety of media that is available in a market, the initiative evolve into new term, integrated marketing communication method, that involve public relation, advertising, trade events, to name a few.
Concerning the media strategies, this paper will discuss the strategies for a company. The selected company is Daimler Chrysler AG, a well known automobile manufacturer that targets high-end customers by delivering products (sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), trucks etc) that are completely different from their competitors.
2. Daimler Chrysler AG: Corporate Background
The global address for Mercedes Benz is http://www.mercedes-benz.com which further can reach other local web sites such as www.mbusa.com for customers that reside in the USA. The market segment where Mercedes Benz competes is high end segment. In luxury cars segment, there are many well known players such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Honda, and Lexus. Some of them only produce high-end products but the rests also produce low-middle class products.
Figure 1 Mercedes Benz USA website
The most interesting part that occurs in high end automobile industry is the fact that although the industry experience unfavorable sales decline by 3-percent due to external factors like the rise of oil price, the surge in materials etc, Mercedes-Benz keep recording string growth during the past several years.
Figure 2 Mercedes Benz Product Lines
Concerning Mercedes Benz products (Figure 2), there are six categories: Sedans, Wagons, Convertible, Coupe, Roadsters, and Light Trucks. The cheapest segment in the Mercedes Benz product lines is C-Class sedans that sold from $30,000 in the USA. Meanwhile the expensive product lines are SLR McLaren that sold above $452,000 in the USA (Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, 2007).
Promotion or advertising deals with the way a company like Mercedes Benz promote or create responsiveness of the product in the marketplace. In this manner, promotion strategy relates to communicating and selling the company’s product to customers. It includes TV and online advertising, trade shows etc.
3. Media Strategies
3.1. Marketing Mix and Media Strategies
Because Mercedes Benz sells luxurious and classy cars in their communication or media strategies, the company should develop appropriate representation of the classy Mercedes Benz. This is in line with Pennington (2005) saying than culture or customers’ behavior is one influential factor in communications strategies (Pennington 2005). Below are some media strategies for Mercedes Benz.
The key method to inform visitors virtually via website is Mercedes Benz should clearly define what customers expect when visiting Mercedes Benz web sites. Its official website http://www.mercedes-benz.com or www.mbusa.com clearly show customers what is Mercedes Benz and other enriched features that lessen customers to look at Mercedes products.
Advertising. It composes of several initiatives such as print (newspaper, journals, and magazines), radio, TV.
Figure 3 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2007
Trade shows. Trade shows typically held annually to enable Mercedes Benz to display recent breakthrough in their product lines. Since customers who visit trade shows have intention to buy a car, therefore, the company must design and built exhibition booth that represent the luxurious car they offer. Another type of show are Mercedes fashion shows to integrate the image of luxurious cars and luxurious fashion design (Figure 3)
Direct mail and Marketing Collateral. It involves the distribution of marketing kits like brochures and mail which directly sent to customers. This is more personal approacjh to target loyal customers (RD Marketing 2005).
In 2002, the company’s revenue €149,776,000,000, if we assume the communication plan for Mercedes Benz is 0.2% of revenue, therefore, budget for Mercedes Benz advertising is about €146,776,000. However, in this plan we only use about A$100,000 for marketing plan or equal to €62,278.13. This amount, therefore, represents 0.0000416% of the corporate revenue.
Table 1 Communication Plan
Corporate Open House
Once every four months in the first year
Brochures, case studies, white papers
White papers of E320 CDI
Every new product launch
Automobile exhibitions/shows(includes souvenirs etc)
Source: (RD Marketing, 2006 & Canada Business, 2005)
Automotive Intelligence. (2003). Mercedes-Benz Extends Its Leading Position in the World Market for Premium Automobiles in 2002. Automotive Intelligence
Canada Business. (2005). Plan Your Advertising Budget. Canada Business
De Mooij, M. (1998). Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA
Kotler, Philip. (2000). Marketing Management. Prentice Hall, New Jersey
Marketing Mix. (2005). Retrieved February 13, 2008 from http://www.marketingteacher.com/Lessons/lesson_marketing_mix.htm
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC. (2007). Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Showroom. Retrieved February 13, 2008 from http://www.mbusa.com/index.do
Pennington, April Y. An American icon: some things just say “America,” like baseball, apple pie and … franchises. Here are 5 big ways franchising has affected our nation. Entrepreneur January 2005
RD Marketing. (2006). Creating an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan.