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Effective Media Mixes, Term Paper Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1985

Term Paper

Introduction

The recent and rapid rise in a variety of communication technologies has created complex and highly effective opportunities in marketing, and in marketing virtually anything. The days when a sole reliance upon print media, radio, or television made for a viable competitive strategy are gone, chiefly because the consumers themselves are endowed with so vast an array of means with which to reach them.

Marketing effectively today means, first and foremost, understanding that the playing field is truly enormous: “Such a mega society is connected together by globalized mass media and telecommunications – that is, television, cinema, newspapers, satellite technology and, most importantly, the Internet” (Sheehan 62). Today’s marketers depend upon employing multifaceted media, and the most successful of these integrate older, familiar technologies with the new.

QVC and Multimedia Usage

An outstanding example of a successful enterprise which more carefully took advantage of new technology is the home shopping corporation, QVC. “Started in 1986 by the founder of The Franklin Mint, Joseph Segal, QVC, Inc., quickly made itself a spot as cable TV’s 24-hour, 7-day-a-week virtual shopping mall” (Oldman, Hamadeh 264). The concept, even that recently, was something of a gamble, particularly as it depended upon overcoming a reluctance of people to make purchases over the telephone well before the Internet, and its subsequent purchasing safeguards, had removed such concerns. Moreover, it was radically different in that it strove to completely incorporate a literal buying experience into a virtual one.

QVC won the gamble, and in a big way; its 2009 net sales figures exceed seven billion dollars. Combining classic appeals to shoppers of genial and attractive hosts in home-like settings, the company utilized its television channel to the fullest in establishing trust relationships with its customers. The single, traditional medium of television was working.

Ten years later, 1996 proved to be a pivotal year in the life of the Internet: “Between December 1994 and December 1996, Internet traffic had grown at an unthinkably rapid rate” (Leckey, Bogle 99). This was the watershed year for millions of consumers, when they would finally invest in the technology they had been waiting to see sufficiently mature, and the floodgates for a new kind of virtual marketing opened.

QVC’s timing was both extraordinarily fortunate and cleverly planned. Having built a substantial base of credibility and consumer trust, it initiated QVC.com on a platform of a solid commercial history. Unlike many of the entries in virtual enterprise, they had in essence used television to create a “brick and mortar” presence of reliability. The technology of television alone, along with its ancillary advantage of a long association as a home fixture, had done the job for them of securing the kind of customer base actual retailers strive for.

Nonetheless, the QVC plunge into Internet traffic was not without risk. That customer base remains largely dependent upon female consumers of more senior age, and this is not a demographic typically comfortable with computer usage. Here, however, is where the company’s calculated and unusually focused relationship component came into play. Seen by their customers as trusted friends, rather than salespeople, the strategy worked in that it actually eased its customers into wanting to explore the Internet for QVC’s sake alone. This was simple multimedia marketing absolutely in touch with its demographic, and one very sure of itself as well: “QVC does not buy Nielson research, and its executives ignore standard TV metrics such as reach, frequency, and audience share” (Rayport, Jaworski 186).

QVC’s enormous success in moving to the Internet in 1996 has emboldened a further media campaign: the QVC application, introduced in December of 2009. Transitioning to a younger market, a move encouraged by increased Internet sales, the application allows viewing of items being sold on television at that moment. It is built for ease, securely storing financial information for a “speed buy” option. In keeping with the familial, personal ideology of the company, the application makes sharing recommendations of items to friends equally easy. The application as well permits cross-promotion, as it encourages users to visit the website and tune into the channel for a wider array of shopping options. This is multimedia employed to make the brand a ubiquitous and welcome fixture, wherever the consumer happens to be.

QVC takes its time in incorporating new media technologies, yet it could be argued that  moving beyond the Internet is not the wisest course for a retailer so entrenched within a specific market. Given what is still a limited demographic of largely house-bound and senior females, and given the retail competition they face online and far less on television, QVC should return to the traditional medium of television promotion. This is a foundational element to their success too important to neglect, as the average QVC customer, even today, will turn to the television far more often than to the Internet. A media mix is an increasingly necessary component for modern commerce, yet a corporation as unique as QVC is better served in catering to the traditional modes of living of its client base. In QVC’s case, the optimal media mix is comprised of two elements: television and Internet.

Movies, Disney, and Multimedia Marketing Saturation

Since 1990, there has been a literal explosion of media marketing in the movies, one that has pounced upon each new technology available, and as quickly as possible. The new major film release today that does not advertise, and on television, its own website is rare. “The first use of the Internet by the movie industry was to promote films through brochure-like web pages. Then came The Blair Witch Project, which showed how interaction on the web could draw in viewers” (Hanson 282). That particular website demonstrated how the mystique of a film could be far more widely generated through a compelling and highly professional Internet presence, and such websites now are erected and fall like movie sets themselves. Created for a timely and specific venture, they occupy Internet space in the manner of an extended television commercial.

Interaction through multimedia has also, as exemplified by the Disney corporation, extended in ways not foreseeable in the recent past. In this new realm of advertising and communication, lines between the virtual and the literal are blurring. Animated films geared for children and family audiences invariably engage in cross-promotion with national fast food chains, wherein the film’s characters are offered as iconic images on soft drink cups. “Disney/Pixar enlisted 17 promotional partners for its release of Cars…” (Kurtz, McKenzie, and Snow 476).

What is striking in all this is that multimedia and product placement are now interchangeable and codependent media strategies. Media is ultimately about communication, and communication  must be “out there”; that is to say, as accessible and visible as possible. That is as well the purpose of product placement, and in modern campaigns the machinations of media use become complicated indeed, particularly when a corporate giant such as Disney is involved. “In 1998, Disney’s subsidiary Miramax Films introduced the movie, The Faculty, in cooperation with the Tommy Hilfiger Jeans Corp. The latter spent $10 million for a campaign promoting the movie in exchange for an agreement that the film’s stars would appear…in Hilfiger clothes…” (Budd, Kirsch 264).

Perhaps no more striking example of modern multimedia saturation for a film exists than that behind the Disney Toy Story films. The 1995 original commenced an unprecedented amount of media inundation. Literal toys modeled upon the film’s cartoon leads were mass-marketed, and the cross-promotion with the two major national fast food giants of McDonald’s and Burger King were immediately launched. Those latter promotions, however, are no longer in place; as media engenders public response, Disney has abandoned these connections, ostensibly due to increasing public concerns over childhood obesity. This is a case of a medium outlet attempted, then discarded because of adverse public response and negative publicity.

This is more than compensated for, however, by newer technological and media opportunities, and Toy Story 3, released in June of 2010, makes the most of all of them. By November, the movie was available in animated storybook form for both Windows and Macintosh computer systems, as were Toy Story 3 video games compatible with Sega, Nintendo, and Game Boy players. Action figures and playsets serve two promotional functions: they are literally visible in stores, and they are marketed on television, in print, and on the Internet courtesy of a host of manufacturers and purveyors, from the powerful Toys R Us website to the online presences of every major department store. Meanwhile, television commercials spurred on the film’s push.

Toy Story 3 represents a paradigm of multimedia exploitation; the product of the film is rendered inescapable because print, television, literal shops, and the Internet create a virtual network of the single item itself, one in which the film and variations of it are offered in any manner which may appeal to a consumer. This marketing also conveys the impressively practical and traditional Disney strategy of aiming media at children. The corporation has good reason to know how children are a direct link to the parents who do the purchasing. “Our visual world, with its range of multimedia texts such as advertisements, TV, films, websites, and billboards must be interrogated by even the youngest of children…” (Baker, Leu 271).

The immense use of multimedia as applied by Disney in its promotion of Toy Story 3 further serves to box Disney itself in, in a sense; it cannot go back. Even a glut saturation of traditional media, such as print and television, would pale beside the presence they have established in utilizing all modern technologies in communication. Monolithic in scope and freely taking advantage of every medium currently employed in marketing, Disney may not retrench. To eliminate any one medium would damage the reputation it has made for itself of commanding all media, and the corporation is now obligated to follow its own, multimedia trajectory.

Conclusion and Recommendation

From the relatively minimal media scope of QVC to the full gamut of communication venues employed by Disney, new and old media technologies represent virtually limitless marketing options. The marketer not as massive as Disney, then, must make choices carefully to ensure the best possible media impact.

A publisher of a political book espousing a liberal view, for example, would be best served by employing one component each of older and new technologies. Advertising on the radio, specifically through traditionally liberal venues such as stations that carry National Public Radio (NPR), will most effectively target the desired audience for the book. Then, an equally discretionary selection of Internet space advertising, promoting only in websites known to attract politically liberal advocates, would be a wise second phase. Also, by avoiding media perceived as inherently commercial in nature, such as television, the impact is further reinforced.

A wide array of multimedia options is just that: mass communication. It is an arsenal, and an increasingly impressive one, but not every user requires every weapon, and the sensible course for any marketer in this arena is to understand the nature of his aim, or target audience, and thoughtfully employ the medium or media most likely to reach it.

Works Cited

Baker, E. A., and Leu, D. J. The New Literacies: Multiple Perspectives on Research and Practice. New York, NY: The Guilford Press, 2010. Print.

Budd, M., and Kirsch, M. H. Rethinking Disney: Private Control, Public Dimensions. Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University press, 2005. print.

Hanson, R.E. Mass Communication: Living in a Media World. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2005 Print.

Kurtz, D. L., McKenzie, H. F., and Snow, K. Contemporary Marketing. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

Leckey, A., and Bogle, J.C. The Best Business Stories of the Year: 2004 Edition. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2004. Print.

Oldman, M., and Hamadeh, S. The Best 109 Internships. New York, NY: Princeton Review Publishing, LLC, 2003. Print.

Rayport, J. F., and Jaworski, B. J. Best Face Forward: Why Companies Must Improve Their Service Interfaces with Customers. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2005. Print.

Sheehan, B. The Economics of Abundance: Affluent Consumption and the Global Economy. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010. Print.

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