Marketing Communications Models Comparison

Comparison of the customer initiated marketing communications model and the customer decision-making model.

IMC is a concept of marketing that involves communication planning and recognizes that comprehensive planning adds values to and evaluates all the roles of a range of communication disciplines, it combines all the communication disciplines to provide consistency, clarity and optimal communication effect. (Cummings, 2003, p. 43)

Perhaps the hardest task the marketing executives have to contend with is balancing between maximizing, measuring and managing customer profitability and this can only be attributed to the fact that while allocating resources it is important to consider both the benefits and costs of all activities geared at sales, marketing, and customer interaction. Marketing resource allocation is always conceptualized in terms of how much to spend and how to allocate these expenditures.

However, the main problem lies in getting the accurate balance of resources that can optimize customer profitability. The most challenging part of this endeavor is in assessing the effectiveness of the decision in the end and allocation of the general marketing budget across all the key activities that generate customer equity. The optimal customer acquisition and retention must be translated into customer equity at all times.

Daft & Lengel,(2006) on the other hand propose that, considering the two models of customer retention and decision model, we find the decision model is impracticable as it fails to consider several variables. Marketing is a practice that must meet all the fundamental factors in the consideration of the practicality, the decision model on the hand is very rigid in its premises.

Marketing is a practice based on a model, which factors in the integration and development of marketing relationships, al these relationships must be integrated with marketing communication practice. Within the fundamentals, it is also imperative to note that inside the realms of relationship marketing, communication can only be understood as an act of persuasion. It is also important to note that the classical rhetorical elements perceived these processes as ethos (the understanding of the communicator’s qualities and intention, pathos (understanding the communicator’s climates as well as logos (development of constructive dialogues with the customer). The customer initiated marketing communications model by Duncan (2005) bases its argument on the integrating the marketing communication practice with the concept of relationship building.

The decision model is based on empirical arguments that must fit to be practically implemented in an organizations’ marketing strategy. While the above arguments are true, the bottom-line of any marketing strategy is the practicability of the strategy implemented by the company. It is noteworthy that if an organization is considering the optimal strategy to choose, it must be in apposition to weigh the fundamental requirements of the strategies and the practicability of the strategies from which it must choose. Most strategies work best in the service sector while others work well in the marketing of goods. Modeling an optimal strategy is demanding and so is the consequences of failing to do so.

Design of communication means and strategies

Design of communication means and strategies

Customer initiated marketing communication model

Though several models have been postulated by various scholars, it is worth noting that the customer-initiated marketing communication model which is far superior that the relationship-building models of which were postulated by the scholars of yore. The relationship-building model gives suggestions of an array of relationship phases and triggering elements that stir the relationship from one point to a new one. This method combines all the three phases of relationship marketing improvement processes that are essential for the restructuring of the other models postulated before.

  1. A pre-relationship period;
  2. A conciliation period; and
  3. A relationship development period

From the standpoint of the marketing communication, all the three segments present numerous tests, ranging from the design of the means of communication and approach. The three-significant phases in customer-initiated marketing communication model include:

  1. The communication task, this concerns the main objective of the communication activity within the company.
  2. The type of communication, this relates to the nature of communication within the organization, which might be unidirectional, or bidirectional depending on the communication need of the organization in question” ( Philip & Waldemar, 2006, p. 23)
  3. The communication tactics and tasks, on the other hand, refer to the operational issues facing the relationship marketing communication.

The customer-initiated communication model is advantageous because it has an intentional coordination and contribution from all the stakeholders, it blends input from the customers and all departments, its integrates promotion effort in all channels


Narus, J., & van Rossum, W. (March 2006) argue that the model makes use of recognition., customers are just like the shareholders of the company need recognition, not just recognition for their honesty and loyalty but their continued support to the company. Traditional saying that customer is king was based on the fact that the customers are very important pillars of any organization, most shops won’t open if there were no customers. The model relies on the fact that if a company appreciates the history and relationship with the customer irrespective of the size of the purchase to customer feel recognized as a member of a large family, most customers based their repeated purchases on the company perspectives and recognition of their status.


Customers are never so sure of what they want from the shop most of the customers rely on trial and error during their purchasing spree, it is healthy to assume that customers rely on the words of the stewards and sales executives for their purchases. However, problems do occur if the customer is dissatisfied with the product and would like to have a second thought or rather a replacement. “(Das, 2004, p. 156). Recourse, in this case, involves viewing the scenario for the customers’ point of view and replacing the product in question with apologies. The customer-initiated model recommends that all replacement should be with the compliments from the head of stores (Belch, et al 2009)…


This IMC tool uses is because after a customer, initiated communication is over with the company and the company has delivered its side of the bargain, the company stays with the customer and handles all the queries that the company might have concerning the company’s product. It is important to note that companies have shifted from the traditional responsiveness model of having a toll free line for its customers. Perhaps the present organizations have realized that responsiveness goes beyond just answering the customer’s cal but delivering to the customers according to their demands. ( Narus & van Rossum, March 2006, p. 211)


“(Bob, 2005, p. 8) argues that the traditional marketing practices involved cold calling whereby customer were bombarded with letter and call at ungodly hours, customers deserve respect. in facts customer is more interested in the working relationship with the salespeople, they may not be interested in the product being advertised but they may be interested in the way the company puts across tits point, the strategy that the company uses should be humane. The model proposes that all marketing companies must realize the importance that customers place on their time; any intrusive communication is always met with defense mechanisms as the customer develops uncontrolled prejudice against the company’s products. (Ford, W, 1999).

IMC is based on the three premises that:

Mass media ceased to be effective in the present highly targeted communication great demands that are placed on the suppliers’ of marketing communication there is an increased need to maintain a return on investment the need to integrate and coordinate a range of communication media and tools (Ford, 2000)

the customer decision-making model customer-initiated marketing communications model
Separate organization functions: fragmentation Integrates several strategies: synergy
Starts with organizational products and goals Is basically Customer orientated
Implemented by specialist practitioners Is a generalist tool
Based on fragmented programs Based on consistent communication programs
Is based on short term goals and objectives Is based on relationship or brand building objectives
Geared at mass audiences Geared at targeted to stakeholder segments

Table 1.1 Comparison of traditional versus IMC perspectives

The decision model, however, has several criticisms despite the numerous benefits it promises. “ The model is faced with several barriers: for example, these barriers include stifled creativity, functional silos, time scale conflicts and lack of know-how on the part of the management ” (Don & Heidi, 2004, p. 23)

Take for example the functional silos; Most organizations are having rigid structures that are founded on a restrictive budget, traditional thinking, and powerbases protection. On the other hand, most organizations have isolate data, communication, and managers from the other, these practices postulated are not practical as they can be met with resistance in large organizations (Dwyer & Schurr, 2002). It is an understatement to say this might result in turf wars and internal wrangles as most managers might fee that their decision is influenced by others with whom they do not share common stand on issues

Oliver, (2000) argues that the consumer of yore relied on the Satisficing model to evaluate several products from a distance, it involves that the proxemics to be put into practice as the consumers are expected to decide without necessarily having the touch and feel of the products. The saddest thing about the consumer-initiated decision-making is that it encompasses all the shortcomings of the utility theory albeit in a mild way. The prediction of the consumers under the consumer-initiated decision-making makes it hart for the marketing practitioners to make rational decisions on the behavior of the consumers. However, Peppers, & Martha Rogers, (2001) point out that the model also limits creativity as it tends to restrict sales promotions to the organizations budget and overall communication strategy.

It is difficult for organizations to realize their marketing goals when it is operating within a tight and integrated creative brief. The decision model is also criticized on the time scales, form examples most image advertising is designed to nurture a brand over a long time irrespective of the fact that the advertising promotion was designed to increase the quarterly sales volume. Nevertheless, this can be accommodated if the decision model is based on careful planning. (Duncan, 2005).

The worrying trend in the present, marketing scenarios is the fact that this kind of planning within the decision model is not common because managers and agencies lack enterprises. The current proliferation of single discipline agencies makes IMC difficult to implement in the face of the decision model. “It is important that marketing managers get real experiences of the marketing communication to be able to implement the decision model. ” (James & James. , 2005, p. 12)

The models are all promising but the shortcoming in one strategy can be completed by the strength of the other. Though the final decision might be in support of the consumer-initiated marketing communication, the two strategies are best used together to complement one another, this can only be done whenever there is a need to realize the optimal advantages of the IMC. The current marketing platform is very complicated and it might e disastrous if contingencies are not in place for the unforeseen circumstances. Both models present the consumer with a range of choices in a rather controlled environment and so the question is w, what would the consumers do outside the controlled environments (Charles, 2001)

The manipulation of the marketing variables like promotion and price should be done in the view of future changes in the marketing environment because the changes might not be within the control of the practitioners. In summary, the marketing environment is very uncertain and complex so gaining further insight into the mechanism by which consumers make decisions might be of help to the practitioner (Reichheld, 2001).

The impact of social media and citizen journalism on the relationship between the customer and the organization

Duncan & Moriarty, (2000).The social media is the best invention ever in the 21st century because of its impact on the organizations and the perception of the customers on the organization, the organization, on the other hand, has shifted its goals and moved closer to the customer. The organization has put into place strategies aimed at harnessing the contribution of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs delicious and digit to provide status updates to its customers.

The relationship between the customers and the organizations has improved as the organization has come to recognize the customer, respected the customer as well as practices recourse in handling the customer’s complaints. However, the best part of social media comes in terms of organization responsiveness and press releases that get to the customers through collaborative platforms that the customers have used to their advantage (Belch, et al 2009).


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