On completion of this module, the student should be able to:
1. Explain the role of marketing communications and advise how an understanding of purchasing behaviour and communication theory may help in the development of promotional planning.
2. Show how the techniques of promotion can be coordinated in order to communicate effectively with different customers and stakeholders.
3. Explain the stages and activities involved in the formulation and implementation of a marketing communication plan and devise appropriate marketing communication strategies for given situations and target audiences.
4. Explain the importance of developing long term relationships with customers, channel members and other stakeholders and suggest suitable marketing communications methods that may be used to influence such relationships.
Part A: Essay
The global marketplace consists of a complex set of competitors battling for customers in a rapidly changing environment. A wide variety of venues beckon company leaders to invest advertising and marketing dollars. The number and types of ways to reach out to customers continually increases.
In the face of these sophisticated and cluttered market conditions, firms try to be heard.
You are expected to critically address the following issues:
1. Critically comment on the statement “marketing communications is home to the success of every business”. Do you agree – why or why not?
2. In the ever changing world of marketing communications, please identify the core emerging trends from the perspective of a consumer?
3. Through application of an appropriate example, do you perceive as what the marketing practitioner want to convey via your learnt communications model?
4. Does the concept of integrated marketing communications the same when it comes to international operations? Please elaborate with appropriate examples.
Part B: Case Study – “Mid-Autumn Festival”
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, is a popular harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese people, dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China’s Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally “Mid-Autumn Festival”) in the Zhou Dynasty.
There is a folk tale about the overthrow of Mongol rule facilitated by messages smuggled in moon cakes. Mooncakes were used as a medium by the Ming revolutionaries in their espionage effort to secretly distribute letters in order to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of China in the Yuan dynasty. The idea is said to be conceived by Zhu Yuanzhang and his advisor Liu Bowen, who circulated a rumor that a deadly plague was spreading and the only way to prevent it was to eat special mooncakes. This prompted the quick distribution of mooncakes, which were used to hide a secret message coordinating the Han Chinese revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which falls on September or early October every year. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and roundest.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the others being Chinese New Year and Winter Solstice, and the day following the Mid-Autumn Festival is a legal holiday in Hong Kong. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat pomelos, star peaches and taros under the moon happily together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as carrying candle-lit lanterns on bamboo poles, floating sky lanterns, fire dragon dances, guessing the literal meanings of lantern riddles, and so on.
Still, the most representative about Mid-Autumn Festival is mooncakes, especially from the commercial perspective. Shops selling mooncakes start promotion long before the festival, usually a few days after the end of Tuen Ng Festival (the 5th day of the fifth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar). In the old past, here in Hong Kong, the traditional Chinese restaurants and Chinese cake shops such as Wing Wah Restaurant, Kee Wah Bakery, Lin Heung Tea House, and Dragon Gate Tea House all sell mooncakes. But the heat had been on, and since 1980’s the modern Chinese restaurants came into the fighting ring with such popular names like Maxim’s, Golden Dragon Boat Restaurant, Superstar Seafood Restaurant, Lee Gardens Restaurant, and many more.
Besides the Chinese restaurants and bakeries, other catering groups and food stores which used to be unrelated to mooncakes also came into play including the leading hotel groups (e.g. Mandarin Hotel, Peninsula Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, etc.), the stylish Hongkongese bakeries (e.g. Arome Bakery, Saint Honore Cake Shop, Taipan Cake Shop, etc.). Even fast-food restaurants like Café de Coral started selling mooncakes. On the other hand, the lucrative profit margin (could be up to 500% or more) attract the attention of ice-cream stores, they start selling mooncakes in the past few years like Haagen-Dazs of USA, Movenpick of Switzerland, Pinocchio of Italy.
The fact is that many food catering enterprises joined the money game of celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, taking up a share of the billion dollar mooncake business throughout the globe. Who would be winning?
You are required to critically address the following questions:
1. Pick one of the following and conduct a communication marketing analysis in specific reference to mooncakes: (a.) Wing Wah, (b.) Maxim’s, (c.) Taipan, (d.) Arome, or (e.) your own favorite store.
2. Identify the target markets that are best suited to the one you mentioned in answering Question 1.
3. Following on your answering the above questions, what type of promotional budget for the major competitor to use? Why?
4. What would you reckon the competition to be like in the local context here in Hong Kong in the coming, say, two to three years? What advice you would give to competitors of the one you mentioned in answering Question 1?