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Marketing Communications

 - Duffy Rafferty Communications

Student Number: B00661137

Name: Rebecca Bolton

Module Code: MKT507

Word Count: 2628

Contents Page

1.0 Executive Summary  

2.0 Introduction

3.0 Situation Analysis

4.0   Swot Analysis

5.0   Competitor Analysis

6.0   Marketing Communication Proposal

7.0 Conclusion

8.0 Reference list

1.0 - Executive Summary:

This report will look at the ways in which DRC (Duffy Rafferty Communications) use the marketing communication mix in order to promote themselves. This report is a detailed analysis of the tools used by DRC and their internal and external environment. Included is a SWOT and PESTEL analysis which has been carried out using both primary and secondary research. A competitor analysis is also included in this report which shows the main competitors of DRC within the industry.

Summarising the report will be the proposed strategies to enable DRC to \"promote the promoter\", these will include a traditional approach and several modern, non traditional approaches to enable DRC to promote themselves and increase their clientele.

2.0 - Introduction

\"There are many aspects of marketing communications. These include awareness, engagement and perception; the image refers to branding and associations; this relates to advertising, symbolism and of course suggests positioning, integration and strategy.\"  (Fill, 2013)  

DRC is a public relations agency that works on behalf of clients to manage and maintain relationships with various stakeholders with the aim of enhancing the reputation of the organisation. (Egan, 2015)

It is important for DRC to recognise and embrace the new world of digital technology. DRC are also in need of reaching more clients and for this reason a new marketing communication strategy is required.

3.0 Situation Analysis:

No business operates in a vacuum; any business is surrounded by laws and pressures, these are part of the marketing environment and dealing with these are vital in the successful running of a business. (Blythe, 2008). There are a range of factors that will affect not only DRC, but all PR firms within the UK and Ireland. It is vital that these factors are taken into consideration not only for creating a new marketing communications strategy but for the general running of the business. The situation analysis can be split up in order to ensure that all aspects are covered.

The most notable political factor in the UK for all business\', not only PR firms is Brexit. Since the announcement of the UK leaving the EU, there is been a number of different aspects that should be considered. Since the EU referendum there has been speculation on a number of factors that will affect the EU. This includes which legislation is still going to be followed, the strength of the UK currency and economy versus that of the EU and also the change in asset and property values. Property values are expected to be frozen or else start to drop after rising 8% annually, this is a negative impact not only for DRC, but for all business and asset owners as their net worth will fall (www.theguardian.com). Companies and investors do not have a bright view on the UK leaving the EU, also with the changes in regulations may make it difficult for them to keep ties with businesses within the UK.

Since the decision for the UK to leave the EU the British economy has been plunged into uncertainty, the stock market and the Bank of England felt a hit almost immediately after the referendum and had to bring in a new fiscal policy due to the strength of the pound dropping (www.theguardian.com). The change in the economy will affect businesses in the UK as the financial wellbeing of households and businesses will drop along with the strength of the pound. This is due to the fact that the cost of living and operating will rise. It can go one way or the other for DRC due to the fact that businesses may rely further on PR and put DRC\'s services to use, however it is possible that businesses may cut back in order to try and save money and cut the costs of operating.

The main social factor to look at is social media. Internet users are constantly changing what social media platforms they use, at one-point twitter was the most popular platform, now it is Facebook. Facebook remains the most popular social network in Ireland, with 77% of NI and 83% of Republic of Ireland consumers logging on to the site at least once per week (Mintel, 2016) and therefore it is vital that businesses are exploiting the use of social media and interacting with existing and potential clientele. Consumers are engaging with brands on social media more than ever, viewing these platforms as a good source of company information (Mintel 2016). For this reason, it is important that DRC keep their social media pages up to date and accurate. When visiting the DRC Facebook page, it can be seen that the company use Facebook to share the press releases that are published on their website, which will increase the audience of these press releases. However, a closer look at this page reveals that there is very little interaction with the viewers of these posts with the majority of posts only reaching around five likes and no further shares. Another platform that is becoming more and more popular with professionals is the use of LinkedIn with 400 million+ users on the site that allows professionals to contact each other. Irish consumers who are self-employed show the highest levels of using LinkedIn. The high levels of use of LinkedIn could hint that consumers are beginning to move away from marketing their businesses through face-to-face personal contact networks to virtual contact networks as it allows them to exploit market opportunities quicker and make the process manageable from home.  Consumers in self-employment could also be using LinkedIn to source new customers and also particular services, such as a PR firm.

It is important for DRC to be keeping a close eye on evolving technologies in order to keep in line with competitors and ensure that they are making use of the constantly evolving facilities and platforms. If DRC fall behind with this, their competitors are certain to overtake them to a point it may become hard to recover. There is also a lot of investment going into firms such as Novosco which are opening 20 new jobs within the tech industry. With investments like these it is important that DRC are making their services known and available in order to take advantage of a growing market. Also with the ease of access and use of high speed internet show the growing opportunity for DRC to make use of their online presence as of 2013 1 in every 6 adults (59.3%) have smart phones and a third of the population 32.6% of the UK population own a tablet (Keynote, 2014).

Amongst Ireland it is well known that there is a strong green initiative. The residents of the country have strong ethics and thoughts in relation to keeping their country beautiful. For this reason, it is important that DRC are making an effort to ensure that they fit in with the green initiative. With the current technologies it is very possible for a business to keep records, correspondence and other such documents in digital formats in several locations to ensure that the documents are safe but not required to be kept in paper format. This is an environmental factor which should be considered and ties in with technological advances, especially as many other companies are making it a priority to become as eco-efficient as possible, for themselves and for their company\'s reputation.

The General Data Protection Regulation is legislation relevant to PR firms which takes effect in April 2018, advertisers will be required to obtain ‘unambiguous’ consent from consumers. Pre-ticked boxes, inactivity and silence will no longer constitute consent and consumers will have to take ‘clear affirmative action’ to opt in. For Irish companies, this means that they have will to review how they gather consumers’ personal information and clearly explain what they do with it to ensure to dodge potential fines of up to €20 million (£16.8 million) or 4% of global revenues for non-compliance. (Mintel, 2016)

However, with the UK voting to leave the EU in June 2016, it is hard to tell if the UK will undertake this legislation as of yet. As the UK partake in a high level of trade with the EU, brands will still have to abide by the new GDPR rules when using EU consumers’ data. Also if DRC do dip their toes into the Irish market then they will indeed need to take note of this legislation.

4.0 SWOT Analysis:  

“The Swot Analysis is another analytical tool commonly used in the business community to assist in assessing in relation to other competitive businesses”. (Richard E, 2003.) A SWOT analysis should be used to analyse the strengths and weaknesses within the business and the external factors such as the opportunities and weaknesses.

Strengths Weaknesses

• Relationships with Strong Brands

• Will be celebrating 30th Anniversary in 2017

• Social  Media Presence • Trying to catch up with competitors in terms of use of social media

• Lack of useful information on social media platforms

Threats Opportunities

• Low entry costs for competitors

• Levels of published media is significantly dropping. • PR companies continue to grow in the UK

• Northern Irelands PR industry growing 34% in the last 3 years (Sync NI,2016)  

The different strengths named all reinforce the fact that DRC are a well established company and from their start up they have gained valuable and strong relationships with different brands names through their PR service. However, their main weakness is the lack of up to date and effective use of their online presence and presence on social media platforms.

The main threat to DRC is that it takes a little as a person with a knowledge of PR with a laptop and internet connection to begin doing the same work as DRC, therefore there is a high threat of new entrants to the market. The redundancy of published media is also a threat to DRC and makes their connections with published media less valid and of less use.

There is a great opportunity for DRC however in the form of the growing market. The UK PR industry is now worth £12.9bn – a growth of 34% or over £3bn since 2013 (Sync NI, 2016). For this reason, it is important for DRC to up their game within the PR industry now before they struggle to compete on the same level as their competitors.

5.0: Competitor Analysis:

An analysis of competitors\' strengths and weaknesses, strategies, assumptions, resources, and market positioning from all available sources of information, in order to identify suitable market strategies. Competitor analysis is an integral part of market planning (Doyle, 2011).

The table breaks down DRC and their main competitors into different categories and allows a closer look at the differences in the company. The above shows the positioning of DRC within the market and from this is it can be concluded that DRC are in fact lagging behind their competitors.

All of the companies named are ran by a small number of staff and are based in Belfast however it is easy to tell that what sets them apart is the way in which they use digital communications.

It can be seen that this is an important aspect as from the point of view of a customer, they should be able to present themselves well as being in the promotion industry. LK Communications are the biggest threat to the other PR companies due to the fact that their social media platforms are so well organised, each one is used for a specific purpose. This again backs up the point that DRC should take a look at their social media.

6.0 Marketing Communication’s Proposal

When recommending a marketing communications strategy, it is important to include all of the findings in the situation analysis, swot and competitor analysis. Without taking the findings into consideration a strategy may be recommended which is not relevant.

Therefore, in relation to the research carried out a strategy that could be implemented is more efficient and effective use of social media. This strategy should be carried out across all platforms and is due to a range of reasons.

DRC’s competitors are taking off in terms of the way they use social media however as well as staying on par with competitors it is necessary to ensure that DRC also cater to the needs of a technology friendly generation. Consumers in this day and age expect to have as much information as possible at their fingertips and for this reason DRC should strongly consider this option.

DRC should look at the way in which the competitors make use of each platform and analyse how each platform should be used. The platforms should then each be updated and the appropriate information should then be regularly updated to the social media site.

Facebook; DRC currently have more followers on their Facebook page than LK communications however LK communications have more interaction with their target audience as they post more regularly and appear to have positive relationships. DRC could make use of the followers that they have by posting the same type of content, just more regularly as generally they only post around once a week.

Twitter; DRC have a larger following on twitter with around 1500 followers. This is again a platform that could be better exploited in order to achieve exposure to the target market. An effective way that this could be used is to tweet the link to the articles written, along with a picture to catch attention and a mention to the company on which the press release has been written.

LinkedIn; LinkedIn is a very important platform for DRC to be using, generally this platform is used for b2b interaction. As a PR company this is important as you are working with other businesses rather than the public. For this reason, this platform could become the most valuable to DRC. All of DRC’s competitors use this platform and generally include the same type of information. Information about the company’s background, structure, services provided, and specialities should be included. Another way in which LinkedIn is used is with updates. A company can post updates similar to those on Facebook. It is important for DRC to keep this up to date to ensure that potential clients can sample some of the work that DRC do. The most recent update by DRC on this platform was 8 months ago and therefore shows that DRC do not make enough use of the platform.

There are several other ways in which DRC could use social media such as Instagram or Snapchat however the three talked about above are the most important for DRC to reach their target market of other businesses that need help with the promotion side of things.

7.0 – Conclusion

It is clear to see that DRC are in need of a change in marketing communications in order to ensure that they catch up with their competitors and hold their share of the market. From the analysis of the external and internal environment of DRC it could be concluded that the reason for dropping behind the competitors is the lack of interaction via social media and also inefficient use of these platforms. From the strategy recommended however DRC should notice an increase in the volume of traffic to their website and profiles from their target market and in turn an increase in the sales of their service, a better brand awareness and an increased market share.

8.0 Reference

Allen, K. (2016). Why is the pound falling and what are the implications for Britain? Available: Why is the pound falling and what are the implications for Britain? Last accessed 23rd Oct 2016.

Anderson, J. and Narus, J. (2004) Business Market Management. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Boyle, E. (2007), “A Process Model of Brand Co-creation: Brand Management and Research Implications”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 122-131.

Blythe, J (2008). Essentials of Marketing. 5th ed. Harlow: Pearson. 23-25.

Chris, G. (2016). Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI). Available : https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/articles/northern-ireland-composite-economic-index-nicei. Last accessed 6th Nov 2016

Doyle, C (2011). A Dictionary of Marketing. London: Oxford. 36.

Egan, J (2007), Marketing Communications, Thompson Learning, London

Fill, C. (2013) Marketing Communications. Brands, experiences and participation. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.

Hudson, S. and Hudson, R. (2013), “Engaging with consumers using social media: a case study of music festivals”, International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 206-223.

Inman, A. (2016). What would British Business be like after Brexit. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/18/british-business-after-brexit. Last accessed 3rd Dec 2016.

Keynote (2014) Social media marketing. Marketing Report. Available from: www.keynote.co.uk [Accessed on: 6th November 2016].

Keynote (2014) Mobile Marketing Report. Available from: www.keynote.co.uk [Accessed on: 6th November 2016].

Kotler, P. and Keller, K. (2006) Marketing Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Louro, M.J. and Chunha, P.V. (2001), “Brand Management Paradigms”, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 849-875.

Mintel / 2014 / Social Networking - http://academic.mintel.com/display/680670/?highlight#  Last accessed 29th Oct 2016

 Mintel / 2016 / Attitudes towards Advertising - http://academic.mintel.com/display/748430/ Last accessed 3rd Nov 201

Richard E. Hall (2003). starting a small business. Haverford: Infinity Publishing. 92.

Smith, J. (2016). PR Census 2016 reveals that the PR industry is worth £12.9bn. Available: https://syncni.com/news/2/6280/pr-census-2016-reveals-that-the-pr-industry-is-worth-12-9bn/tab/1356. Last accessed 6th Nov 2016.

Thompson, C.J., Rindfleisch, A. and Arsel, Z. (2006), “Emotional Branding and the Strategic Value of the Doppelganger Brand Image”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 70, No. 1, pp. 50-64.

Van Hooft, A. Brexit and the Future of Intellectual Property Litigation and Arbitration. Journal of International Arbitration. 33, 541-564, Sept. 2, 2016.

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