For most companies, the question is not whether to communicate but rather what to say, to whom, and how often. The Marketing communications mix consists of five major modes of communication:
- Advertising: Any paid form of non personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.
- Sales promotion: A variety of short-term incentives to encourage trial of purchase of a product or service.
- Public relations and publicity: A variety of program designed to promote or protect a company's image or its individual product.
- Personal selling: Face-to-face interaction with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making presentations, answering questions, and procuring orders.
- Direct and interactive marketing: Use of mail, telephone, fax, email, or internet to communicate directly with or solicit response of dialog from specific customers and prospects.
Today there is a new view of communications as an interactive dialog between the company and its customers that takes place during the preselling, selling, consuming, post consuming stages. Companies must ask not only "How can we reach our customers?" but also "How can our customers reach us?".