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Imc Plan Sssa

In: Business and Management

Submitted By quenhu26
Words 6836
Pages 28
|Southern States Communication Association |
|Integrated Marketing Communication Plan |

| |

When: May 6, 2011
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: University of North Carolina Wilmington
Communication Studies Department
Leutze Hall 125 Studio via video

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. The Consumer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 A. Target Buying Incentive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 B. What is the key customer insight? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 C. What do the customers want that they are not getting now?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 D. Which would best achieve the IMC goal: message, incentive, or both? . . . . . . . . 5 II. Does the product or service fit the group? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 A. What is the reality of the product or service? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 B. How does the customer perceive the product or service? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 C. How does it look, feel, taste, work, and so on? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 D. How does the customer perceive the company behind the product? . . . . . . . . . . 11 E. The Reality – SWOT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 F. How does the product fit the group? Recommendation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 III. How will the competition affect your objectives? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 A. What is the brand network, the competitive frame? Why? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 B. What do competitors now communicate to customers or prospects? . . . . . . . . . 15 C. How will the competition retaliate against your program? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 D. How vulnerable is the competition? From whom will you take business? . . . . . 17 IV. What is the competitive consumer benefit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 V. How will marketing communication make the benefit believable to the consumer? . . . .19 A. Product or Service Reason Why . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 B. Perceptual Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 C. Communication Support. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 VI. What should the personality of the brand, company, or product be? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 A. What unique personality will help further define the product or service? . . . . . .21 VII. What main message should the consumer take away from the communication?. . . . . . .22 A. What main incentive will be offered?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 B. What action do you want the consumer to take as a result of the communication?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 VIII. What will the perceptual or promotional effect of the communication be?. . . . . . . . . . . 25 IX. Consumer Contact Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 X. Future Research. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 XI. References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

I. The Consumer - Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) A. Target Buying Incentive The customer’s target buying incentive as members of the Southern States Communication Association is to engage in professional and social networking, achieve tenure, present a paper at the conference, and to use feedback to move towards future publication. The general product category for the overall customer is a SSCA membership. 1. How does this group perceive the products or services in the category? The members of SSCA perceive their membership as an intangible opportunity to network and present research with others. 2. What do they buy now? How do they buy and use the products or services? Life members require a one-time payment of $1,250, or four consecutive payments of $325 that establishes a standing patron membership. A patron membership is an annual fee of $190, which provides support for SSCA, including the convention registration fee, subscriptions to the four regional association journals, and listing in the convention program. Sustaining members require an annual fee of $90, which provides memberships and covers the convention registration fee. Regular members have an annual fee of $50 that provides membership privileges. Student memberships are only available for full-time undergraduate students and require an annual fee of $30 that provides membership privileges (Southern States Communication Association, 2001).

3. Lifestyles, psychographics and attitudes towards the category? In the survey, 50% of respondents were employed as full-time faculty at an institution for higher education. Another 28% were currently enrolled as a student (either graduate or undergraduate). The lifestyle that the target audience leads is essentially busy with scholarly research and other matters of academia. Furthermore, 64% of respondents have obtained a Ph.D. Survey results revealed that money is less of a factor when it comes to participating in entertainment related categories. The audience is selective with their spending but not necessarily to the point of being cheap. B. What is the key customer insight? The key customer insight of the Southern States Communication Association is that there are three main benefits of being a member: networking, presenting, and research. In the survey, 51% stated that the most valuable benefit of SSCA is professional development. Customers, however, are unsure of the actual value of their membership in the long-run and why they should remain a member of SSCA. C. What do the customers want that they are not now getting? Customers want more information and more value from their membership. This includes: 1. More networking opportunities 2. Socializing and events 3. Improved communication from SSCA 4. Mentoring opportunities

Target Buying Incentive: According to Don Schultz and Heidi Schultz in IMC: The Next Generation, “The target buying incentive (TBI) tells the marketer what people think about a product category and why they think that way. It shows what problems they have with the category (or brand) and what it would take for a product to overcome those problems and thus make a sale. The TBI analysis provides insights into the consumer’s behavior and thought process.” For example, how does the consumer define the quality of an SSCA membership? How does the consumer evaluate SSCA overall as an organization? The incentives that SSCA members feel that they receive from their membership in SSCA are the reasons why they decide to join. According to the results received from the survey, 61% of SSCA members said that their reason for joining was to further their research; 58% of SSCA members said that they joined for professional networking. When asked to rank the importance of a SSCA membership, the top three choices were to network professionally, engage in research and presentations, and gain experience and personal knowledge (Fellows). D. Which would best achieve the IMC goal: message, incentive, or both? Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is “a strategic process used to plan, develop, execute, and evaluate coordinated, measurable, persuasive brand communication programs over time with consumers, customers, prospects, and other targeted individuals (Schultz & Kitchen, 2000).” To best achieve these integrated marketing communication goals, there has to be a combination of both message and incentive. The main goal for SSCA is to expand communication to help create a new brand image that will boost Association participation. To offer an incentive, there must be a message that relays to the audience that there is an incentive. Therefore, when people become aware that there is an incentive they are more likely to participate and become involved in what SSCA has to offer to their members. II. Does the product or service fit the group? A. What is the reality of the product or service? The reality of the service provided by SSCA is the use and value of the membership.
|Members |In 2010, there were 625 total members of SSCA. According to the |
| |demographics of the participants in our survey, their degree and rank|
| |were both significantly correlated with the length of their |
| |membership in SSCA. The higher the degree and rank, the longer their |
| |membership (Fellows). |
|Membership Level |When people become members of SSCA they receive benefits based on |
| |their level of membership. Members receive newsletters each quarter |
| |and a copy of the academic journal produced by SSCA. Sustaining, |
| |Life, Patron, Emeritus, and Charter member also receive a free |
| |convention registration fee. |
|Top Reasons Member Join |The top 3 reasons members join SSCA, according to our survey, are |
| |networking, research, and presenting at the conference. |
|Annual Convention |The annual SSCA convention is the main event hosted by the |
| |organization for members to participate in, share their research, and|
| |network. |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| |This is the only time during the year where SSCA members meet |
| |together. Since members only meet together once a year, SSCA should |
| |develop more ways to foster relationships and social capital (Putnam,|
| |2000) among its members. |
| | |
| |The convention incorporates undergraduate students by hosting an |
| |Undergraduate Honors Conference. |
| | |
| |The SSCA convention is located in a different city each year and each|
| |convention is planned out 5 years in advance. |
| | |
| |The majority of people that attend the conference are within the |
| |communication discipline. |
| | |
| |The convention contains panels where scholars can present research. |
| |It also facilities networking and professional development among |
| |professors. |
| | |
| |74% of people surveyed said they would travel more than 360 miles to |
| |attend the annual convention. |
| | |
| |In the 2010 convention in Memphis, 568 people attended the |
| |convention. |
| | |
| |Our research has shown that members who attend the conference would |
| |like to have tours of the host city and participate in other |
| |attractions that are located in the convention city. |
| | |
| |From the analysis of our survey, Dr. Kelli Fellows found that “Cost, |
| |distance, and ease of booking were all significantly correlated with |
| |past conference attendance.” (Fellows) |
|Journal |The Southern Communication Journal is published quarterly in March, |
| |June, September and December by SSCA (SSCA Website). |
| | |
| |The journal is not limited to certain topics, methodological |
| |approach, or theoretical perspective. However, authors must establish|
| |the significance of their research, soundness of methodological |
| |choices, and appropriateness of theoretical perspectives that they |
| |use (SSCA Website). |
| | |
| |Only 11% of members who responded to our survey saw the journal |
| |subscription as the most valuable part of SSCA. This is because there|
| |are other ways to get articles published in the SSCA journal than |
| |through SSCA itself, for example through EBSCO Host and Interlibrary |
| |Loan. |
| | |
| |This journal is well known and respected in the professional field of|
| |Communication. Members of SSCA and other academic professionals can |
| |submit their research to be featured in the journal. This allows them|
| |to give back to their discipline and helps to establish a reputation |
| |and credibility in the discipline. A recurring theme among responses |
| |to what members perceive as their role in SSCA was to share and |
| |advance scholarly communication research. |
|Newsletter |The newsletter is distributed to SSCA members twice a year, in the |
| |Spring and Fall of each year. |
| | |
| |Newsletter articles are written by members of the Executive Council |
| |and Administrative Committee of SSCA. They give information on the |
| |organization, such as details about the upcoming convention, |
| |registration and hotel information. |
| | |
| |According to the survey, 51% respondents do not read the entire |
| |newsletter. |
| | |
| |“The newsletter was significantly correlated with the conference |
| |distance item. Promotional messages in the newsletter regarding the |
| |conference destination appear to be effective (Fellows).” |

1. What does it do? Presenting research at SSCA’s annual convention and submitting research to the journal improves members credibility as academic professionals. At the annual convention, presenting allows researchers to showcase their work and receive feedback. The majority of members of SSCA have their Ph.D. and have either achieved tenure or tenure track. Teaching, research, and service are the main components in achieving tenure. The annual convention allows them the opportunity to fulfill the research component by having their research papers be accepted and appear on panels. 2. Why is it different? SSCA is different from other Communication Associations because it is focused on rhetoric and it appeals to Academics who teach and live in the southern region of the United States. SSCA’s convention is a more laid back convention than other conventions, such as Eastern Communication Association (K. Fellows, personal communication, January 26, 2011). B. How does the customer perceive the product or service? We believe that SSCA should focus its marketing efforts more on the demographic of graduate/undergraduate students and members below the age of 35. According to our survey, 46% of respondents have been members of SSCA for three years or less and 25% have been members for over 13 years. While still keeping everyone else in the loop, SSCA should stress more of a focus on marketing toward the needs of the younger demographic who will be members of SSCA for many years to come and soon become the dominant membership age group themselves. Younger people have different needs and interests such as more facilitated networking, so they will be able to create the strong bonds and friendships that will keep them coming back for years to come. SSCA should also have directors and/or members come to local universities that are close to the city of the convention. This will attract local Communication Studies students to attend the conference to network and present. SSCA could also have these students show the traveling attendees around the city and plan events around the city’s attractions. They also would like to see a better use of technology, for example more e-mail reminders about the upcoming convention or the use of social media. C. How does it look, feel, taste, work, and so on? The atmosphere of SSCA’s convention has been described as a family reunion among its members and leaders. Many members are dedicated to attending SSCA’s convention and attend almost every year. This type of bond among lifetime members is a great asset to have, however some newer members feel excluded and out of the pre-existing circle of colleagues. SSCA also has a more slow-paced and relaxed feeling than other conferences such as ECA (K. Fellows, personal communication, January 26, 2011). D. How does the customer perceive the company behind the product? From our survey results, Dr. Fellows discovered correlations in attitudes among respondents. The following statement describes how respondents perceive SSCA. “Survey results have showed that members have a lack of passion towards the Association. When the general opinions are considered at a macro level, this suggests a malaise among the participants. However, these indications should be only a reflection of these participants. It is not appropriate to make the blanket assumption that everyone in the Association is this way. It is one of many indicators of the state of the Association, and should be considered in conjunction with the qualitative data and associated thematic analyses (Fellows).” E. The Reality – Strengths/Weaknesses-(Internal) Opportunities/Threats-(External) The reality of the membership: our survey suggests that 67% of SSCA are members of the National Communication Association (NCA), while 31% of SSCA are members of their state communication association. In our survey 61% of SSCA members stated their reason for joining is to further their research where as 58% stated the reason for their joining is for professional networking. Strengths The internal strengths of SSCA include the credibility of the journal published quarterly. Since this journal has a high level of credibility, it improves professors standing and helps them to achieve tenure. An external strength that is present in SSCA, is the dedication of its members. From our survey and focus groups we have discovered that many members attend the convention every year unless there is a health or family reason that prevents them from attending. Weaknesses SSCA also has several weaknesses. One weakness is that the terms of the President, Vice President, and Vice President- Elect office positions are only one year. SSCA can improve the transition of these office positions to leverage the experience of President, who has been an officer for three years. Another weakness that was pointed out during our survey was the lack of communication between SSCA and its members, especially prior to the annual convention. In the past, SSCA did not provide a sufficient amount of information and reminders about the convention. This weakness can be easily fixed by providing updated information on the website and investing in social media tools. Facebook and twitter are free websites that facilitate two-way communication between SSCA and its target audience. This is an easy way to post new information about the convention as soon as it is available.

H. Does the product fit the group? Recommendation We do not feel that SSCA is utilizing its unique strengths to reach out to members and prove their value as an academic organization. We recommend that members take notice of the benefits they are receiving from their membership and also the value that comes with being a member of SSCA. We also recommend focusing efforts on addressing the needs of the younger members, because they are the future of SSCA and if they are happy with their membership benefits they could possibly increase the level of membership, bring in more potential members and continue to attend the convention for many more years. We have a wide variety of strategies that need to be suited for different age groups. For instance: ● Undergraduate and Graduate Students- We need to focus on what makes these students join and what they are looking for (Networking, research opportunities, mentor availability, and least importantly, social ties). To be blunt, these people are looking for enjoyment and opportunity. Qualitative data suggests that we should implement a social event involving a bar and entertainment. This will allow students, professors, and other distinguished scholars to meet and mingle. Lasting memories and networking are key to this demographic. We cannot ignore this. This demographic is important to reach first and foremost, because the more students we have entering each year, the bigger our base will be once they graduate and become professors and candidates for more in-depth research submissions. ● Tenure Track Professors- This group will be the easiest to communicate with because they are required to attend their regional conference and also submit to the panels we must offer. ● Tenured, Associate or Full Professors- This demographic is coming for two reasons: To be informed, and to inform others. Make this as easy and accessible as possible. Give them the opportunity to set up their own panels, offer workshops and open feedback for them and their attendees. Give them the attention they want and readily deserve for their research, while also acknowledging that they have a role to perform and execute in order for the convention to take place. We can achieve this by allowing these submitters to contact and finagle schedules with the group we decide to plan the overall conference throughout the year. Students accepted to the conference have an obligation to attend the conference and present. Our recommendation is to ensure that professors that are accepted to the conference to receive and accept a statement stating they will attend. ● Another objective could be to increase the amount and quality of communication between SSCA and its members throughout the year, especially in the months leading up to the convention and registration. Our recommendation is to increase the amount of convention information on the website and develop a presence on social media website. Refer to the tactics section on page 22 of this IMC plan for more details.

III. How will the competition affect your objectives? A. What is the brand network, the competitive frame? Why? Instead of focusing on any aspect of competition, we can look to The Eastern Communication Association (ECA) and The National Communication Association (NCA) as contributors for ideas and possible implementations for future SSCA conventions. One aspect of superior planning that we may need to focus on is the idea of continuity from year to year. We must try to accomplish a system of consistency for our members and the way each conference is run/planned from year to year. This is how our surrounding regional associations have continuously conducted leadership. B. What do competitors now communicate to customers or prospects? We can distribute the responsibility among more than two people so that no information and procedures are missed/looked over. To accomplish this, we must set up a central repository for information such as an online database, or an accessible location for all EC. 1. We must set standards for SSCA membership. We can start by informing members of membership loyalties and responsibilities that are to be abided by, dates for the conferences, calendar of events and additional information about conference updates. We must make our members feel like they have paid with a purpose. 2. The main thing that our consumers look for upon becoming a member in SSCA is the admittance/access into the conference. This emphasizes presentations at the conference and puts all weight on the funds to improve and design the convention details. This is the event that our consumers come to in order to further their research (67% of respondents), however, ECA is also a competitor for membership totals, as they host their convention around the same time of year yet in different locations. We must take any opportunity to provide our members with a one of a kind experience that SSCA can celebrate as an academic yet enjoyable experience. 3. Scholarly Journals that our organization offers to its members is crucial for gaining and maintaining membership. Looking at our competitors, why would one person choose SSCA if ECA offers more incentives for their membership? Looking at our “competitors”: • NCA offers 10 major Communication Journals available to read and use for research- a main reason why scholars want to join and attend the SSCA conference. • ECA offers 3 journals (Communication Quarterly, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, Communication Research Reports, as well as the ECA Newsletter) • SSCA only offers 1 academic journal as well as the newsletter. 4. Mentoring Programs offered by ECA for students and new members are a huge incentive that are not implemented in SSCA, yet more than 50% of survey responses indicate a desire for mentor programs as well as individuals willing to lead such projects. These can be strategically executed much like the competition (ECA/NCA) by doing them online through a neatly constructed web design (mentioned in earlier presets of the plan). ECA also has a buddy system that encourages undergraduate students to submit research and further devote themselves in the organization. This program has a $20 submission fee, but provides students with the necessary contacts and initial attendance information. If we can implement such system, we can create a better sense of unity and new membership totals coming in every year. C. How will the competition retaliate against your program? Since we’ve identified ECA as our main competition for the purpose of this plan, we are not focusing a lot of attention to the other regional conventions (CSCA, WSCA) at this time. We do not have strict competition as far as “one over the other.” What we can do is imitate and implement these systems in order to match and exceed any expectation previously set by SSCA standard. According to the survey results, a member’s degree is negatively correlated with other association memberships. The higher the degree achieved, the fewer associations they are members of (Fellows). D. How vulnerable is the competition? From whom will you take business? It is very possible to “take away” members from other regional organizations, however, many professors and scholars join a group based on their university’s affiliation. That is why we must keep in mind that not only are individual members important to entice, but also larger groups such as universities and their faculty. Also, members may submit to more than one organization, so in terms of locking agreements with one convention, it is not entirely exclusive. IV. What is the competitive consumer benefit? The ECA offers something that SSCA has not yet implemented, and that is its “Scholars Program” that utilizes distinguished members who are available for consultation to any new or existing members within the organization. Within our survey, we have asked members to give their ideas and opinions of a mentor program, which would be very similar to ECA’s existing Scholar Program. In our survey, 57% of respondents said they would be interested in an implemented mentoring program and only 26% were against it. With such a high number (more than half) of these respondents in favor of the program, why not do at least one year with a trial and monitor the success of the curriculum? Even more than implementing and becoming a mentor, 61% of respondents said they would enjoy and benefit from a mentor program. We can also look at the ECA which offers a wide variety of locations that can interfere with your annual conference. This program offers “perks” based on the enrollment of each member. 1. 27% of SSCA survey responses came from undergraduate or graduate students. These students do not get funding to attend the conference, therefore, we cannot expect these members to grow and utilize the networking and scholarly advancements SSCA offers. Your competition (in this case, the CSCA) offers students with free journal subscriptions. A. We wish that the website would have a better organization and presentation than ECA. B. We wish to gain higher conference attendance rates than our “competitor” regions. • ECA Member totals (2005-2011): Approximately 670-815 members C. After the 2012 SSCA Convention, we want to achieve higher approval rates of conference (as a whole) than previous conference responses (2011 survey results). D. At the 2012 convention, we want to achieve higher approval rates of the convention site.

V. How will marketing communication make the benefit believable to the consumer? By SSCA increasing their marketing communication, it will make all members of SSCA more informed to what the current trends are among new members and acknowledge major news with members, directors and research. A. Product or Service Reason Why Having marketing communication that has updated membership information will allow members to communicate throughout the association so that involvement increases. B. Perceptual Support Increasing communication from directors, to members, will make everyone feel more comfortable within the association. This type of perceptual support will have a cause-effect relationship. If the members feel more connected and comfortable with the things going on in the association, they will put more time, effort, and money into it. • Ethos- “Reason to believe.” Journal publication improves the authors credibility. Being a member of a well-known association also improves credibility because of the people you surround yourself with and associate with academically and socially. ● Pathos- Forming relationships between members is key. We must offer events and opportunities to form bonds not only between members, but also between mentors, students, and professors. These relationships and social ties will keep people coming back. How to accomplish this: Social events, mentor programs, online forums and follow ups between members throughout the year. ● Logos- 67% of SSCA members are also members of NCA. 31% of SSCA members are also members of their own state communication association. Only 25% have been members of 13+ years and 46% have been members of SSCA for 3 years or less. C. Communication Support 1. Facebook- free, convenient, up to date, easy to read and keep up with. Facebook allows for dialogic communication between SSCA and its members, but does not require it to be dialogic. 2. Twitter- free, convenient, up to date, easy to read and keep up with. Twitter is a free source that could be used at conferences to let participants know where popular panels are, or social events throughout the night. 3. SSCA.net- Though it could cost a portion of SSCA’s profit, an updated website will create a less stressed and more informed community. The current website is designed in a way that makes finding information difficult. Navigation through links presents problems for locating specific information, documents and inquiries. The website and social media allow people to access information posted by SSCA 24 hours, 7 days a week. 4. Considering more than two thirds of SSCA members also have memberships with NCA, NCA can be used as an indirect advertising strategy. 5. The SSCA Newsletter- Make this medium more accessible and desired. After all, the newsletter was significantly correlated with the conference distance. Promotional messages in the newsletter regarding the conference destination appear to be effective. 6. Word of mouth advertising from directors to their associates is a wonderful source of free advertisement to their students and colleagues. State school systems (UNC school systems for example) can advertise on their campuses or through their social media outlets. VI. What should the personality of the brand, company, or product be? Passion, pride in an organization, open communication, friendliness, sense of community, collaboration, cohesiveness and kinship are all words that one might think of when brainstorming for a southern organization. An updated and bold logo will help SSCA make a known presence in their communication efforts. A. What unique personality will help further define the product or service? SSCA is known for a more laid back conference where you can discuss research topics with friends, not just colleagues. This close knit association will further its unique brand personal atmosphere. ECA is fast paced and has a larger membership base. Because this allows for more people to attend conferences, it is more difficult to meet up and see friends conveniently. We want to make the SSCA conference a place for scholars to come to discuss and gain information, but also to enjoy themselves. SSCA needs to find the fine line between enjoyment and scholarly research and blend the two together. People won’t come if they do not enjoy themselves. One response to the survey gives us an idea that “I leave ECA with more than enough information, while SSCA leaves me shorthanded on information.” This needs to change. Another way to promote SSCA and its brand is to invest in merchandise that can be purchased by members at the conference (or online) that displays a logo or statement of SSCA. This will help advertise SSCA outside of the convention walls, as well as build pride in existing members and purchasers. According to the survey, the most sought out items to be potentially purchased by members were as follows: • 35% Coffee Mugs • 25% Pens • 19% Water Bottles Contrary to a previous belief that non-profits cannot purchase and sell memorabilia, such as the previously stated items, we may do so ONLY if the proceeds go back into the net assets for the improvement of quality of an educational organization. The IRS has declared, "Nonprofit organizations that are granted Federal tax exemption based on their mission-related purposes are allowed by the IRS, within certain limits, to generate income from unrelated business activities." (Non-Profit Law, Harvey Mechanic: Attorney At Law). So although some paper work may have to be filled out, a trial should be put into place for the next convention. This implementation will also provide more income to assist in recovering from budget issues. VII. What main message should the consumer take away from the communication? The main message SSCA wants the members to take away from the communication is to create a new brand image to boost association participation. A. What main incentive will be offered? The main incentive offered is that members will enjoy being able to network at the regional conference and give back to the discipline by presenting their research.

B. What action do you want the consumer to take as a result of the communication? Become a member of SSCA and attend the regional conference for research and networking opportunities not offered anywhere else. 1. Tactic # 1: Redesign the SSCA website The current SSCA website does not efficiently communicate the desired story of SSCA to its members. According to our survey, only 30.7 % of responses said they agree with the statement: “the SSCA website is easy to navigate.” Therefore, the current SSCA website designs navigation tools should be re-examined. Furthermore, 28.9% of responses agreed and 27.5% of responses strongly agreed to using the SSCA website. As a result, SSCA needs a website that will attract more visitors where the purpose is clear. SSCA should design a website where members better understands the intended purpose of SSCA and can more easily find information. For example, on ECA’s website they have an entire tab dedicated to membership. This tab describes an overview of membership to the association, clearly states benefits of joining, and potential interest groups to become involved in. SSCA’s website does not have to directly mirror ECA’s, but it can incorporate and adapt successful components. Recommendation: SSCA should hire a web designer or team of web designers, who are currently SSCA members, and would be willing to work for free so as to not affect the budget. Another possibility is that the website redesign can also be a service-learning project for the Fall 2011 Advanced IMC course at UNCW. If these ideas are not possible, a portion of the SSCA budget will go towards hiring a web designer. The new and improved website should be updated regularly and provide up to date information about the convention and other news regarding SSCA. We recommend there be a page on the website designated to informing members on all the positive benefits they receive by becoming members. This will reinforce the perceived value of membership. 2. Tactic # 2: SSCA should utilize social media outlets. According to our focus group from the 2011 SSCA convention, the majority of the participants expressed great interest of how social media will help increase awareness of the annual convention. A theme that emerged during coding of the qualitative survey and focus groups was that there is a lack of communication between SSCA and convention attendees. Since we will be increasing focus on the younger demographic of members, social media is a strong communication avenue to invest in because of its high usage among this particular demographic. Recommendation: SSCA can utilize social media website such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with its publics and provide updated and current information about the convention. Social media and live blogging can be used during the convention to inform members and attendees about what is going on throughout all the convention events. SSCA needs to decide on which member(s) would be in charge of the social media accounts. 3. Tactic # 3: Create SSCA logo to establish new brand image. This logo could represent what SSCA wants to be recognized as and help further develop their brand personality. Once a logo is established, SSCA will generate brand recognition among members and other Communication Associations. The designed logo would appear on merchandise produced by SSCA that will be sold at the annual convention. According to the 2011 convention survey, 42% of responses said they would buy merchandise at both the convention and online. This merchandise will help generate revenue for SSCA. Recommendation: SSCA should hire a graphic designer to create a logo to be voted and agreed upon by SSCA members; or SSCA should announce a logo design contest in which SSCA members can compete to create the SSCA logo. VIII. What will the perceptual or promotional effect of the communication be? A. If the communication is successful, SSCA members will see SSCA as a more valuable membership experience in 1-2 years. B. If the incentive is successful; more members will submit and attend SSCA conferences and in turn facilitate more income. IX. Consumer Contact Points Currently, SSCA contacts its members through networking prospects, presentations and social events at the annual conference, the quarterly newsletter, and the website. Surveys collected from the SSCA convention in Little Rock, Arkansas and from the online survey (SurveyMonkey.com) of members have shown that members want SSCA to improve on communication so members can hear about more events and opportunities for research. Many members and conference attendees find that they tend to miss social events and opportunities to network because SSCA has lacked with communicating details. To most effectively communicate with the members about networking, socializing, better membership opportunities, and more research presentation options, we suggest using social media, improving the SSCA website, using word of mouth at the conference, and sending out flyers through email and the newsletter. Social media includes setting up a SSCA Facebook as a page, so members can “like”, or setting as a person so members can become friends. Through Facebook, SSCA can create events and setting statuses to announce what is new with SSCA and the upcoming events. SSCA can also set interest groups so members can network with other members. This way, members can contact each other on their own time. Facebook also offers close groups, where members can network privately to each other through social media. In addition to closed groups, members can also access a forum (with a low additional fee) on the SSCA website that can allow members to read and comment on scholarly articles before the convention submission dates. SSCA should also set a Twitter account that constantly sends a status about current and upcoming events, announcements, as well as new additions to becoming a member. Twitter can be used by the members to get immediate feedback from other members, convention attendees, and the directors. LinkedIn is also another form of social media that can be used. LinkedIn is a professional social media that can help recent graduates and new members network with current members for future job and research opportunities. The SSCA website should also be improved so that members and potential members can get more information about SSCA. The website should have the new logo and be made more attractive to current standards so that new communication researchers will be wanting to be members. There should be more information about the annual conference, such as meal gatherings and cocktail parties, new social events, and great networking opportunities. There should also be information about exact locations of these events and local attractions on the website. This will excite the members and other communication researchers to present at and/or attend the conference. There should also be photographs of previous conferences. The member site should include a question and answer page about the benefits about becoming a SSCA member. There could be a list of members as well as pictures and more information about the board members. Since many members of SSCA are also members of NCA, NCA’s website can provide a spot to announce SSCA events and opportunities to become a member of SSCA. By using the NCA website, SSCA can network with other communication associations across the United States. Fliers about the conference events should be emailed with the time and location so members will see and know where to go. Also, if the directors talk to the attendees at the conference about the events, the use of word of mouth will help gain more interest and content from the members, and potential new members. There should also be flyers at the local campuses to gain interest from local Communication Studies Students. X. Future Research We will have to follow up with our original survey recipients, especially the leadership faction to see if the main points we focused on coincide with what issues they feel are most important. This will allow us to be sure of what our client is stressing, what we need to focus on, and to make sure we are all on the same page in general. 1. Surveys - Follow up surveys can be distributed to see if and how the members are satisfied allowing us to focus on what needs to be changed. This will give us a better understanding of what the membership wants to see and therefore what needs to be changed and/or improved. 2. Focus Groups - To gauge the effectiveness of the implications of the plan with regards to the membership and possibly the directors. This will allow the members to voice their opinion on our strategy and focus personally upon the implementation of this plan. 3. Website Redesign - As part of the IMC strategy, the SSCA website needs to be revamped to appeal to the larger, younger contingent of the active membership. We would then complete additional research on the success and response to the website itself. We will then be able to tell what worked and what appealed to the website users in terms of visual aesthetics and navigating the site itself. 4. Social Media - We will want to give social media more life with regards to SSCA as a whole. Whether it is through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, these are all very useful social media outlets that need to be utilized. These outlets can attract more potential members and tap more heavily into the whole undergrad contingent of the current membership. 5. Feedback - we will collect feedback through various mediums including the use of social media outlets and follow up questions distributed through e-mail or surveys. 6. Buying Merchandise - The types of merchandise bought, as well as to what degree, may show the level of support for increased funding and loyalty towards SSCA as a member organization.

References

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