The Communication Process
The influx of more modern and powerful MP3 players in the market as well as the rise of cellular phones with MP3 capability have resulted to the decline in sales of the company’s product, Max. Usually, the target clients for the product are the teenage group, which is being lured away by high tech phones. Thus, the need to switch markets as an alternative to getting out of the MP3 market altogether. Repositioning the product from the young group to the older population, aged 40 years and above, the so –called ‘gray market’.
This paper aims to present options/plans towards this end. The Communication Theory (Berlo, 1960) contends that the source (S) of a message (M) must deal with psychological and social factors in formulating the message and in selecting the channel (C) through which he will transmit it to the receiver (R). The SMCR model (see Fig 1. ) also provides a “mechanism of feedback which enables the source to be constantly informed as to whether he is succeeding or failing in the objective. Likewise, follow up is essential (Sta Maria, 1996, p. 6).
Psychological factors include the attitude of the source and the receiver, since everyone selectively “listens” or shuts off unfavorable messages – and the credibility of the source. Social factors include group pressure or approval, relative status of source and receiver, biases and similar other considerations. It is said that behind every successful management is an efficient communication system (Sta Maria, 1996, p. 1). Modern businesses would quickly grind to a halt if communication were stopped or severely curtailed.
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The advances in technology make communication a versatile tool in management of businesses and their success. Wilbur Schramm (1954) espoused in his Interactive Model of Communication, as shown in Fig. 2 that the decoding and encoding activities are simultaneously done by the sender and receiver. It also provides for a two-way interchange of messages. He also included an “interpreter” as an abstract representation of the problem of meaning. Fig. 2. The Schramm interactive model of communication.
The strengths of the communication model are as follows: 1. The notion of “field of experience” or the psychological frame of reference which refers to the type of orientation or attitudes the sender/receiver maintain toward each other. 2. Feedback – communication is a reciprocal, two-way process, even though the feedback may be delayed. The feedback can be direct, moderately direct or completely indirect. Example of a direct feedback could be the number of votes a candidate cast after his speech.
An example of a completely indirect feedback is the number of students that enroll for a particular subject the next semester offered by the same teacher. 3. Content – a message may have different meanings, depending on the specific context or setting. For example, reaction of people when one shout fire in the rifle range is entirely different to the reaction of movie goers when someone shouts fire in a crowded theater 4. Culture – a message may have different meanings associated with it, depending on the culture or society.
Communication systems operate within the confines of cultural roles and expectations the people are educated. The weakness of Schramm’s model is that it does not account for the complex, multi-levels of communication between several sources. In the repositioning of Max, effective and efficient communication is a must. Everyone, from the topmost management officer to the sales and after sales personnel should be informed in the shift of client target. Everyone should have a basic knowledge of the gray population. What are their characteristics? Where are they?
How to promote the product to this target group? The gray population can be divided into two sub-groups, the about to retire individuals (40 to 60 year olds) and the retirees (60 years old and above). The United Kingdom population pyramid in 2005 (Fig 2a) shows that the population is heaviest at 40-44 year old group. It is predicted by 2025, the heaviest would fall in the 55-59 year old group (Fig 2b). The population pyramids show that the target gray population combined is the biggest in terms of numbers, compared to the other age groups as seen in the web site at <http://www. census. gov/cgi-bin/ipc/idbsum. pl>.
When translated to sales volume, there would be large volume orders for MAX, when promoted aggressively and effectively to these age groups. Fig 2a. United Kingdom population pyramid for 2005. Fig 2b. United Kingdom population pyramid for 2025. These population groups have the means to purchase the MAX if skillfully promoted to them. The older people who are still working have their regular incomes, and they can easily decide to buy the MAX if it appeals to them. The elderly or the retirees have their pensions and investments stashed somewhere.
They can easily purchase one too. More so, if it can be shown that it would help them so much in maintaining their good health. Research findings showed that music improves sleep quality in adults (Lai and Good, 2006). It provides evidence for the use of soothing music as an empirically based intervention for sleep in older people. Results of the study on therapeutic use of music in nursing homes showed that music could supplement medical treatment. It has low cost, few side effects, and music gives a high level of patient satisfaction.
Clinical analyses indicate that music has a potential in nursing homes. It can enhance well being and alleviate symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, depression and sensomotor symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases and may contribute to palliative care at the end-of-life stage (Myskja, 2005). Based on the above discussion, it would be a wise move to shift client targets, or reposition MAX as a tetchy gadget for the older people. It is lightweight, small, can be carried anywhere, and carry more than enough songs. Furthermore, the older people themselves can select the songs.