Marketing Communication: A European Perspective is one of the books we had to use for our study programme International Communication and Media. We used the 5th edition, which was published in 2013.
I was not too excited about reading the book, since it contains over 600 pages. However, as soon as I had read the first chapter, I knew this book truly had something to offer.
Structure of the book
The book offers a combination of marketing communication theory, theories related to this field of study and the book links this theory to current situations and case studies.
Each chapter starts with a chapter outline, summarizing what the chapter will teach you. After this, an introduction follows, giving general information about the topic and asking interesting questions which will be answered in the chapter. After this, the specific content of each chapter begins.
Each chapter ends with a summary which contains the most important terms and learning points. I see these summaries more as an epilogue. It is fun and useful to read them, but it is just impossible to summarize the average 30-page chapter in only half a page. The summaries never contain figures or frameworks, so you will always have to consult the body of each chapter to learn the how and why of a theory.
After the summaries you will find review questions. These ask you to explain important terms used in the chapter and let you explain the most important learning points. I considered answering these questions very useful, because you need to know what each theory means and you need to know more details of the application of each theory. If you can’t answer a question, you know you don’t understand or remember a topic for the hundred percent.
The next section in every chapter is ‘Further Reading’, where you can find sources to read if you want to go more in-depth of a topic. This can be very interesting for marketers who want to know every detail of a theory to apply it to its fullest potential.
What’s next is the case study. This is a relatively long text of about 5 pages per case study. It tells about a real-life business scenario and explains what actions a certain brand took. These case studies often include figures and statistics. At the end of the text, you can find questions about the case study. Some of these simply require you to read back in the text and write down the correct answer. Other question are more about the feeling and insight you have in a topic, asking you for your opinion and what you would have done in that specific situation. Questions like these are truly able to test you on your knowledge and creativity in business solutions, very useful for marketers!
Each chapter ends with the references used in the chapter. Apart from the section ‘Further Reading’, marketers should definitely consult these sources too when looking for details of a theory, framework or statement. Just know that every list of a chapter is very extensive, you it will take you a lot of time if you want to read every source used in this book.
In the text, important terms are highlighted in a bold font. Regularly, important summations are given using bullet points. Most chapters also offer interesting statistics related to the subject of the chapter. Important theories are not just explained in text, but often also summarized in a figure or framework. This makes it easier to learn and remember the theories.
Apart from the case studies at the end of each chapter, the book offers loads of other real-life examples. Such a ‘Business Insight’ is related to the theory explained in that chapter. For example, the second chapter is about branding. In the first business insight of the chapter, the authors explain why Bacardi is using a bat as their brand trademark. Such interludes featuring interesting up-to-date cases make reading the book fun and make the theory come alive!
Similar to these business insights, the book also features ‘Research Insights’. These sections build onto theory that has been explained before and give more details of a theory. Sometimes, big research projects relating to the subject are explained. To give an example, in the third chapter you can find information about attitude formation and change. The relating ‘Research Insight’ is about research on the effect of dental hygiene messages at children between 7 and 9 years old. Again, I think this type of ‘Insight’ is a great addition to the book. Not only does it explain how a theory has been applied, but it also teaches you the lessons learned as a result of the completed research: the conclusions.
Other useful elements present in the book are the index and glossary at the end of the book. These are pretty standard features for an academic book, but I’m still happy that these parts were present. They helped me to quickly find the definition of a term and allowed me to find the pages in the book where I can read about a certain topic.
I found most chapters to be very informative and interesting. Thanks to the great structure of each chapter, it was very easy read the text and stay focused thanks to the catchy business and research insights.
During my internship, I used a lot of different marketing communication tools that are explained in the book. I enjoyed reading information and theories which I applied myself during that internship. Especially chapter 15 made a lot of sense in that way, which is about E-communication: relationship marketing, social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-mail marketing etcetera.
For my company, I also had to present be present during fairs and exhibitions. It really surprised me to read that there are even online trade shows. Since such online events are easily accessible, I think this could become a much bigger way of marketing your company in the future, even though it misses the human ‘touch’.
If you want to become an all-round marketer, if you are simply looking for interesting case studies or if want to find lots of interesting marketing communication articles, this book is a must-read! It is easy and fun to read and most of the information is specialised for the European market (therefore the name ‘A European perspective’).
Years of research by experts have been put into this book, while we have the option to consume all of this information in no-time. What are you waiting for? Order the book and start reading!
De Pelsmacker, P., Geuens, M., Van Den Bergh, J.(2013). Marketing Communications: A European Perspective (5th ed.). Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.