In assessing the collective impact of an Integrated Marketing Communications program, the overriding goal is to create the most effective and efficient communications program possible. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Without a doubt, promotion and marketing communications are the most ubiquitous elements of any firm’s marketing strategy.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is defined as customer centric, data driven method of communicating with the customer. Integrated marketing communications is the strategic, coordinated use of promotion to create one consistent message across multiple channels to ensure maximum persuasive impact on the firm’s current and potential customers. Integrated marketing communications is also process for managing customer relationships that drive brand value primarily through communication efforts. Due to the many advantages associated with IMC, most marketers have adopted integrated marketing as the basis for their communication and promotion strategies. Many firms are also embracing technology in order to target customers directly through product placement and online promotion. When selecting elements to include in the IMC program, it is important to take a holistic perspective that coordinates not only all promotional elements but also the IMC program with the rest of the marketing program (product, price, and supply chain strategy). All too frequently, firms rush to launch an intensive IMC campaign that has no clear promotional objectives.
Ultimately, the goals and objectives of any promotional campaign culminate in the purchase of goods or services by the target market.
The role and importance of specific promotional elements vary across the steps in the AIDA model.
Alongside the issue of promotional goals and objectives, the firm must also consider its promotional goals with respect to the supply chain. The role and importance of specific promotional elements also vary depending on the nature of the product.
Coordinating promotional elements within the context of the entire marketing program requires a complete understanding of the role, function, and benefits of each element. The starting point of the IMC process is the marketing mix that includes different types of marketing, advertising, and sales efforts. Integrated marketing communications aims to ensure consistency of message and the complementary use of media. Using outside-in thinking, Integrated Marketing Communications is a data-driven approach that focuses on identifying consumer insights and developing a strategy with the right (online and offline combination) channels to forge a stronger brand-consumer relationship. Communicate, many mediums working together to present a unified message with a feedback mechanism to make the communication two-way. The goal of selecting the elements of proposed integrated marketing communications is to create a campaign that is effective and consistent across media platforms. Although integrated marketing communications is more than just an advertising campaign, the bulk of marketing dollars is spent on the creation and distribution of advertisements. A major task that guides the way in creating an effective Integrated Marketing Communications plan is the promotions opportunity analysis. The fourth step of a promotions opportunity analysis program is to prepare a general communication strategy for the company and its products. It is critical that the company’s communication strategy mesh with the overall message and be carefully linked to the opportunities identified by a communication market analysis. Throughout these steps, marketers should consistently review and analyze the actions and tools that major competitors are utilizing. Accountability in marketing is increasing a result of tight economic restraints and an ever evolving society. In addition to the usual resistance to change and the special problems of communicating with a wide variety of target audiences, there are many other obstacles which restrict IMC.
Sadly, some organizational structures isolate communications, data, and even managers from each other. And all of this can be aggravated by turf wars or internal power battles where specific managers resist having some of their decisions (and budgets) determined or even influenced by someone from another department. Here are two difficult questions – What should a truly integrated marketing department look like? Add different time scales into a creative brief and you’ll see Time Horizons provide one more barrier to IMC.
If you are a visual-stimulated person, you can watch this video to have a better understanding. This entry was posted in Marketing and tagged communications integrated marketing marketing public relations Assignment First Draft Date Word Count LaQuinta Yasheaka on December 10, 2012 by La-Quinta Munford. Integrated marketing is a management concept designed to make all aspects of marketing communications (such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing) work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation. The concept of integrated marketing only came into practice within the last 20 years, so if you were stumped by the term, have no worries! Researching the core principles of integrated marketing is the best way to gain a better understanding of what IMC is.
Since integrated marketing is a blend of departments, companies that use it intend to get the most out of their marketing communications campaigns. Advertising: Can successfully reach a large number of consumers, but can come with an expensive price tag radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, Internet, and billboards.
Direct Marketing: Used to encourage direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics. Public Relations: Builds trust by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light. Many companies are still adjusting to the field and may not have a position for an integrated marketing specialist available, but many expect their departments to come together and implement integrated strategies. I have a bachelor’s degree in public relations, so marketing strategy is not something that I am an expert on, and when I attempted to learn about integrated marketing communications in the classroom, I found that my textbooks contained literally two pages on IMC.
That being said, I’d be interested in hearing how other young professionals were introduced to integrated marketing communications.
Share your experience and how it helped you better understand the concept of integrated marketing communications by leaving a comment below. About La-Quinta MunfordCreative, spontaneous and full of laughter, are three things that describe La-Quinta! Reply ↓ TrinidineWissen December 26, 2012 at 9:51 am What is Integrated Marketing Communications? In recent years, there has been an explosion of new marketing platforms in the social, mobile and digital space. One sure way to increase your chances to execute a successful campaign is to plan and execute your marketing efforts as an Integrated Marketing Campaign with built-in focus on tracking, measurement and optimization. To make the shift towards integrated marketing campaigns, here are what I believe to be the most important steps you can adopt in your campaigns . Select channels by taking the target demographics into consideration to get the most visibility and highest chance of multiple interactions. Create your Marketing Content with the intent to deliver a seamless customer experience as your customers and leads interact with your brand across multiple channels.
Guide the audience through the purchase funnel by defining multiple intermediate measurable meaningful goals along the way. Optimize the campaign by studying the correlation of the effects of online and offline channels on each other and making adjustments along the way. It is not a coincidence that conversion rate optimization and content marketing, the top two marketing priorities in 2013, are central focus in an integrated marketing campaign. SmartMPM, our marketing performance measurement solution, focuses on the measurement and optimization of integrated marketing campaigns. SmartMPM marketing performance measurement today announced they have integrated with Constant Contact®, Inc. The technological resources that have been available to marketers are now requiring more human resources.
The idea of integrated marketing communications developed in the late 1980s, but as marketing strategies gained sophistication, the concept gradually evolved. The Journal of Integrated Marketing Communication has a similar definition, which focuses on different aspects. Many business owners measure success by their ability to attract new clients, but the ability to maintain the loyalty of existing clients is even more important. Since client-centered companies are always listening to consumers, they usually develop products that people actually want to buy, with features that clients say they need. The second part of listening tells you where your prospective customers “hang out.” Some will spend most of their time online, while others fall into the television addict category.
Tracking the success of your promotions, either with sophisticated metrics or analytics, or by simply asking “where did you hear about us,” lets you determine your strongest marketing channel.
The stronger your brand identity, the easier it is to market it across a variety of channels.
A successful integrated marketing communications strategy has an overwhelming need for synergy. Lisa Marie Mercer is a widely published writer, whose work includes topics such as travel, skiing, expat lifestyle, fitness and social media. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Why Reputation Management is Important for your Business Let’s say that it took many years to build and start up your business.
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The following six criteria can be used to help determine whether communications are truly integrated. This is not surprising because promotional activities are necessary to communicate the features and benefits of a product to the firm’s intended target markets. IMC is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost. IMC takes a 360-degree view of the customer that considers each and every contact that a customer or potential customer may have in his or her relationship with the firm. Such efforts often include cross-functional processes that create and nourish profitable relationships with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups and encouraging data-driven, purposeful dialog with them. By coordinating all communication ‘‘touch points,’’ firms using IMC convey an image of truly knowing and caring about their customers that can translate into long-term customer relationships. This increased focus on individual customers requires that the overall promotional program be integrated and focused as well.
Taking this approach allows a firm to communicate a consistent message to target customers from every possible angle, thereby maximizing the total impact on those customers. The vast majority of promotion activities do not create results in the short term, so firms must focus on long-term promotional objectives and have the patience to continue the program long enough to gauge true success. As a result, the first major goal of any promotional campaign is to attract the attention of potential customers. Therefore, the firm must spark interest in the product by demonstrating its features, uses, and benefits. Good promotion will stimulate desire by convincing potential customers of the product’s superiority and its ability to satisfy specific needs. Mass-communication elements, such as advertising and public relations, tend to be used more heavily to stimulate awareness and interest due to their efficiency in reaching large numbers of potential customers.
In essence, the firm must decide whether it will use a pull strategy, a push strategy, or some combination of the two. Industrial products, such as heavy equipment, rely more heavily on personal selling; consumer products require greater use of advertising, sales promotion, and public relations. The advantages and disadvantages of each element must be carefully balanced against the promotional budget and the firm’s IMC goals and objectives. Without a complete IMC plan there is no integration or harmony between client and customers. This involves knowing the right touch points to use to reach consumers and understanding how and where they consume different types of media. From mass media to more specialized (niche) media, which are centered on specific target audiences. From low agency accountability to greater agency accountability, particularly in advertising.
From traditional compensation to performance-based compensation (increased sales or benefits to the company). It can create competitive advantage, boost sales and profits, while saving money, time and stress. IMC wraps communications around customers and helps them move through the various stages of the buying process. This ‘Relationship Marketing’ cements a bond of loyalty with customers which can protect them from the inevitable onslaught of competition.
Finally, IMC saves money as it eliminates duplication in areas such as graphics and photography since they can be shared and used in say, advertising, exhibitions and sales literature.
And be sure to include an understanding of non-traditional mediums, such as word of mouth and how it can influence your position in the consumer’s mind. Some marketers may want only ads with greatest breadth of appeal: the executions that, when combined, provide the greatest number of attention-getting, branded, and motivational moments.
It is called the “last 3 feet” because this is usually the distance between a salesperson and his customer on the retail sales floor.
Strategies are sweeping guidelines concerning the essence of the company’s marketing efforts.
Companies realize that they cannot spend large amounts of money on unproductive marketing campaigns. Rigid organizational structures are infested with managers who protect both their budgets and their power base.
An advertising agency may not be so enthusiastic about developing a creative idea generated by, say, a PR or a direct marketing consultant. No more wild and wacky sales promotions unless they fit into the overall marketing communications strategy. For example, image advertising, designed to nurture the brand over the longer term, may conflict with shorter term advertising or sales promotions designed to boost quarterly sales. With so many definitions, books, courses and articles about integrated marketing communications (IMC) it is hard to stick with just one perspective and since it’s still developing, it is mainly defined by the organization that practices it. If you can identify what concepts and tools best relate to your professional experience, you will be able to understand what areas of IMC require additional expertise and what areas belong to a young professional with your skill sets. Keep in mind that IMC is a mixture of marketing, public relations, advertising and other fields, so you may find that understanding integrated marketing will give you a leg up in your field. By strategically identifying the target audience’s needs, wants, interests, and expectations, an IMC team can incorporate the best tools and concepts from each area in its communicate plan.
Become acquainted with successful and unsuccessful integrated marketing communications campaigns and strategies.
So, if becoming informed means taking an additional course in public relations or marketing—do it! I learned about IMC through internships and my own research, which made up for the lack of information available during my undergrad years. A self-described PR junkie, small business owner and mother of two wonderful boys, she obtained her bachelor's degree in communications and public relations from Montclair State University. This trend is reflective in our client campaigns that are being measured and optimized in SmartMPM. It is an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign, through a well-coordinated use of various channels that are intended to reinforce each other. Historical data says that an individual needs nine to twelve positive impressions before they act.
It requires coordinated effort between teams focusing on various channels to deliver customer-centric content. During the sales and setup process of SmartMPM, we discovered that our clients found it difficult to navigate the hordes of articles that exist, just to learn about tracking codes, analytics and insights. The first one focuses on embedding the right tracking codes to measure marketing effectiveness for all channels – starting with your website, social media and print. We acquired most of this knowledge by working alongside our clients in setting up and identifying issues with their campaigns.
In fact it is one of the 10, primary components of any integrated marketing communications strategy.
Client-centered business owners understand that “communications” is the essential keyword in integrated marketing.
Once they determine the requirements of their potential clients, they create the appropriate product.
Another subset of people takes public transportation, and is constantly exposed to billboard advertisement. Savvy marketers know how to leverage the strengths of one marketing channel, in order to offset the weaknesses of another. Every type of communication must sing in a single voice, which harmonizes with your brand identity. Thanks to social media, you can stress the need for consumer education in a TV, print or billboard ad, then make a call to action, advising clients to go  your website, and listing your URL. As the sponsor of an event, you will be allowed to hang your banner, and give out company literature. She lives in Uruguay, with her husband, where they perform social media management for expats businesses, and for businesses around the world.
Because AGP has such a wide range of “in-house” capabilities, we can create integrated communications packages that deliver a high rate of return on your investment. Established in 1992, AGP has decades of experience creating strategic marketing communication plans and programs for all kinds of industries and organizations. Coverage is the proportion of the audience that is reached by each communication option employed, as well as how much overlap exists among communication options.
Contribution is the inherent ability of a marketing communication to create the desired response and communication effects from consumers in the absence of exposure to any other communication option.
Commonality is the extent to which common associations are reinforced across communication options, that is, the extent to which information conveyed by different communication options share meaning. With any integrated communication program, when consumers are exposed to a particular marketing communication, some consumers will have already been exposed to other marketing communications for the brand, whereas other consumers will not have had any prior exposure. Evaluations of marketing communications on all of these criteria must be weighed against their cost to arrive at the most effective and efficient communications program.
Marketing communications includes conveying and sharing meaning between buyers and sellers, either as individuals and firms, or between individuals and firms.
This management concept is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation. IMC includes the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program in order to maximize the impact on end users at a minimal cost. Likewise, Integrated marketing communications reduces costs and increases efficiency because it can reduce or eliminate redundancies and waste in the overall promotional program. For example, if the advertising campaign stresses quality, the sales force talks about low price, the supply chain pushes intensive distribution, and the website stresses product innovation, then what is the customer to believe? For example, a mix of Super Bowl ads, social and digital media, and event marketing were utilized to launch Gatorade’s G2, a low-calorie version of the popular Gatorade sports drink.

When firms use a pull strategy, they focus their promotional efforts toward stimulating demand among final customers, who then exert pressure on the supply chain to carry the product. To ensure a constant and synergistic message to targeted customers, the firm must ultimately decide how to weigh each promotional element in the overall IMC strategy. The way new products and services are marketed have changed even though the aim of business in bringing economic and social values remain unchanged.
The goal of an organization is to create and maintain communication throughout its own employees and throughout its customers. Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, Internet Radio, and Internet TV. The organization simultaneously consolidates its image, develops a dialogue and nurtures its relationship with customers. This reduces risk in the mind of the buyer which, in turn, shortens the search process and helps to dictate the outcome of brand comparisons. Often it is the cost of time to drive somewhere, the cost of conscience of what you buy, the cost of guilt for not treating the kids, the investment a consumer is willing to make to avoid risk, etc. Consider all possible definitions of “convenience” as it relates to satisfying the consumer’s wants and needs. How many ways can a customer hear (or see) the same message through the course of the day, each message reinforcing the earlier images? Others may only want ads with the greatest depth of appeal: the ads with the greatest number of attention-getting, branded, and motivational points within each. Once the key marketing pieces have been tested, the researched elements can then be applied to other contact points: letterhead, packaging, logistics, customer service training, and more, to complete the IMC cycle. The “last 3 feet” also applies to the distance across the desk from a sales representative to his prospective business customer. Strategies must be achievable using the allocations available in the marketing and communications budgets. Companies look for programs that will have a measurable impact on business at minimal cost. The joy of rampant creativity may be stifled, but the creative challenge may be greater and ultimately more satisfying when operating within a tighter, integrated, creative brief.
If you are a public relations or marketing major looking to enter a company with an IMC department, be sure to learn and understand how public relations and marketing are different, how they overlap, and most importantly how they compliment one another. Without internships, I would not have been able to see how integrated marketing programs can be used to benefit a campaign. Strategy, planning, execution and optimization of campaigns utilizing multiple tactics has become complex. So pick your channels such that you have the best chance to create the right impressions for the target audience. So the timeline of the various events in the story will directly impact the effect of the story on the audience. Create a culture of analytics that turns away focus from soft metrics and intuition, and toward real data, with emphasis on insights instead of the data itself. The intent is to provide a good starting point for businesses transitioning to integrated marketing and help the professionals executing the campaigns from falling victim to the common pitfalls. Follow us on Twitter to get notified of posts, or subscribe to receive posts via email on the footer of this page. As such, companies that use integrated marketing communications plan interactive strategies across all of their marketing platforms.
An integrated marketing communications strategy would focus the advertisements in the places where customers are most likely to seem them. For example, a start-up with a limited marketing budget might not be able to afford a full page ad in the local paper. Instead, their integrated marketing communications plan would involve purchasing  a smaller ad that features their distinctive logo and slogan, then set up social media pages with said logo and slogan. This implies that all of your marketing tools, including advertising, event sponsorship and social media pages must coordinate with your brand identity.
Given the expense, it is best to use an integrated marketing communications strategy to inform customers of your sponsorship. There simply isn’t enough room on the integrated communications wheel to showcase everything AGP can do for you.
We develop websites, print and electronic direct mail and ads, social media and public relations, product and company literature, presentations, sales kits, videos, billboards, trade show displays, and more for clients across the Great Lakes Bay Region and around the world.
In other words, to what extent do different communication options reach the designated target market and the same or different consumers making up that market? How much does a communication affect consumer processing and build awareness, enhance image, elicit responses, and induce sales?
The consistency and cohesive-ness of the brand image is important because it determines how easily existing associations and responses can be recalled and how easily additional associations and responses can become linked to the brand in memory. Complementarity relates to the extent to which different associations and linkages are emphasized across communication options. This integration affects all firms’ business-to-business, marketing channel, customer-focused, and internally directed communications. Many firms have embraced IMC because mass-media advertising has become more expensive and less predictable than in the past. Not readily seeing that a product can deliver all these benefits, the customer is likely to become confused and go to a competitor with a more consistent message. Promotion based on creativity alone, unlinked to the rest of the marketing strategy, can waste limited and valuable marketing resources. Pulling in sales of approximately $160 million in its first year, G2 succeeded, whereas 75 percent of new products fail to earn even $7.5 million in their first year. The coordinated use of heavy advertising, public relations, and consumer sales promotion has the effect of pulling products through the supply chain, hence its name. Early in a product’s life cycle, even before its introduction, the heavy expenditures on promotional activities are often a significant drain on the firm’s resources. In the remainder of this chapter, we discuss the important issues associated with advertising, public relations, personal selling, and sales promotion.
Offline marketing channels are traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mail order, public relations, industry relations, billboard, traditional radio, and television. Convenience may include aspects of the physical or virtual location, access ease, transaction service time, and hours of availability. Success or failure of the campaign depends on business objectives being met timely and cost efficiently.
Newspaper articles, television news, magazines and blog posts by others all constitute earned media. Different brand associations may be most effectively established by capitalizing on those marketing communication options best suited to eliciting a particular consumer response or establishing a particular type of brand association. Marketers are being forced to adopt new marketing strategies as advancing technology and customer preferences are threatening to make traditional forms of promotion obsolete. Along with advertising, sales promotion activities, such as product samples or demonstrations, are vital to stimulating interest in the product. In a push strategy, promotional efforts focus on members of the supply chain, such as wholesalers and retailers, to motivate them to spend extra time and effort on selling the product.
At this stage, it is important to consider these expenditures as investments for the long term because the true impact of the promotional program may not be felt for some time. Marketing has evolved to more of connectedness, due to the new characteristics brought in by the Internet. A company develops its integrated marketing communication program using all the elements of the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion). Only changes in the marketplace, new competitive forces, or new promotional opportunities should cause companies to alter strategies.
There appear to be very few people who have real experience of all the marketing communications disciplines.
Unlike other insurance companies, they do not mention strife or calamity, because humor is essential to their brand identity. If you do something unique with your business, or if the history of your business is particularly interesting, you might earn media coverage. The enhanced communication effectiveness of personal selling makes it ideally suited to moving potential customers through internal desire and into action.
This strategy relies heavily on personal selling and trade sales promotion to push products through the supply chain toward final customers. By the time a product has moved into the maturity phase of its life cycle, the firm can reduce promotional expenditures somewhat, thereby enjoying lower costs and higher profits.
Marketing was once seen as a one way, with firms broadcasting their offerings and value proposition.
Then, you can use quotes from the media source as integrated marketing communications examples in your advertisements, and on your social media pages. Other sales promotion activities, such as product displays, coupons, and trial-size packaging, are well suited to pushing customers toward the final act of making a purchase. For now, understanding the barriers is the first step in successfully implementing integrated marketing communication. Promotional activities include advertising (by using different media), sales promotion (sales and trades promotion), and personal selling activities.
It also includes Internet marketing, sponsorship marketing, direct marketing, database marketing and public relations. Integration of all these promotional tools, along with other components of marketing mix, is a way to gain an edge over a competitor.

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