Written by Krishan Kant and Posted in Articlesbase: Jan 13, 2011
Integrated Marketing Communications is a term used to describe a holistic approach to marketing communication. It aims to ensure consistency of message and the complementary use of media. The concept includes online and offline marketing channels. Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, and affiliate, and email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV. Offline marketing channels are traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mail order, public relations, industry relations, billboard, radio, and television. A company develops its integrated marketing communication program using all the elements of the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion).
Integrated marketing communication is integration of all marketing tools, approaches, and resources within a company which maximizes impact on consumer mind and which results into maximum profit at minimum cost. Generally marketing starts from “Marketing Mix”. Promotion is one element of Marketing Mix. Promotional activities include Advertising (by using different medium), sales promotion (sales and trades promotion), and personal selling activities. It also includes internet marketing, sponsorship marketing, direct marketing, database marketing and public relations. And integration of all these promotional tools along with other components of marketing mix to gain edge over competitor is called Integrated Marketing Communication. Although closely linked to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), it should not be confused with it. This is enhanced when integration goes beyond just the basic communications tools. There are other levels of integration such as Horizontal, Vertical, Internal, External and Data integration. Here is how they help to strengthen Integrated Communications.
Horizontal Integration occurs across the marketing mix and across business functions – for example, production, finance, distribution and communications should work together and be conscious that their decisions and actions send messages to customers.
Vertical Integration means marketing and communications objectives must support the higher level corporate objectives and corporate missions. Check out the Hall Of Fame later for more about missions.
Internal Integration requires internal marketing – keeping all staff informed and motivated about any new developments from new advertisements, to new corporate identities, new service standards, new strategic partners and so on.
External Integration, on the other hand, requires external partners such as advertising and PR agencies to work closely together to deliver a single seamless solution – a cohesive message – an integrated message.
“It is the coordination and integration of all marketing communications tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumer and other end users at a minimal cost.”
Integrated marketing communication represents a holistic view of marketing. Marketing communications is a subset of the overall subject area known as marketing. Marketing has a marketing mix that is made of price, place, promotion, product (known as the four P’s), that includes people, processes and physical evidence, when marketing services (known as the seven P’s).
Is part of the marketing mix, includes all the means by which a company communicates directly with present & potential customers. The process of presenting an integrated set of stimuli to a target with the intent of evoking a desired set of responses within the target market & setting a channel to receive, interpret & act upon messages & identifying new communication opportunities.
Importance of Marketing Communications not only informs, but is also used to differentiate the seller’s products/services may also be effective in affecting the price elasticity of demand (non price competition) Prerequisite of Marketing Communication the marketing communications strategy of a firm must be coordinated and linked with concepts such as target segments, positioning, differentiation, and image.
Marketing communication mix is also called as promotional mix. Integrated means combine of two or more elements, which may includes advertising, personal selling, public relation & sales promotion. These 4 elements are very much the traditional components of the promotional mix. In addition to these, other techniques are now increasingly added to the overall promotional mix.
Promotion is one of the Ps in the marketing mix. Promotions has its own mix of communications tools. All of these communications tools work better if they work together in harmony rather than in isolation. Their sum is greater than their parts – providing they speak consistently with one voice all the time, every time.
According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communications is “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” This topic will cover integrated marketing, including the best practices and tools of tradition and Web 2.0 to design and implement great and highly effective communication and branding strategies.
A concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact.
Defining Integrated marketing:
Integrated Marketing (IM) is a management strategy and meta-discipline focused on the organization-wide optimization of unique value for stakeholders. Integrated marketing is the planning an execution of all your company’s marketing activities, online and offline, in a way that is consistent across all of your customer contacts and creates more value than when those activities are performed separately.
Communication is the process of sharing information between people through a continuous activity of speaking, listening & understanding. Communication is the process of delivering a message from one person or group to another.
The History of Marketing in the 20th century and earlier is a complex and still not fully explored subject, mixed up as it is with a history of trade and economics. The concept of integrated marketing is focused on the creation of value, arguing that the organization needs to be united in the creation of distinctive or differentiated value in order to achieve productive synergy.
Similarly, Peter Drucker argued that, “Every organization, whether business or not, has a theory of the business. Indeed, a valid theory that is clear, consistent and focused is extraordinarily powerful.”
According to Drucker, the Theory of the Business consists of assumptions about the environment of the organization, the specific mission of the organization and assumptions about the core competencies needed to accomplish the organization’s mission.
The concept of integration also arises as a result of recognition of disintegration, especially in the field of communication. Integrated marketing communications (IMC) developed during the 1990s as an Endeavour to achieve consistency across marketing communications disciplines and media that had become fragmented over time through the cultivation of individual disciplines, competition and the development of independent communication objectives. By 2000, it was recognized that there was a logical and practical need in what was called stage for IMC for this to be extrapolated across all organizational contact with customers and therefore across the entire organizational business processes.
The Tools for Integrated Marketing Communication
Each communication tools has its own unique characteristics & costs. The tools that marketers commonly use to achieve their communication objectives are:
Advertising can be used to build up a long term image for a product or trigger quick sales. Advertising can efficiently reach geographically dispersed buyers. Certain forms of advertising (TV) can require a large budget, whereas other forms (newspaper) do not. Just the presence of advertising might have an effect on sales; consumers might believe that a heavily advertised brand must offer good value. Because of the many forms & uses of advertising it is difficult to make generalization. Yet the following qualities can be noted:
a. Pervasiveness: Advertising permits the seller to repeat a message many times. It allows the buyer to receive & compare the messages of various competitors. Large scale advertising says something positive about the seller’s size, power & success.
b. Amplified Expressiveness: Advertising provides opportunities for dramatizing the company & its product through the artful use of print, sound & color.
c. Impersonality: The audience does not feel obligated to pay attention or respond to advertising. Advertising is a monologue in front of, not a dialogue with, the audience.
2. Personal Selling:
Personal selling is the most effective tool at later stage of the buying process, particularly in building up buyer preference, conviction & action. Personal selling has three distinctive qualities:
- Personal Interaction: Personal selling involves an immediate & interactive relationship between two or more persons. Each party is able to observe the others reactions.
- Cultivation: Personal selling permits all kinds of relationship to spring up, ranging from a matter-of-fact selling relationship to a deep personal friendship.
- Response: Personal selling makes the buyers feel under some obligation for having listened to the sales talk.
3. Sales Promotion:
Companies use sales promotion tools – coupons, contests, premiums, & the like – to draw a stronger & quicker buyer response. Sales promotion can be used for short run effects such as to highlight product offers & boost sagging sales. Sales promotion tools offer three distinctive benefits:
a. Communication: They gain attention & may lead the consumer to the product.
b. Incentive: They incorporate some concession, inducement or contribution that gives value to the consumer.
c. Invitation: They include a distinct invitation to engage in the transaction now.
4. Public Relations:
Marketers tend to underuse public relations, yet a well-thought-out program co-ordinate with the other communication mix elements can be extremely effective. The appeal for public relations & publicity is based on three distinctive qualities:
a. High Credibility: News stories & features are more authentic & credible to readers than ads.
b. Ability to catch buyers off guard: Public relations can reach prospects that prefer to avoid salespeople & advertisements.
c. Dramatization: Public relations have potential for dramatizing a company or product.
5. Direct Marketing:
The many forms of direct marketing – direct mail, telemarketing, internet marketing – share three distinctive characteristics. Direct marketing is:
a. Customized: The message can prepare to appeal to the addressed individual.
b. Up-to-date: A message can be prepared very quickly.
c. Interactive: The message can be changed depending on the person’s response.
Nature of Each Promotion Tool:
Steps Involved in Developing Effective Communication
In order to develop an effective integrated communication & promotion programme, the marketing communicator must do the following 6 steps as shown in figure:
Step 1- Identify the Target Audience:
The process must start with a clear target audience in mind: potential buyers of the company’s product, current users, deciders or influencers, individuals, groups, particular publics, or the general public. The target audience is a critical influence on the communicators decision o what to say, when to say, where to say & whom to say it.
The target audience can potentially be profiled in terms of any of the market segments. It is often useful to define target audience in terms of usage & loyalty. Is the target new to the category or a current user? Is the target loyal to the brand, loyal to a competitor, or someone who switches between brands? If the target is a brand user, is he or she a heavy or light user? Communication strategy will differ depending on the answer. Image analysis can be conducted to profile the target audience in terms of brand knowledge to provide further insight.
Images are “sticky”: they persist long after the organization has changed. Image persistence is explained by the fact that once people have a certain image, they perceive what consistent with that image. It will take highly disconfirming information to raise doubts & open their minds, especially when people do not have continuous or new first hand experiences with the changed object.
Step 2- Determine the Communication Objective:
As showed with the example of a new brand to remove the problem of cracked heels, marketers can set communication objectives. Rossiter & Percy identify four possible objectives, as follows:
a. Category need: Establishing a product or service category as necessary to remove or satisfy a perceived discrepancy between a current motivational state & desired emotional state. A new-to-the-world product such as electric cars would always begin with a communications objective of establishing category need.
b. Brand Awareness: Ability to identify (recognize or recall) the brand within the category, in sufficient detail to make a purchase. Recognition is easier to achieve than recall-consumers are more likely to recognize the distinctive red-and-white packages of Colgate Dental Cream than recall the brand if asked to think of a brand of toothpaste. Brand recall is important outside the store, brand reorganization is important inside the store. Brand awareness provides a foundation for brand equity.
c. Brand Attitude: Evaluation of the brand with respect to its perceived ability to meet a currently relevant need. Relevant brand needs may be negatively oriented (problem removal, problem avoidance, incomplete satisfaction, normal depletion) or positively oriented (sensory gratification, intellectual stimulation, or social approval). Household cleaning product often use problem solution: food products, on the other hand, often use sensory-oriented ads emphasizing appetite appeal.
d. Brand Purchase Intention: Self instruction to purchase the brand or to take purchase related action. Promotional offers in the form of coupons or two-for-one deals encourage consumers to make a mental commitment to buy a product. But many consumers do not have an expressed category need & may not be in the market when exposed to an ad, making intentions less likely to be formed.
Step 3- Designing a Message:
An effective message should get attention, hold interest, arouse desire, & obtain action (AIDA model). In practice, few messages take the consumer all the way from awareness to purchase, but the AIDA framework suggests the desirable qualities of a good message. In putting the message together, the marketing communicator must decide what to say & how to say it.
According to ‘AIDA’ model, A marketer should begin by winning attention or gaining awareness, creating interest, inspiring desire and precipitating the action for purchase, in the prospects in order to enable its product to be adopted by the target public.
(a) Message Content: The communicator has to figure out an appeal or a theme that will produce the desired response. There are three types of appeals:
i. Rational Appeals: It relate to the audiences’ self interest. Be sure that the product will produce the desired benefits, for an example message showing a product quality, economy, value or performance.
ii. Emotional Appeals: It attempt to stir up either negative or positive emotions that can motivate purchase. Communicators may use positive emotional appeals such as love, pride, joy & humor. Humorous messages claim that they attract more attention and create more linking and belief in the sponsor.
iii. Moral Appeals: It is directed to the audience’s sense of what is right & proper. They are often used to urge people to support social causes such as cleaner environment, better race, relations, and equal rights for women, and aid to the disadvantaged.
(b) Message structure:
The effectiveness depending upon the structure as well as the content of the message. The first is whether to draw a conclusion oriented to the audience. Research showed that drawing a conclusion was usually more effective. The second message structure issue is whether to present a one sided argument r two sided argument. The third message structure is issue is whether to present the strongest argument first or last. Presenting them first may get strong attention.
(c) Message format:
The communicator must develop a strong message format. In the print ad, the communicator has to decide on headline, copy, illustrations & color. If the message to be carried over the radio, the communicator has to choose words, voice qualities & vocalizations. The sound often announcer promoting banking services should be different from one promoting quality furniture. If the message is carried on the product or its package the communicator has to watch texture, scent, color, size & shape.
Step 4- Choose the Media through which to Send the Message:
There are two broad types of communication channels – Personal and Non personal.
a. Personal Communication Channels: In personal Communication channels, two or more people communicate directly with each other. They might communicate face-to-face, over the telephone, through the mail or even through an internet chat. Personal Communication channels are effective because they are allowed for personal addressing the feedback. Personal influence carries great weight for expensive, risky or highly visible products. For example, buyers of automobiles often go beyond mass media sources to seek the opinions of knowledgeable people.
b. Non Personal Communication Channels: Non personal communication channels include media at most yearend events. Media consists of:
1. Print media –newspapers, magazines, direct mail etc.
2. Broadcast media-radio, television etc.
3. Electronic media-audiotapes, videotapes, CD-ROM, web page etc.
4. Display media-billboards, signs, posters, banners, hoardings etc.
Most of the non personal messages come through paid media.
Atmospheres are package environments that create or reinforce the buyer’s leanings towards buying a product. E.g.: A luxury hotel will use elegant chandeliers, and other tangible signs of luxury to communicate audience.
Step 5- Selecting the message source:
In personal or non personal communication, the messages impact on the target audience is also affected by how the audience views the communicator.
Messages if delivered by highly creditable sources are more persuasive. Thus, marketers hire celebrity endorsers-well known athletes, actors, and even cartoon characters- to deliver their messages. Many food companies hire doctors, dentists and other health care providers to motivate and recommend their products to the patients. For E.g. Boost is being endorsed by sport personalities like Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag, Lux by Priyanka chopra, Vivel by kareena kapoor etc.
Internationally, Avon concentrates its promotional fund on personal selling, whereas Revlon spends heavily on advertising. Electrolux spends heavily on door-to-door sales forces, whereas Hoover relies more on advertising.
Step 6- Collecting feedback:
After sending the message, the communicator must find its effect on the target audience with the help of Dagmar (Defining advertising goals for measuring advertising results) which was given by Russell Colley in the year 1961. This involves asking the target audience members whether they remember the message, how many times they saw it, what points they recall, how they felt about the message, and the past and the present attitudes towards the product and the company. The communicator would also like to measure the behavior resulting from the message how many people bought a product, talk to others about it or visited the store.
Feedback on marketing communications may suggest changes in the promotion programme or in the product offer itself. For E.g. Indian Airlines uses television and newspaper advertising to inform area consumers about the airline, its routes and fares.
Factors In Setting The Marketing Communication Mix:
Companies must consider several factors in developing their communication mix. They are as follows:
1. Type of Product Market: Communications mix allocations vary between consumers & markets. Consumer marketers tend to spend comparatively more on sales promotion & advertising; business marketers tend to spend comparatively more on personal selling. In general, personal selling is used more with complex, expensive & risky goods in markets with fewer & larger sellers (hence, business markets). Although advertising is used less than sales calls in business markets, it still plays a significant role. Advertising can perform the following functions in business market:
i. Advertising can prove an introduction to the company & its products.
ii. If the product has new features, advertising can explain them.
iii. Reminder advertising is more economical than sales calls.
iv. Advertisements offering brochures & carrying the company’s phone number are an effective way to generate leads for sales representatives.
v. Sales representatives can use tear sheets of the company’s ads to legitimize their company & products.
vi. Advertising can remind customers of how to use the product & reassure them about their purchase.
1. Push or Pull Strategy:
The promotional mix is heavily influenced by whether the company chooses the push or pulls strategy to create sales. Push strategy involves the manufacturer using sales force & trade promotion to induce intermediaries to carry, promote & sell the product to end users. Push strategy is especially appropriate where there is no brand loyalty in the category, brand choices made in the stores, the product is an impulse item, & the product benefits are well understood.
A pull strategy involves the manufacturer using advertising in consumer promotion in order to induce consumers who asks the intermediaries to order it. A pull strategy is appropriate when there is high brand loyalty & high involvement in the category, people pursue differences between brands & people choose the brand before they go to the shop. Companies in the same industry may differ in their emphasis on push or pull.
For instance: Procter & Gamble relies more on pull strategy whereas the Lever Brothers rely more on push strategy. Top marketing companies such as coca-cola, Intel and Nike skillfully employ both push and pull strategy.
PUSH vs. PULL
a) PUSH: Producer marketing activities to Retailers and Wholesalers who resell to Consumers. Personal selling, trade promotion by producer and personal selling, advertising and sales promotion by wholesaler/retailer.
b) PULL: Producer marketing activities directed at consumer to create demand from retailers and wholesalers that then creates demand from producer. Consumer advertising, sales promotion.
2. Buyer Readiness Stage:
Communication tools vary in cost effectiveness at different stages of buyer readiness. Advertising & publicity play the most important roles in the awareness building stage. Customer comprehension is primarily affected by advertising & personal selling. Customer conviction is influenced mostly by personal selling. Closing the sale is influenced mostly by personal selling & sales promotion. Reordering is also affected mostly by personal selling & sales promotion, & somewhat by reminder advertising.
3. Product Life Cycle Stage:
The promotional tools also vary in cost effectiveness at different stages of the product life cycle.
i. In introduction stage, advertising and publicity have the highest cost effectiveness followed by personal selling in order to gain distribution coverage and sales promotion to induce trial.
ii. At the growth stage all the tools can be toned down because demand has its own momentum through word of mouth.
iii. In the maturity stage, sales promotion, advertising & personal selling all grow more important in that order.
iv. In the decline stage, sales promotion continues strong, advertising & publicity are reduced & sales people give the product only minimal attention.
4. The Company’s Market Rank:
After implementing the promotional plan, the communicator must measure its impact on the target audience. Members of the target audience are asked whether they recognize or recall the message, how many times they saw it, what points they recall, how they felt about the message, & the previous & current attitudes towards the product & company. The communicator should also collect behavioral measures of audience response, such as how many people bought the product, liked it & talk to other about it.
Characteristics Integrated Marketing Communication
1. Customers feel that all their brand experiences come from one identity.
2. Customers trust the brand’s promises (and pass them on through word of mouth).
3. The brand treats different kinds of customers in ways appropriate to them.
4. Whenever appropriate, the brand recognizes individual customers wherever they interact or do business.
5. Customers are happy with the brand experience.
6. There is a service-oriented ideal that encourages aligned commitment across the organization.
7. Everyone nurtures what the brand means to committed customers
8. Future vision is consistent with core truths of the brand
9. The values we experience in our company culture support the values we express in the Brand .
10. The brand organization is excellent at realizing high value propositions from idea to Implementation.
11. Quality is understood as that which is good for the customer, employee(s) and company.
12. (All business) Objectives are coherent with our [brand/company's] competence.
13. There are no silos (across the organization).
14. Practices ensure shared learning across the organization.
15. The organization works in effective partnership with the members of its value stream.
16. The culture encourages people to release their creative potential.
17. Business processes are actively aligned to the brand value position.
18. Quality customer information is available in a timely way at every point of need.
19. Leaders promote what they practice.
20. The Marketing function is organized primarily around customer groups with their different needs and opportunities, not marketing disciplines.
21. Senior marketing people are skilled in multiple communication disciplines.
22. Customer management focuses on the value of customers over their lifetime.
23. All communication to all constituencies at all touch points uses the same planning and evaluation framework.
24. The company and agencies all work together in partnership.
25. Communication is creatively aligned through “big media neutral ideas”
26. Evaluation is managed as a learning discipline across the participants.
27. The key evaluation processes are primarily designed to increase knowledge about what most efficiently creates value for customers.
28. Local and international marketing management collaborate effectively.
4P’s vs. 4C’s
i. Not PRODUCT, but CONSUMER: Understand what the consumer wants and needs. Times have changed and you can no longer sell whatever you can make. The product characteristics must now match what someone specifically wants to buy. And part of what the consumer is buying is the personal “buying experience.”
ii. Not PRICE, but COST: Understand the consumer’s cost to satisfy the want or need. The product price may be only one part of the consumer’s cost structure. Often it’s the cost of time to drive somewhere, the cost of conscience of what you eat, and the cost of guilt for not treating the kids.
iii. Not PLACE, but CONVENIENCE: As above, turn the standard logic around. Think convenience of the buying experience and then relate that to a delivery mechanism. Consider all possible definitions of “convenience” as it relates to satisfying the consumer’s wants and needs. Convenience may include aspects of the physical or virtual location, transaction service time and hours of availability.
iv. Not PROMOTION, but COMMUNICATION: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Many mediums working together to present a unified message with a feedback mechanism to make the communication two-way. 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.
Needs For Integrated Marketing Communications
Integrated marketing communication is the company carefully integrates and coordinates its many communication channels to deliver a clear, consistent, and compelling message about the organization and its brands. IMC builds a strong brand identity in the marketplace by tying together and reinforcing all your images and messages.
a. Conflicting messages from different sources or promotional approaches can confuse company or brand images.
b. The problem is particularly prevalent when functional specialists handle individual forms of marketing communications.
c. The Web alone cannot be used to build brands; brand awareness potential is limited.
d. Best bet is to wed traditional branding efforts with the interactivity and service capabilities of online communications.
Benefits of Integrated Marketing Communication
Research by the Centre for Integrated Marketing determined that the typical scale of benefit for marketers adopting Integrated Marketing was a 10 – 25% enhancement in business performance. This gain is achieved from a number of inter-related factors:
1. Improvements in customer attitudes and behaviors arising from improved and more consistent experiences of brand value.
2. Synergy and multiplier effects on profitability from improvements in customer attitudes and behaviors.
3. More efficient (and effective) media choices and mixes as well as better deployment of communication disciplines.
4. More flowing, efficient (and effective) business processes, creating higher added value.
5. Substantially enhanced evaluation and improved applied learning across the brand organization.
6. Improvements in staff morale, work rate, cohesion, stress and creativity.
7. Reduced employee replacement costs, employee cost/benefit synergies and an enhanced employee cost/customer value ratio.
8. Reduction in internal fragmentation and cost holes.
9. More cost effective use of agencies and business partners with better team results.
10. Cost effective synergies.
Although Integrated Marketing Communications requires a lot of effort it delivers many benefits. It can create competitive advantage, boost sales and profits, while saving money, time and stress.
IMC also increases profits through increased effectiveness. At its most basic level, a unified message has more impact than a disjointed myriad of messages. In a busy world, a consistent, consolidated and crystal clear message has a better chance of cutting through the ‘noise’ of over five hundred commercial messages which bombard customers each and every day.
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. Agency fees are reduced by using a single agency for all communications and even if there are several agencies, time is saved when meetings bring all the agencies together – for briefings, creative sessions, tactical or strategic planning. This reduces workload and subsequent stress levels – one of the many benefits of IMC.
Participants in the Integrated Marketing Communication Process
The different categories of participants are:
1. Advertiser or Client: They have the product, service or causes to be marketed and they provide the funds that pay for the advertising and promotions.
2. Advertising Agency: This is an outside firm that specializes in the creation, production, and/or placement of the communication message and that may provide other services to facilitate the marketing and promotions process. Many large advertisers retain the services of a number of agencies when they market a number of products.
3. Media Organizations: The primary function of media organizations is to provide information or entertainment to their subscribers, viewers or readers but from the point of view of the promotion planner, the purpose of the media is to provide an environment for the firm’s marketing communication programs.
4. Specialist Marketing Communication Specialist organizations are of different categories:
i. Direct-response agencies.
ii. Sales Promotion agencies.
iii. Interactive Agencies.
iv. Public Relation firms.
Importance of Integrated Marketing Communication
In today’s world when there is a trend towards old wine in a new bottle thinking many a people don’t take integrated marketing seriously. They simply consider it to bet yet another fad, here today gone tomorrow.
However, this is not the case. In fact, integrated marketing is an amalgamation of all the marketing roles, resources and responsibilities catering to all kinds of customers. These customers could be present or future, internal or external. The function of integrated marketing is to attract the customers through marketing, promotional and customer service activities. It is due to the far-reaching approach of integrated marketing that many companies consider it to be the smart option.
There are various models of marketing followed by different companies. Some companies have separate departments for advertising, public relations, marketing and sales, this is a very old model, where energies of different departments work at separate levels and may not be using all the resources to their optimum.
Integrated marketing helps the company to project a unified message and image of the company, and help to keep a strong brand image. Different divisions handling there own marketing activities will lead to sales people giving out a different a marketing message and the corporate department giving out another message. If this kind of situation is there in your company then you need to take corrective steps now – integrate the marketing activities of your company as soon as possible.
Reasons for the Growing Importance of Integrated Marketing Communication
Several shifts in the advertising and media industry have caused IMC to develop into a primary strategy for marketers:
1. From media advertising to multiple forms of communication.
2. From mass media to more specialized (niche) media, which are centered around specific target audiences.
3. From a manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer-dominated, consumer-controlled market.
4. From general-focus advertising and marketing to data-based marketing.
5. From low agency accountability to greater agency accountability, particularly in advertising.
6. From traditional compensation to performance-based compensation.
7. From limited Internet access to 24/7 Internet availability and access to goods and services.
8. Shift from media advertising to other forms of marketing communication
9. Movement away from advertising focused- approaches that emphasize mass media.
10. Shift in power from manufacturers to retailers.
11. Rapid growth of database marketing and Internet.
12. Demands for greater ad agency accountability.
13. Changes in agency compensation.
Relationship to Integrated Marketing Communications
As a marketing strategy, Integrated Marketing is closely related to and inter-dependent with Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). Indeed, many observers use the term integrated marketing when they probably mean integrated marketing communications. Whereas IMC aims to ensure consistency of message and the complementary use of media, integrated marketing is concerned with the alignment and focus of the whole organization.
Schultz and Kitchen (2000) identified four stages of IMC concluding with an integrated value-based model. According to this interpretation, as the organization becomes more committed to achieving consistency and differentiation across all customer contact points the business management challenge moves from marketing and marketing communication to the whole organization, requiring a cultural and systemic infrastructure for integration. This in turn calls on new practices and higher-order levels of organization management. For example, at this point IMC and CRM are effectively merged.
In some organizations such as FMCG/packaged goods brands (e.g. chocolate, baked beans), IMC needs little more than marketing communications integration. In others, such as organizations with a high level of service content (e.g. banks, automobile firms and their dealerships, and hotel chains), the challenge becomes much more difficult. It is in this latter case that integrated marketing is most important, providing the contextual platform for stage 4 IMC, implementation of which is also one of its goals.
Selecting The Most Effective Communication Elements
The goal of selecting the elements of proposed integrated marketing communications is to create a campaign that is effective and consistent across media platforms. Some marketers may want only ads with the greatest breadth of appeal: the executions that, when combined, provide the greatest number of attention-getting, branded, and motivational moments. 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.
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. Hence, the bulk of the research budget is also spent on these elements of the campaign. 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.
Model for Integrated Marketing Communication
Integrated Marketing Communication is more than the coordination of a company’s outgoing message between different media and the consistency of the message throughout. It is an aggressive marketing plan that captures and uses an extensive amount of customer information in setting and tracking marketing strategy. Steps in an Integrated Marketing system are:
- Customer Database: An essential element to implementing Integrated Marketing that helps to segment and analyze customer buying habits.
- Strategies: Insight from analysis of customer data is used to shape marketing, sales, and communications strategies.
- Tactics: Once the basic strategy is determined the appropriate marketing tactics can be specified which best targets the specific markets.
- Evaluate Results: Customer responses and new information about buying habits are collected and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the strategy and tactics.
The best marketing strategy in the world will ultimately fail if you are unable to get the right message to your potential customers at the right place and the right time. An integrated marketing communications plan matches your available budget of time and money to the most effective means for distributing your message. No matter how great your product or service, if your potential customers don’t know it exists, there will never be a sale.
Implementation of IMC
According to Jenkinson, Sain and Bishop, successful integrated marketing requires management of three business drivers:
1. Identity, which is seen as the core strategic element of differentiated value.
2. Development and alignment of organizational culture and mobilization all employees behind authentic identity and unique value, with lean, value-focused business processes and good resources. Shared learning is an important element of success.
3. Integrated contact management (integrated communications, creating valuable experiences for customers).
Barriers to Integrated Marketing Communication
Despite its many benefits, Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC, has many barriers. 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. These include: Functional Silos; Stifled Creativity; Time Scale Conflicts and a lack of Management know-how.
Take functional silos. Rigid organizational structures are infested with managers who protect both their budgets and their power base. But this kind of planning is not common. A survey in 1995 revealed that most managers lack expertise in IMC. But its not just managers, but also agencies. There is a proliferation of single discipline agencies. There appear to be very few people who have real experience of all the marketing communications disciplines. This lack of know how is then compounded by a lack of commitment.
Ideas Involved In IMC Approach
Despite the increasing use of the term IMC approach by both practitioners and academics in recent years, there is little agreement on what the term actually means. According to one recent review, at least two related ideas are involved:
The different elements of the communications mix have to be used in a way that the strengths of one are used to offset the weakness of another.
I. One-voice Marketing Communications: As consumers increasingly being to be addressed by the same marketer in a variety of different ways (i.e. through 5 tools of promotion) – there is a need to ensure a consistency of positioning, message, and tone across these different media. These different communications must reach consumers with one voice.
II. Integrated Communications: A marketer’s consumer communications need to not only raise brand awareness, or create or change brand preference and image, or to get sales trial or repurchase, but to do all of the above at the same time. Increasing image without getting a sales result is not good enough and getting short-term sales (e.g. via sales promotion) at the expense of a brand’s long-term image is also courting disaster. Thus, all marketing communications should attempt to simultaneously achieve targeted communication goals (e.g. raising attitudes or building image) and lead to some behavioral action (e.g. trial or repurchase).
Objective of the IMC approach
The objective of the IMC approach is to co-ordinate the company’s marketing and promotional activities to project a consistent and unified image to the marketplace. IMC is a way of looking at the whole marketing Process From the viewpoint of the receiver.
Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept. It ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together. At its most basic level, Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC, as we’ll call it, means integrating all the promotional tools, so that they work together in harmony.
Commitment Integrated Marketing Communication
Finally, in the most successful organizations, individuals bring their whole commitment. This comes from the sense of coherence and meaningfulness that binds people together in common purpose and in creative, learning engagement. At the extreme, it amounts to the difference between the alignment and productivity of the chain gang versus the alignment and productivity of an Olympic rowing team. In contrast to the all too common toxic organization, our research companies showed that coherence leads to the energetic qualities of a fit and healthy organism.
Evolution Of Integrated Marketing Communication
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is a strategic-business process used to plan, develop, execute, and evaluate coordinated and measurable persuasive brand communication programs over time with consumers, customers, prospects, and other targeted, relevant external and internal audiences.
IMC grew out of the need for marketing organizations to move beyond functionally driven, internally focused approaches to marketing and communication. It attempts to shift focus from an “inside-out,” internal orientation to one that is “outside- in”. It employs a variety of traditional and nontraditional communication tools and methods to deliver messages to customers, prospects, and other important audiences, coordinating all activities to achieve consistency and synergy. However, IMC, as it has been practiced by leading organizations, does not end with coordinated message delivery. The ultimate goals of IMC are to institute customer-oriented sensibilities and business processes in all aspects of the organization and its operations to add value for customers, provide a framework for resource allocation, and achieve sustainable competitive advantages.
Integrated Marketing Campaigns
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is a concept of marketing that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan of a number of communication disciplines (for example, general advertising, direct response, sales promotion, and public relations) and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact.
Current scenario: isolated marketing communication
Customers are bombarded with multiple advertisements through multiple mediums with multiple propositions. Since most companies resort to using more than one channel of communication, the customer is left confused due to lack of consistency in marketing messages.
Ideal scenario: integrated marketing communication
By practicing an integrated marketing approach, companies like yours can get across single proposition across multiple media and benefit from customers’ consistent brand experience. An integrated marketing approach can rejuvenate your organization’s marketing communication initiatives, which will experience a positive impact.
Mission of the Integrated Marketing Communication
From time to time, every community needs to take a look at the ideas that drive its enterprise. In our research so far, we have found that most senior marketers are looking for new ideas, particularly in the field of integration.
That is therefore the mission of the Centre for Integrated Marketing. Our brief is to produce rigorously researched, practical tools and insights for senior practitioner on both the agency and client side, and in particular the 500 leading UK brands and their agencies. It is fitting, therefore, that the Centre is part of Luton University, whose motto is Education that works. The effectiveness of the university’s own alignment and integration with this ideal is demonstrated by the fact that it is the most successful of all British universities in transforming students into people with jobs.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): It Is Not Just Marketing Services Anymore.
There was a time when companies had secreted away in their annexes marketing services organizations that essentially acted as a go-between with the creative brain trusts at “The Advertising Agency.” The agency was a ones top shop for just about everything—especially advertising and media buying. Of course, time changes everything and so does the Internet.
The majority of consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have traditionally focused solely on their customers. Now, traditional companies are also collaborating with online giants, such as Google and Yahoo!, as well as
Other media and direct marketing agencies to increase their market share.
i. Relevant case material covering a wide range of sectors & marketing scenario.
ii. Applied, real world example, including viewpoints from leading practitioners and academies.
iii. Robust pedagogy in each chapter, including viewpoints, objectives, summaries, self review and discussion question, & end of book glossaries.
iv. Unprecedented all coverage of all elements of the marketing communications mix with covering internet marketing, international marketing communications, direct and database marketing, image and brand management and measuring integrated marketing communications.
Golden Rules for integrated marketing communication
Despite the many benefits of Integrated Marketing Communications (or IMC); there are also many barriers. Here’s how you can ensure you become integrated and stay integrated – 10 Golden Rules of Integration.
(1) Get Senior Management Support for the initiative by ensuring they understand the benefits of IMC.
(2) Integrate At Different Levels of management. Put ‘integration’ on the agenda for various types of management meetings – whether annual reviews or creative sessions. Horizontally – ensure that all managers, not just marketing managers understand the importance of a consistent message – whether on delivery trucks or product quality. Also ensure that Advertising, PR, Sales Promotions staff are integrating their messages. To do this you must have carefully planned internal communications, that is, good internal marketing.
(3) Ensure the Design Manual or even a Brand Book is used to maintain common visual standards for the use of logos, typefaces, colors and so on.
(4) Focus on a clear marketing communications strategy. Have crystal clear communications objectives; clear positioning statements. Link core values into every communication. Ensure all communications add value to (instead of dilute) the brand or organization. Exploit areas of sustainable competitive advantage.
(5) Start with a Zero Budget. Start from scratch. Build a new communications plan. Specify what you need to do in order to achieve your objectives. In reality, the budget you get is often less than you ideally need, so you may have to priorities communications activities accordingly.
(6) Think Customers First. Wrap communications around the customer’s buying process. Identify the stages they go through before, during and after a purchase. Select communication tools which are right for each stage. Develop a sequence of communications activities which help the customer to move easily through each stage.
(7) Build Relationships and Brand Values. All communications should help to develop stronger and stronger relationships with customers. Ask how each communication tool helps to do this. Remember: customer retention is as important as customer acquisition.
(8) Develop a Good Marketing Information System which defines who needs what information when. A customer database for example, can help the telesales, direct marketing and sales force. IMC can help to define, collect and share vital information.
(9) Share Artwork and Other Media. Consider how, say, advertising imagery can be used in mail shots, exhibition stands, Christmas cards, news releases and web sites.
Integrated Marketing Communication In Global Arena
The concept of integrated marketing communications to international communications and develops a modified concept, globally integrated marketing communications. To define globally integrated marketing communications, three definitions of integrated marketing communications are considered and modifications are offered. The major extension provided by the new definition is a focus on the horizontal (across countries) dimension of marketing communications.
This merges the integrated marketing communications approach with the international marketing strategy and communications perspectives. Based on the derived definition and analysis of the standardized adaption issue in global communications, a contingency approach to globally integrated marketing communications is provided which incorporates both horizontal (across countries) and vertical (across promotion disciplines) factors that impact on global communications strategy decisions. Applications are developed and implications are drawn for managerially implementing globally integrated marketing communications and conducting further research and theory development.
Integrated Marketing is here to stay and to develop. The name might change, but the concept will not. It is a way of thinking and operating that enhances value for customers, employees and the organization and leads to the resolution of many of the current frustrations within the marketing industry. We aim to make a significant contribution and value the opportunity to work with you and others committed to developing best practice in this. Thank you for attending and I hope that you have been inspired to act on at least one idea, for everything comes from our ideas and what we do with them.
Communication is an act of involving transmission of information, ideas, and emotions by the use of verbal and non-verbal means of communication. A concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact.
Integrated Marketing is a comprehensive approach to internal and external organizational communication. In IMC general advertising, sales promotion, direct response provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact.
IMC is a concerned with the strategic coordination of all the messages and media used by an organization to influence the prospectus. In the IMC approach the different communication are in the form of arcs making up a 360- degree circle, at the center of which lies the customer.
IMC is concerned with the 4c’s and 4p’s i.e,.
1. Not PROUCT But CONSUMER
2. Not PRICE But COST
3. Not PLACE But CONVENIENCE
4. Not PROMOTION But COMMUNICATION
The heart of IMC lies in the FIVE POWER CONCEPTS that makes the communication efficient and effective i.e.,
1. Consumer focus
2. Customer empowerment
3. Immersive marketing
4. Brand resonance
5. Emotional bonding
Lastly, “Integrated Marketing Communication” are like a band. The different communication instruments. Advertising, public relations, data base, marketing, media specialist, sponsorship, interactive, even marketing and the rest are just like the different musical instruments: piano, trumped, trombone, violin, clarinet, percussion and the rest. This analogy is neither as silly nor as simple as it sounds.
The corporate focus of integrated marketing must be on relationship marketing must be on relationships and on more audiences than just customers. Only in this way can an organization have a unified brand image and eliminate the fragmentation that can destroy its brand corporate reputation.
For companies that currently embrace IMC, the new economy mega trends translate into opportunities. Placing the customer and other key stakeholders at the center of your business strategy has never been more important. The highly competitive market place has made relationship building paramount in the quest for success. For companies who do not see IMC as vital, it is time to reconsider.