Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the process of integrating, coordinating and combining the various marketing and promotional elements to deliver the same and consistent marketing message across customers and channels. IMC makes sure that irrespective of the delivery channel, the message and positioning does not change. It ensures that all this is part of the branding throughout. Integrated Marketing Communications can combine different channels like email, social media call, TV, print etc. and different methods like advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, PR etc. The basic IMC tools used to accomplish an organization’s communication objectives are referred to as the promotional mix.
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Integrated marketing communication is important to have a competitive edge in the market. With increasing amount of marketing research, the preferences of customers are very well known to managers. With this expertise at hand, the managers are able to design the marketing communications that are aligned to the consumer’s preferences and at the same time it is communicated at the time when the consumer wants to i.e. the right time.
This is critical for brand management and ensure that customers have a strong affinity towards the product. As John Wanamaker (1838-1922) coined the phrase “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half”, is no more the case here. With advanced data analytics, the click through rate of online advertisements and the use of cost effective approach of online ads have made integrated marketing communications the need of the hour. If the right message is only shown at the right place at the right time to the right prospect, the chance s of converting the prospect into potential consumer is very high but at the cost that is minimal.
The consistency that IMC brings is really commendable. Suppose a person wants a smartphone, and the channels that the company or a marketer has chosen are online media or digital media based, then the consistency in getting the right message for the prospect is absent. But if the prospect also gets to see ads through TVCs then the objective of consistent IMC is achieved. If the vision is that the customer is the king, then through IMC the king gets really satisfied.
The various tools or elements used in Integrated Marketing Communications to promotes brands are mentioned below:
Any paid form of non-personal communication about an organization or its merchandise by an identified sponsor is known as advertising. This is often the most important part of marketing communications. The paid aspect means that the space for an advertising message generally has to be bought.
Advertisement often involves mass media like broadcast television, radio, newspapers, e-marketing and magazines that can transmit the message to large groups of individuals. Companies these days focus on 360 degree branding to have a complete promotion of its brand.
Online media channels use content marketing effectively to reach out to its customers.
Those marketing activities that provide extra value or incentives to sales force, distributors or end consumers to generate immediate sales is known as sales promotions.
For consumers, sales promotions generally includes discounts, coupons and contests. “Buy one get one free” etc. are well known methods of sales promotions
Public relations refers to non-personal communications regarding a product or service that is not paid for or run under a sponsor. Hence the main advantage of public relations is its credibility and helps in building a strong brand equity.
In personal selling, the seller attempts to persuade prospective buyers to buy the company’s merchandise or service. Unlike advertising, personal selling involves direct contact between the buyer and seller.
Apart from this direct marketing (like letters or mails to the consumers) and interactive media (internet) also form major part of the integrated marketing communications mix.
Here are some examples of integrated marketing communications:
1. Uber launched an integrated marketing campaign which uses integrated marketing communications that is solely based on the theme of togetherness. A multi-platform campaign was rolled out with Facebook and YouTube as primary channels and television for broader air coverage and radio for the audience while commuting.
2. Coca Cola launched Open Happiness campaign through a very catchy TV commercial. Apart from the TVC, the company ensured that other communication channels like social media, print, online ads, OOH etc. were also used effectively. This shows the overall use of IMC channels to capture people across media channels.
Hence, this concludes the definition of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) along with its overview.
This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.
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