INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

Before we dive in to talk about our main topic, let’s look at a problem statement in advertising; I believe you agree with me that every day of our routine we are bombarded with different advertising messages, whether it is on radio while we’re driving to work, on television during our favorite programs, or in magazines and newspapers. We’re handed flyers while walking down the streets and given tastes of products while walking the aisles of the grocery store. Advertising has entered every area of our lives, and many of us choose to ignore it on many occasions. This might cause you to ask, can advertising and promotional efforts still be effective if we are so saturated with information?
The answer is YES, advertising and promotions can be effective if used properly for targeting the right consumer. One of the main rules in advertising has always been to keep your message simple and consistent, and repeat it often. It has been shown that people remember advertising if they see it with great frequency, which explains why while watching two hours of television you may see the same advertisement two or even three times. That way the message will stand out in your mind.
One of the most important aspect of advertising and promoting a product or service is consistency. Companies ensure the consistency of their message by coordinating all of their promotional activities. This coordination of activities into a system or strategic plan is referred to as integrated marketing communications (IMC). IMC creates a unified message and enhances the effectiveness of reaching the target consumer. Firms will create one message that will be used consistently throughout a marketing campaign. It is important that the promotional strategy also be in alignment with the organizational goals.
There are three major aspects of an IMC plan: research, creative aspects, and the implementation. Research and analysis are used to find the best way to design the product or service, the most effective message and media to use, and the best means to distribute the product or service at the optimal price. The creative aspect is the actual advertising, copywriting, and designing of promotional materials. Implementation is the act of putting the plan together, creating a strategy and seeing it through.
Planning an integrated marketing communications plan also means finding your target market; determining what is unique about the product offering or service you are providing; constructing a positioning strategy for your product or service (building a mental niche in relation to competitor products or services); deciding what the best message would be for your product; and choosing the optimal marketing mix in relation to your allowed marketing budget.
As an example of IMC, suppose Adidas comes up with a promotional “Rock the earth” campaign targeting the youth athletes for its new line of youth athletic shoes. Marketers will do their research to find what media youth athletes use, what time they watch television, what programs they watch, social media platforms they visit, and what types of advertising messages they respond to. Then Adidas will create the promotional materials and ads. They learn what’s important about the athletic shoes the youth wear. Adidas may have TV and magazine ads featuring youth athletes doing extraordinary things. They may also sponsor a youth sporting event like inter-schools competitions or hold a contest for a fan to get one of the shoes for free and for a friend. The message would be clear and consistent: Adidas cares about youth athletes and supports youth athletics.
Ideally, an effective IMC campaign will differentiate the product or service from a competitor’s; generate a flow of leads (which are the predecessors to sales); be consistent with and support the overall branding strategy; cause the company to have a more prominent place in the market; communicate the company’s experience and knowledge; and help to retain existing customers.
Thanks for your time and don’t forget to drop your comments.

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