Definition: Integrated Marketing Communication is a concept that makes certain that all forms of communication and messages are intelligently linked together. It is a process of managing customer relationships. This is because it increases brand value by making use of communication efforts.
It includes cross-functional processes that build and maintains fruitful relationships with the stakeholders, especially customers. They do so by strategically regulating the message circulated among various groups. Further, it is also possible to promote an information-oriented and determined dialog with them. It aims to drive higher customer engagement.
It combines all techniques of brand promotion to promote a particular product or service among target customers.
IMC involves the coordination and integration of various marketing communication tools, and sources within the enterprise, into one program. This facilitates maximizing the effect on end users at a minimum investment.
Process of Integrated Marketing Communication
- Development of comprehensive databases on customers and prospects takes place for execution.
- After that, the segmentation of current and prospective customers into groups takes place. It is on the basis of certain common characteristics, predispositions and behaviour.
- Preparation of messages and media strategies will be the next step. It directs the communication tactics to meet the marketing objectives.
While performing this process builds and reinforces mutually profitable relationships with stakeholders. Also, it produces synergy by coordinating all elements in the promotional mix into a program. This will increase sales and cost-effectiveness. The newly developed program has the following features:
- Greatest Impact on the Audience
Tools of Integrated Marketing Communication
The tools of integrated marketing communication are discussed here:
It is a paid and non-personal form of marketing communication. In this, the promotional message regarding the product reaches a large audience in one go. It also supplements personal selling to a large extent. It aims at:
- Building a good image in the eyes of the audience
- Counterclaiming the competitors, and
- Reinforcing a positive attitude.
Publicity is another non-personal form of marketing communication. The editor handles the publicity. The primary aim of this tool is to inform the target audience about the event, person, firm, and so forth.
The advertiser has no control over publicity, and it originates from the media owner. It is available free of cost and conveys more information than advertising. Moreover, consumers have more trust in publicity than in advertising.
It is a management function that identifies, builds, and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and the general public. It considers a wide range of audiences and makes use of two-way communication. They do so to keep an eye on the feedback and make changes according to both – the message and the organization’s efforts to gain maximum benefit.
Sales Promotion is a tool that offers additional incentives for accelerating the movement from seller to buyer. It may include avenues like contests, coupons, free samples, offers, sales, premiums, and points of purchase. It pushes customers to buy goods under the schemes available. It includes various channel partners like wholesalers and dealers. Hence, it is the binding thread between advertising and salesmanship.
It is all about person-to-person contact with the customers to demonstrate the product to the customer. It also makes the customer aware of the product’s value and closes the sale. Personal Selling play different roles in different organizations. It is considered a very successful method of marketing communication. This is because it involves interpersonal communication between the salesperson and the prospect.
A well-designed package attracts the target prospects to buy the product. When the package is strategically designed, it can communicate the marketing message. Along with that, it will also convey the product type and quality. Packaging plays a crucial role at the time of buying decision. This is because it provides information to the reader while protecting the product from any damage during transit.
The Internet plays a vital role in integrated marketing communication. Websites, Blogs, and Youtube Videos and Shorts are in vogue nowadays. As soon as people have a question in mind, they quickly search for that on the internet and get the answer right away. Further, you might have heard the term E-commerce, which involves selling goods and services via the Internet.
There are many advertisers that rely upon sponsorships. They do so to:
- Develop a favourable or positive sentiment toward the company and its offerings,
- Build loyalty among the customers,
- Differentiate the product from the competitors,
- Provide selling opportunities, and
- Demonstrate commitment to a community.
Trade Shows and Exhibitions
It is the conventional method of sales promotion. With this, the sellers get opportunities for face-to-face communication with the people and allow new firms to create a viable customer base in a short span of time. It also allows different firms be they small or mid-size, which are not visited frequently. In this way, they can come into contact with the suppliers and vendors.
Importance of IMC
- It creates awareness among the audience about the products related to a specific brand name. Hence, people get aware of the new varieties of goods available in the market.
- IMC offers product information through various techniques. This information is needed when the product is launched in the market.
- It is a medium of communication between sellers and intermediaries. The intermediaries may include dealers and agents. Through IMC, information is provided to them via pamphlets, brochures, price lists etc.
- A marketing communication mix helps in increasing sales which brings economies of large-scale production. As a result, there will be a reduction in cost and an increase in profit.
A word from Business Jargons
IMC is the process of combining marketing communication elements into a brand identity that remains consistent across different media channels. Through IMC, organizations are able to deliver a consumer experience that is not just engaging but seamless too. It also optimizes the image of the organization and its relationship with the stakeholders.
Every firm uses a range of channels for communicating with its target audience. Here, channels can be both traditional and digital. Traditional channels include TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, journals etc. However, digital channels include the internet, email, and social media. IMC ensure that regardless of the delivery channel, the message and positioning do not change.
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