What is Integrated Marketing Channels (IMC)?
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) refers to integrating and coordinating the company’s many communications channels (Promotional Mix) to deliver a clear, consistent, and compelling message about the organization and its products.
What is the role of the Promotional Mix?
Promotion Mix, or marketing communications mix, refers to the precise blend of promotion tools that the company uses to engage consumers, persuasively communicate customer value, and build customer relationships. There are five major promotion tools:
- Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.
- Sales promotion involves short-term incentives to encourage the purchase or sale of a product or service.
- Personal selling is personal customer interactions with the firm’s sales force for the purpose of making sales and building customer relationships.
- Public relations refers to building good relationships with the company’s various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good corporate image, and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, and events.
- Direct and digital marketing involves engaging directly with carefully targeted individual consumers and customer communities to both obtain an immediate response and build lasting customer relationships.
IMC is Evolving, Why?
- In this digital, wireless world, consumers are better informed and more Communications empowered. Rather than relying on marketer-supplied information, they can use the Internet, social media, and other technologies to find information on their own.
- Marketers are developing focused marketing strategies designed to build closer relationships with customers in more narrowly defined “target markets.”
- Advances in digital technology are causing remarkable changes in the ways companies and customers communicate with each other.
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Explain the development of an advertising campaign
- Apply advertising strategies to real-world examples
- Analyze when and how advertising and PR should be a part of a marketing campaign
- Create a marketing strategy to address the needs and wants of a target market
Module Reading and Resources
Textbook: Marketing: An Introduction, Chapter 12
This chapter will provide an overview on how companies use advertising and PR as part of their larger marketing strategy
Access this resource by going to the MyMarketingLab area under the course Table of Contents menu.
Presentation: Marketing Concept Glossary V
Module-related marketing concepts and terms are presented. Visit the glossary for a quick review of the key terms from this week. You can also look up words in the glossary found along the left-hand navigation bar.
Integrated marketing communication is a key phrase used in the marketing field. It describes a strategy that incorporates many promotional elements into a larger communication strategy. It may include advertising, personal selling, digital and social media marketing, sales promotions, and public relations. One characteristic of a promotion that is part of an integrated marketing campaign is that the message in that promotion is aligned with other promotions across other platforms. Regardless of how someone encounters the brand, the look, feel, and message will be consistent. It is important for marketing communications to be integrated, because consumers are inundated with many messages or “noise” from so many different media, and different consumers respond to different media types. The noise that an ad has to overcome can be substantial. Noise can be other promotions or other distractions in a customer’s life that prevents the customer from receiving the intended message.
Figure 5.1: Diagram of Marketing Communication (Stafford, 2013)
The first element that companies need to consider when developing a promotional objective is the overall objective of the campaign. This will help to determine whether advertising, PR, or another promotional strategy is the best fit for a given campaign. If advertising is a good fit for the campaign objectives, the company then goes through a series of steps to develop and launch the advertising campaign.
The video Ad Campaign goes through the main steps in developing an advertising campaign:
- Setting the objective
- Determining the budget
- Identifying the messaging
- Choosing the media
When choosing media, there is much to consider. Table 5.2 from the text (Armstrong & Kotler, 2015, p. 388), presented below, outlines the advantages and limitations of the major media types. Each media type has very clear pros and cons, and one of the important challenges for marketers is to sort through all of the information available and make the best possible decision based on the product and the budget.
Table 5.2: Profiles of Major Media Types (Table 12.2 from Marketing: An Introduction)
Advertising and public relations (PR), that is, the management of information about an organization and the public, are two important components of a promotional strategy. There was a period in marketing history when PR was viewed as a separate marketing activity. For example, advertising agencies created Super Bowl ads and marketing campaigns, whereas PR agencies dealt with company disasters and communication failures and helped CEOs access important publications. As integrated marketing communication has become the more common way to approach marketing, PR is back into the marketing fold. A strong PR strategy can help a company build its brand, position its leaders as trusted experts in the field, and go a long way to minimize the damage when there is a corporate crisis. In addition, with the rise of social media, PR has become even more important as a “customer-facing” function responding in real time to customer comments and concerns.
PR is a discipline focused on communication. PR professionals send out press releases to announce a new product or initiative by a company, work with journalists to ensure that company leaders are quoted in articles, and organize events that are centered on a cause. When a company successfully integrates PR into its marketing campaign, this communication is elevated with an increased focus on brand-building and promotion, rather than straight communication. The rise of content marketing has also put PR back into the spotlight. Content marketing is the section of marketing focused on creating unique content that the company can then distribute through its blogs, social media channels, email lists, and more. As this falls in the “communication” piece of marketing, it often falls to the PR department. A strong PR campaign is focused on customer and prospect engagement. When used strategically, PR is an important and powerful piece of an integrated marketing campaign.
Now, take a minute to review this week’s glossary.
Armstrong, G., & Kotler, P. (2015). Marketing: An introduction (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Stafford, A. (2013, March 5). Diagram 1: A basic communication model showing the sender, message, and receiver [Image]. Marketing Communications Blog. Retrieved from http://www.marketingcommunicationsblog.com/communication-model/
Complete the assignment as follows:
Your written product overview will include a detailed product overview and marketing strategy. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of Part I of the final project, including content created in Milestones One and Two. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. The Part I Exemplar – Tip Top Bakery Market Overviewuses a bakery promoting a new product to provide you with an example of a complete written product overview, such as the one you will be writing for your pet supply company. Use the Final Project Part I Final Submission Template for your written product overview.