We have observed radical changes in the way communication has evolved over the past decade. From merely passing on a message to catchy jingles, using humor, and subtle ironies to online communication over various social media and other channels, marketing has changed.
Brands are looking out for ways to connect with their audiences across the globe.
The solution, integrated marketing, combines traditional and modern marketing strategies. It provides us with the best of both the worlds to reach the appropriate stakeholders in the process.
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) basically combines various marketing strategies that boost one another. The aim is to have all the channels work in aggregation rather than seclusion.
For instance, a company might be promoting a new product through various media such as print, social media, web along with others. Each media will promote the product in its own way, depending on its capabilities and limitations.
But the message that is conveyed and to whom it is conveyed remains the same. After all, it directs the audience in the same direction.
Integrated marketing communication ensures that all the correspondence received by a customer or a prospect is relevant.
This communication remains consistent over all the communication media. It gives your customers or prospects a seamless experience over all the channels while interacting with your brand.
There are a few primary things to note about IMC:
- It is a continuous improvement process. The process includes creating the strategy, implementing it, measuring the results, and improving the process based on the results.
- The aim is to speed up the results, more often than not. This means to improve the revenue.
- The process has the customer at the center and the processes aligned around the customer’s needs.
- It can be seen as a modern replacement for the older marketing model.
IMC makes use of different promotional methods across channels to reach a befitting audience with the proper message. There are six essential steps to be followed while designing your IMC strategy. Let’s go through each of them one-by-one:
Never start without proper market research. Ensure that your audience is defined correctly. You should always know what kind of audience you want to target based on what you are marketing.
Here, behavioral data will give us insights about what the prospects do, what their preferences are relating to what we are offering. Demographic data tells us more about their age, gender, education, geography, and so on.
Segmenting your audience based on these data points will help you know which section of your audience is more likely to opt for your product.
Generally known as SWOT analysis, it gives you an insight into the external and internal factors that can affect your brand.
Analyzing your internal and external environments will provide you with some extra information while designing your marketing strategy. It will tell you what are your weaknesses that you need to work on and what are the strengths that you can leverage upon.
Before starting with your marketing efforts, it is necessary to define the objectives for your marketing campaigns. It involves all what you wish to achieve through your marketing efforts and what your brand wants to communicate to your target audience.
Following are some of the objectives that you could set for yourself:
- Developing awareness about your brand in the market.
- Improve your brand image.
- Improve the sales of your product.
- Reinforce your customer’s decision to go with your brand.
It is necessary to know your available resources before starting out with designing any plans or strategies. The type of budget that your company allocates towards your marketing campaigns can be a percentage of the sales or a percentage of the profit.
Your budget also depends on the size of your organization and what they can afford.
In this step, you need to draw out the strategies and define the tactics aligned with the objectives that you had set in the third step.
Strategies and tactics define, in detail, how your marketing efforts would unfold to achieve your objectives. These methods should be described adhering to the budget set in the previous steps.
The final step always is evaluation and measurement. Here, we can make use of various metrics, such as:
- Traffic to your website.
- Change in sales numbers.
- Social media metrics, such as an increase in the engagement of your social media page, or increase in the follower count.
Evaluating the performance of your strategies will help you to understand the effectiveness of your strategy. It will also help you figure out any improvement, if necessary, to be made to your strategy in the next iteration since IMC is cyclical.
After following all these steps properly, IMC will be well-defined for your organization. And as a brand, you can conduct your marketing activities more efficiently. You will be able to connect with your target audience with ease as well, providing them the best experience as well.
Today, customer service is key, and customers do not hesitate to take on a brand on a public forum as well. Hence a proper IMC will enable a company to avoid such incidents if any.
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