What is Integrated Marketing Communication?
Marketing strategies can seem complex when there are many different ways to help identify the goals and needs of consumers. That being said, Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is a must for any business and it’s quite simple in theory. It stems from ensuring all messages are linked together, whether it be integrated communications or interactive experiences, the purpose is to unify the targeted audience and create brand equity.
This is why Integrated Marketing Communication and the Marketing Mix of Product, Price, Place, Promotion (4Ps) work seamlessly together. They create a desired impact that not only helps identify the target audience, but maintain that relationship overtime. For example, when we think Integrated Marketing communications, we think of public relations, digital marketing, advertising, and sales. However it also can affect the products design, the package and even its price. Understanding the relationship between IMC and the 4Ps is imperative to understanding IMC’s branches of communication.
Why integrated marketing communication?
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) has always had strong strategic value for businesses and brands. Its diversity within communication avenues has allowed it to maintain its effectiveness and usefulness in capturing the targeted audience. As we’ve mentioned previously, Integrated Marketing communications can be used harmoniously with five primary communication tools. These are advertising, direct marketing, internet marketing, sales promotion and public relations. With a plethora of mediums and methods to choose from, IMC becomes the ideal solution for aligning common goals and unifying targeted audiences. Let’s have a closer look at these communication tools and their relationship to IMC.
5 Tools for integrated marketing communication
BAD DOG – Budget Direct
Advertising has always been an effective way to communicate to large audiences quickly. Although it can be expensive, it’s the most efficient long term because of its wide reach. The goal of advertising is to solidify a global brands personality and spread its message quickly and convincingly to mass consumers. This form of Integrated marketing communication has an abundance of mediums to choose from depending on the brand and its audience.
Advertisements are seen in print, posters, TV, radio, and throughout the internet. Recently Budget Direct, an insurance company, has used TV advertising as a means to communicate their brand’s message. The benefit of the dog wielding a lightsaber campaign is that they’ve become relatable and humorous. Budget Direct’s brand personality has removed the negativity from insurance and allowed a connection to their targeted audience, and consumers primarily based on personality.
2. DIRECT MARKETING
(EDM) ELECTRONIC DIRECT MAIL – Spark Interact
Direct Marketing is a type of integrated marketing communication that focuses on presenting brand information to only those with similar interests. Although direct marketing has features of mass advertising, its use of the target market makes it more susceptible to achieving brand goals. The methods of communication focus on a greater need for customer communication. This is why direct marketing methods include telemarketing, EDM marketing, brochures, and online targeted display ads.
Web design and digital marketing company, Spark Interact, uses direct marketing as a form of brand conversation for both their clients and their clients’ customers. The effectiveness of targeting pre-committed audiences means that there is a higher chance of return in sales, an enquiry, or expression of interest. Spark Interact’s use of EDM’s is a practical method of direct marketing in a sales driven conversation. Email marketing is a widely accessible resource, with the ability to converse and show their clients directly about Spark’s brand personality and product features.
3. DIGITAL/INTERNET MARKETING
ICONS OF A NEW GENERATION – Mercedes-Benz & League of Legends
Digital Marketing is probably one of the most common methods of integrated marketing communication that you would see today. In our current technologically driven environment, using the internet and other digitals mediums as a way of promoting brands is a no brainer. With such a broad range of marketing tactics, from EDMs, search engine optimisation, blogs, sponsorships, and more, brands are left with a plethora of choices to best target their audience.
A modern day interpretation of this is the League of Legends (LoL) and Mercedes-Benz esports collaboration for Worlds 2020. Worlds is a global esports event that runs primarily through online streaming platforms. This year Mercedes-Benz has partnered with League of Legends to promote their A-class and B-class vehicles. With tailor made videos, content, and imagery, they are able to effectively promote their brand through advertising via the streaming platforms and YouTube. Their use of sponsorship allows the brand to keep their highclass persona, whilst appealing to a different age and interest demographic bracket. They are also able to receive a two way response by the audience interacting live to the advertisement or commenting on the social content and YouTube videos.
4. SALES PROMOTION
We’ve all been enticed by sales promotions one way or another. They’re virtually everywhere from your favourite brand holding a promotional discount to a gift with purchase incentive. Sales promotion has two primary categories for integrated marketing communication. The first is consumer-oriented promotion, a tool which aims to increase sales of existing customers and pull in new customers to “try”. The second is trade-oriented promotion, a directive that focuses on selling more of a company’s brand products than other brands, forcing them to order more from a singular seller.
Fashion brands, like Calvin Klein (CK), are known for using customer and trade oriented sales techniques to entice sales. Through their heavy brand image, they are able to promote any discount and receive valuable responses. We’ve seen promotions from 25% off to buy 3 save 30%, these discount tactics help bring back “die hard” customers and new customers who want to try the brand. With Calvin Klein expanding into department stores like Myer and David Jones, it’s no doubt the landscape is competitive. This is why we see trade orientated incentives to buy one, get one half price or special campaign outposts to promote a particular product. These are all brand orientated communication methods with the final goal to entice a sales based conversation.
5. PUBLICITY/PUBLIC RELATIONS
HAND SANITISER – Anheuser Busch
Companies rely on maintaining their positive brand image to their consumers in order to successfully build relationships.It’s not unusual for them to pay big money to a branding agency just to keep their public relations (PR) model aligned to their audience. Whether it be by community engagement, transparency, or addressing pressing issues, establishing credibility is PR’s sole purpose. When done correctly PR can also turn into “free” publicity, as publicity doesn’t run as an identified sponsor, making it non paid advertising. Thus we have another integrated marketing communication method that focuses on molding the brand into consumer lifestyles and social norms.
A great example of modern day PR is American brewery company, Anheuser-Busch. Whilst manufacturing their branded products, they are also using part of their factory and resources to produce hand sanitizers. They are then actively distributing and donating them to community areas and voting booths across the United States. Their use of brand personality and community relationship has led to a positive PR campaign, one that also gave them the opportunity to gain free news network publicity.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) has many outlets in which a brand can utilise to promote their business. The linking of messages, personality and experiences to unify the targeted audience and create brand equity, allows for a strengthened communication strategy. With the ability and freedom to have the desired impact on their audience, It’s with confidence that we can state that integrated Marketing Communications is an important of any businesses marketing tactics. And when done well, brands can be assured that they can maintain their markets relationship.