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Importance of Integrated Marketing Communication Plan

Integrated marketing communication (IMC), is one of the best strategies for today’s businesses to drive sales. An effective integrated marketing communication strategy integrates advertising, sponsorship, public relations, promotional marketing, direct marketing, and sales promotion activities which when used in combination gives it more power for the company to gain a competitive advantage than using any of the elements alone. It’s now become the base of most marketing strategies.

What is the importance of an integrated marketing communication plan? With the advancement of social media sites concerned with marketing and advertising, there is an increasing need to understand how the integrated marketing communication strategy can lead to better brand engagement. This has been considered as one of the best ways for promoting various business brands. The main purpose of integrated marketing communication is to provide an excellent customer experience. Integrated Marketing Communication is an effective way to project your brand and marketing onto the consumer. It is a strategy or plan designed to create and deliver a meaningful message about your product or service in a way that motivates your desired audience to choose you over your competitors. For it to be an effective step, you need to know what this coaching is all about, its goal, and the approaches it uses to execute it.

What is integrated marketing?

Integrated marketing rejects the silo mentality and breaks down barriers between departments to embrace holistic marketing. According to Belch (2013), integrated marketing is seen as “an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force.”

Treating marketing departments as separate entities limits communication and reduce operational efficiency. An integrated approach to marketing communications ensures that all channels are aligned and follow the same strategy, overarching business objectives, and company values.

What are a few Integrated Marketing Communications Examples?

Integrated marketing communications is the method by which a company ensures different promotional methods within a marketing campaign are clear, consistent, and working toward the same goals. For example, if an advertising agency is planning on launching a creative campaign, they should first use integrated marketing communications to guarantee that various marketing tools convey the same message and branded experience. An integrated approach would use a variety of communication tools to convey the same branded message, including traditional advertising, online marketing, public relations activities, sales campaigns, and email marketing.

Case Study: Always Uses Integrated Marketing to Launch the #LikeAGirl Campaign

The feminine care products brand Always launched a massively successful #LikeAGirl campaign in 2014. Their team came together to deliver a moving message about female empowerment to a wide audience. First, market research was completed to determine that girls’ self-esteem begins to worsen as they reach puberty. This insight was paired with the market research that determined many Always’ consumers have their first touchpoint with the company at the same age. The marketing team would then create an “audience persona” around this demographic. Next, Always’ strategists used these insights to create a powerful message, their copywriters coined the iconic hashtag and supporting headlines, and their graphic designers produced a series of eye-catching ad sets.

But they didn’t stop there, Always went on to create the #LikeAGirl campaign video that was considered a documentary and won eight different awards from the British charity, Design and Art Direction. The video currently has more than 65 million views on YouTube (Pinegar, 2018). The aforementioned tools and teams are only a select few of many that were probably involved in the #LikeAGirl campaign. 94% agree Always #LikeAGirl encouraged girls to be more confident after the empowering campaign gained traction, indicating the success of the brand’s integrated marketing efforts (Always, 2019).

Importance of Integrated Marketing Communication

Integrated marketing communication plays an integral role in communicating a brand message to a larger audience. Integrated Marketing communication helps in integrating all essential components of marketing to communicate similar messages to potential and existing end-users.

Integrated marketing communication goes a long way in creating brand awareness among customers at a minimal cost. Integrated marketing communication is essential not only for business-to-business marketing but also for direct interaction with customers. Organizations implementing integrated marketing communication not only successfully promote their brands among target audiences but also develop trust among them who would always stick to their brands, no matter what. Through integrated marketing communication, a similar message goes to customers simultaneously, eventually creating a better impact on them. Believe me, the end-user does not even think of buying Brand B, if the features and benefits of Brand A are communicated well to the end-users. Integrated marketing communication is more effective as it carefully blends various marketing tools such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing, and so on.

Integrated marketing communication scores over traditional ways of marketing as it focuses on not only winning new customers but also maintaining a long-term healthy relationship with them. Integrated marketing communication ensures two-way dialogue with customers – a must in all businesses. Customer feedbacks need to be monitored well if you wish to survive in the long run. Remember, their feedbacks are valuable and need to be evaluated carefully. Gone are the days when marketers used to rely only on advertising and simple promotions to make their brand popular among end-users. In the current scenario of cutthroat competition, marketers need to promote their brands by effectively integrating relevant marketing tools for better results and increased productivity. Integrated marketing communication plays an essential role in delivering a unified message to end-users through various channels and thus has better chances of attracting customers. A single message goes to customers across all marketing channels be it TV, Radio, Banners, hoardings, and so on. Integrated marketing communication ensures the brand (product or service) is an instant hit among end-users. It also develops a sense of attachment and loyalty among end-users.

Marketers do not also have to think really hard as to which marketing tool is really effective in creating brand awareness. Integrated marketing communication saves time which is often lost in figuring out the best marketing tool. Through integrated marketing communication, marketers can smartly blend and integrate all marketing tools for better response. In a layman’s language, integrated marketing communication provides a wide range of options that help marketers connect easily with their target customers. Integrated marketing communication ensures that the customer gets the right message at the right place and right time. Integrated marketing communication uses several innovative ways to promote brands among customers such as newspaper inserts, hoardings, and banners at the most strategic locations, pamphlets, brochures, radio or television advertisements, press releases, discount coupons, loyalty clubs, membership clubs, PR Activities, sales promotional activities, direct marketing initiatives, social networking sites (Face book. Twitter, Orkut), blogs and so on.

Receive Better Results

In the traditional approach to marketing communications, businesses and their agencies plan separate campaigns for advertising, press relations, direct marketing, and sales promotions. Integrated campaigns use the same communication tools to reinforce each other and improve marketing effectiveness. In an integrated campaign, you can use advertising to raise awareness of a product and generate leads for the sales force.

By communicating the same information in press releases and feature articles, you reinforce the messages in the advertising. You can then use direct mail or email to follow up inquiries from the advertising or press campaigns and provide prospects with more information. To help convert those prospects to customers, you can use telemarketing to sell directly or make appointments for the sales team. An active online presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter provides a further set of tools for reaching out to your customer base.

Creative Consistency Throughout Channels

In an integrated campaign, the different tools feature the same creative treatment. By repeating the headlines, key phrases, and images in each communication, you ensure that prospects and customers receive consistent messages each time they see one of the elements of the campaign. Creative consistency helps reinforce the basic campaign themes by increasing the number of times prospects see or hear the same message. By working consistently through several different channels, you can better build awareness of your business name, brands, offers, catchphrases, or other messages you emphasize.

Overall Cost Savings

Creative consistency in your integrated campaigns can also save you money. By using the same images and adapting the same copy for different media, you reduce copy-writing, design, and photography costs. Expensive video production output can be used in multiple media like television, YouTube, and Facebook. If you work with external communications suppliers, you may be able to reduce agency fees by working with a single firm that offers integrated communications services, rather than separate specialist agencies.

Aligning with Customer Preferences

An integrated campaign helps you provide customers with information in the format they prefer. Consumers and business customers can specify if they want to receive product information via email, direct mail, text message, or telephone. Clients that you do not reach directly can still benefit from your campaigns by viewing your print ads or hearing your radio and TV spots. Integration ensures that customers and potential customers receive the same information in all communications. You can also meet the needs of customers who search the Internet for product information by integrating your website design and content with other communications.

Conclusion

An integrated marketing communication plan is one of the best ways to get the word out – and keep the word out – about your business. The “communication” component of an integrated marketing communication strategy extends beyond just print, Internet, and social media campaigns, to include face-to-face communications and easy customer access.

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