Creating and implementing an effective marketing strategy for your company is a vital step towards growth. Smaller companies are usually restricted to fewer channels of communication which means the message will have limited reach. However, the silver lining of such a situation lies in the fact that all the marketing is centralized. So, although there are fewer channels through which to market, the message and vision of the company stays consistent across all those channels.
On the other hand, due to their growing popularity and inevitably changing infrastructure, bigger companies have to hire different teams for sales, marketing, promotions, etc., thus opening up a plethora of channels for communication and, subsequently, more outward reach to the public. The potential drawback to this change may be the inconsistency of the message. Conflicting mission statements can lead to adverse reactions from the public. To avoid this potential mishap, we utilize the application of integrated market communications. But what exactly is IMC?
What is Integrated Marketing Communications?
Integrated Market Communications is the name given to the marketing strategy where different marketing tools are combined to create one single message that represents a brand across all its different channels. This includes all facets of marketing such as public relations, sales promotions, advertising, social media, and so on.
The aim of using integrated market communications is to present the customer base with a smooth and engaging message, hence enhancing the customer experience. Whether for a product, service, or the brand itself, IMC goes a long way to create a prominent and long-lasting vision.
Importance on IMC
This strategy is great for two reasons.
The first of these reasons is customer engagement. When a brand chooses to focus on solidifying its brand image and does so in a well-orchestrated manner, the customer gets reeled in and gets one step closer to becoming a proponent of the brand’s products. The trust of the customer is a priceless asset for the company. An investment to cement customer loyalty is bound to bear fruit in the future as the best marketing for any company is word of mouth.
The second reason to choose IMC is to better compete with your industry competitors. This relates to our first point of customer loyalty. It is vital to establish your identity as a competitor in the industry. An effective application of IMC can achieve this by communicating clearly to the potential customers what you are offering and what you have planned for the future. This helps set you apart from the competition and gives your brand a unique identity, ultimately helping you build a strong customer base.
Types of Integrated Marketing Communications
There are generally 4 types of IMCs.
This refers to relations and communications with third-party marketing or advertising firms. Keeping a clear line of communication with them is important since these firms are responsible for showcasing your product or service to the public eye.
Internal IMC is concerned with ensuring employee involvement and compliance with any new product or service that is to be launched. It is necessary to keep the employees excited and optimistic to create buzz in their external circles, which leads to word spreading in the public. However, internal IMC is to be practised with caution, so any vital information is not leaked to the public.
When a product is being developed, all the teams involved (such as the distribution, marketing, finance, and production teams) should have a clear line of communication on a horizontal level of company infrastructure. Cross communication leads to efficiency in work and increased productivity.
Vertical IMC is a strategy that ensures that the production of a new product is in line with the company policy and mission statement. The cohesion between the company’s vision and products is of paramount importance to its success.
Integrated Marketing Communications is applicable on all different levels of corporate structure and assists the company in creating a suitable end product.
Difference between Integrated Marketing Communications and Traditional Marketing
- Marketing deals with promoting and pricing a product or service to a selected target audience or demographic. In contrast, IMC deals with combining a brand’s communication channels to give a consistent message to the public.
- Marketing has a wider scope wherein it deals with promotions, distribution, pricing, and product creation. Conversely, IMC only deals with the promotional aspect and improving upon it.
- Marketing seeks to create awareness among the public to boost product sales while IMC unifies different marketing elements to present a focused message to the customer base.
Disadvantages of IMC
Although it has the potential to be highly beneficial, there are risks associated with taking on IMC
- High Costs of production and distribution means there may not be enough budget for marketers to implement IMC
- IMC requires a good amount of experience, creativity, and skill to pull off, meaning smaller companies with limited resources and experience may be hesitant to embrace it
- Managing content in a way that it stays in tune with the mission statement while making small alterations to cater to different audiences can be a tedious task
- IMC incurs millions in expense but may not pay off due to inability to adapt to local cultures of other countries, thus making international reach suffer