Integrated Marketing Communication is a term used to describe a holistic approach to marketing. It aims to ensure consistency of message and the complementary use of media. The concept includes online and offline marketing channels.
Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaigns or programmes, from search engine optimization (SEO), social networking and buzz marketing, pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV.
Offline marketing channels are traditional print (newspaper and magazine), direct marketing, public relations, industry relations, outdoor, radio, and television. A company develops its integrated marketing communication programme using all the elements of the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion).
Integrated marketing communication is the integration of all marketing tools, approaches, and resources within a company which maximizes impact on consumer mind and results in maximum profit at minimum cost.
Reasons for the Growing Importance of Integrated Marketing Communication
Several shifts in the advertising and media industry have caused IMC to develop into a primary strategy for marketers:
- From media advertising to multiple forms of communication.
- From mass media to more specialised (niche) media, which are centered around specific target audiences and are non-intrusive.
- From a manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer-dominated, consumer-controlled market.
- From general-focus advertising and marketing to data-based marketing.
- From low agency accountability to greater agency accountability, particularly in advertising.
- From traditional compensation to performance-based compensation (increased sales or benefits to the company).
- From limited Internet access to 24/7 Internet availability and access to goods and services.
Selecting the Most Effective Communications Elements
The goal of selecting the elements of proposed integrated marketing communications is to create a campaign that is effective and consistent across media platforms.
Some marketers may want only communication with the greatest breadth of appeal: the executions that, when combined, provide the greatest number of attention-getting, branded, and motivational moments. Others may only want communication with the greatest depth of appeal: the ads with the greatest number of attention-getting, branded, and motivational points within each.
Integrated marketing communication is more than just an advertising campaign, and in the words of Levine, Locke, Searls, Weinberger in The Cluetrain Manifesto the empowered customer can be described as follows:
“We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it.”