From Fragmented to Integrated Marketing
Marketing may be integrate now, but, it used to be fragmented. In recent years company to customer interaction has developed in such a way that if a customer is dissatisfied with a company’s product the company will know about it in real time. We’ve grown so used to this constant back and forth between company and customer that we forget that not so long ago (i.e. before the 1990’s) marketing was a one way street. Companies would impress their messages and products upon people without any interaction or feedback.
However, analytical tools that allowed companies to measure consumer data through devices like store scanners allowed marketers to figure out at the point of sale what consumers’ buying habits were. This new wave technology inspired companies to broaden their marketing efforts.
Presently, corporate marketing budgets are being directed toward trade and consumer promotions, advertising, public relations, and branding. There has been a shift away from traditional media and advertising funding allocation to the allocation of funds towards new media.
The conversion from fragmented to Integrated Marketing Communications was accompanied by a few new trends in the marketing industry:
the move from mass media to multiple forms of communication, the move from manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer-dominated, customer controlled market, the growing use of data based marketing as opposed to general-focus advertising, unlimited Internet access and greater online availability of goods and services, a larger focus on developing marketing communications activities that produce value for target audiences while increasing benefits and reducing costs
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Strategies
IMC is defined as:
A comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency , and maximum communication impact.
Simply put an IMC strategy is a machine made up of communications channels cogs like social media, T.V., newspaper, ect. The only way to get the IMC strategy machine to work is if these communications channels cogs work together. As a result of the combined efforts of the communications channels cogs, the IMC strategy machine generates for the audience a clear picture of a brand’s image and messaging as it relates to them.
IMC in Action
In 2014 Coca-Cola launched an alternative drink for their original Coca-Cola drink. It was called Coca-Cola Life.
The campaign is being rolled out across 7,000 outdoor locations nation wide with billboards, bus, and digital screen ads; these are all being supported by print, digital, experiential, and point of sale activity. Although television is not being used, the buzz on social media since the drink’s launch has been mainly positive.
Coca-Cola also launched a competition to promote their new Coca-Cola Life drink. On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, Coca-Cola put up a pop-up shop on South Molton Street in London. The shop not only offered samples of Coca-Cola Life, but, also offered prizes like a long weekend in New York. Implementing IMC Coca-Cola offered prizes to people who couldn’t make it to the pop-up shop. In order to win people would have to take pictures of themselves drinking Coca-Cola Life and post them on Instagram with #cocacolalife or #comp.
Tools of IMC
When marketers first begin to create an Integrated Marketing Communications strategy they summarize marketing, advertising, and sales tools that they will use during different campaigns.
Some promotional tools marketers use include new media options such as search engine optimization (SEO), banner advertisements, webinars, and blogs. Some traditional media tools marketers use include newspapers, billboards, and magazines.
In addition, Marketers need to come up with a combination of new media and traditional media in order to connect a brand to consumers. This connection will hopefully lead to a strong relationship between brand and consumer. Regardless, the message Marketers put out through new media and traditional media channels needs to stay consistent.
Benefits of IMC
There are multiple benefits for companies who put IMC into place. Some of those benefits include:
- By promoting their brand across several social channels Marketers can communicate their brand’s story to their audience
- Implementing IMC is cost-effective because consumers are more likely to encounter and interact with a brand across numerous social channels
- Marketers can review their progress as a whole as opposed to in fragments
- IMC fosters a competitive advantage for companies who want to increase their sales and profits
Implementing an IMC strategy is vital to any marketer looking to create a clear and concise story of their brand across various social channels. However, how a marketer posts is not the only thing he/she should be concerned about, what content a marketer posts is just as important. Yes, content is still king.
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