Introduction to IMC. Integrated Marketing Communication-Introduction.
Since 1980s companies realized the need for strategic integration of their promotional tools. This made them move towards the process of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). It involves coordinating the various promotional elements and other marketing activities that communicate with a firm’s customers. This makes companies go beyond just advertising agencies for media advertising and use different agencies for different [Promotional Activities.
Many agencies responded to the call for synergy among the promotional tools by acquiring PR, Sales Promotion, and direct marketing companies and touting themselves as IMC agencies that offer one stop shopping for all the clients Promotional needs. It came to be recognized that IMC was not just a fad, but a very planned activity to be pursued with discipline. Moreover, IMC implies that only communication tools known as such are not enough but store atmosphere, location of the retail outlet etc add or reduce the impact of a company and its offerings.
As per American Association of Advertising Agencies, IMC is defined as “ a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines-e.g., general advertising, direct response, sales promotion, and public relations-and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact.
Major reasons for the growing importance of IMC are as follows:
d. The rapid growth and development of database marketing.
e. Demands for greater accountability from advertising agencies and changes in the way agencies are compensated.
f. The rapid growth of the Internet, which is changing the very nature of how companies do business and the ways they communicate and interact with consumers.
The Role of IMC in Branding: As per branding
expert Kevin Keller, “ Building and properly managing
brand equity has become a priority for companies of all
sizes, in all types of industries, in all types of markets.”
Brand identity is a combination of many factors, including the name, logo, symbols, design, packaging, and performance of a product or service as well as the image or type of associations that comes to mind when consumers think about the brand. Integrated Marketing Communications can play a significant role in making these factors remain alive and be sustained for long.
Integrated Marketing Communication is the combination and integration of different modes of communication by the company and its associates in order to give a complete communication portfolio to all its audiences at regular intervals. These modes of communication are advertising, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, personal selling and direct marketing.
Communication is an interactive dialogue between the company and its customers that takes place during the pre-selling, selling, consuming, and post-consuming stages. The communication exercise goes beyond the modes listed in the previous slide. The product’s styling and price, the shape and color of the package, the salesperson’s manner and dress, the place’s ambience, the company’s stationery-all communicate something to the buyers/customers/end-users
Companies are not always comfortable in doing this integration. In case, it fails, then responsibility of failure should be identified and remedial measures taken. Ultimately, it is the Marketing Manager’s job to control the whole communication package.
The Promotional Mix: The Tools for IMC
4. Sales Promotion: All those marketing activities that provide extra value or incentives to the sale force, the distributors, or the ultimate consumer and can stimulate immediate sales.
5. Publicity/Public Relations: Publicity refers to non-personal communications regarding an organization, product, service, or idea not directly paid for or run under identified sponsorship. It comes in the form of news story, editorial, or announcement about an organization and/or its products and services.
Public Relations is defined as the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or organization with the public interest, and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
6. Personal Selling: It is a form of person-to-person communication in which a seller attempts to assist and/or persuade prospective buyers to purchase the company’s product or service or to act on an idea.
The Nature of Communication: Communication has been variously defined as the passing of information, the
exchange of ideas, or the process of establishing a
commonness or oneness of thought between a sender and
A Basic model of Communication: Two elements
represent the major participants in the communication
process, the sender and the receiver. Another two are the
major communication tools, message and channel. Four
others are the major functions and processes: encoding,
decoding, response and feedback. The last element,
noise, refers to any extraneous factors in the system that
can interfere with the process and work against effective
Source Encoding: The sender or source of a communication is the person or organization that has information to share with another person or group of people. Encoding involves putting thoughts, ideas, or information into a symbolic form.
Message contains the information or meaning the source hopes to convey. It may be verbal, or nonverbal, oral, or written, or symbolic.
The Channelis the method by which the communication travels from the source or sender to the receiver.
Receiver/Decoding: The receiver is the person(s) with
whom the sender shares thoughts or information.
Generally, these are the consumers in the target market.
Decoding is the process of transforming the sender’s
message back into the thought.
Noise consists of extraneous factors which distort or
interfere with the message reception.
Response/Feedback: The receiver’s set of reactions after seeing, hearing, or reading the message is known as a response. Feedback is that part of the receiver’s that is communicated back to the sender.