Integrated Marketing Communications and Its Goal
Integrated Marketing Communication can be described as the progress of a firm to attaining the set objectives of a marketing campaign using well-coordinated and diverse advertising techniques that support each other. According to Percy (2008), Integrated Marketing Communication is the process of developing and putting into practice different methods of persuasive communication agendas with the consumers and predictions over time. Most organizations use Integrated Marketing Communication to present a cohesive message to the targeted audiences. Communication tools like public relations, branding, promotion, advertising, marketing and technology are incorporated to communicate efficiently with the audience.
The main goal of Integrated Marketing Communication is to generate a unified promotional message that has the target audience or the consumer as the focus. It aims at directly affecting or influencing the target audience (Percy, 2008). Therefore, the Integrated Marketing Communication is a process that begins with the target audience or consumer and then works its way to the determination and definition of methods in which convincing communication methods should be developed. Its aim is to persuade consumers through means of communication, to affects the consumers’ behaviors and to start from the consumer and work around development of effective communication (Percy, 2008).
Components of the Communication Process
In order for the Integrated Marketing Communication to be a success, there must be tools that facilitate the process. The following is a look at these components.
Percy (2008) defines adverting as any paid form of non-personal communication about a product, organization, service or idea by a specific identified sponsor. The main types of adverting therefore include consumer-oriented brand advertising that aims at focusing on the brand and seeking to make consumers much aware of the brand while creating positive attitudes about the brand. The second type is the retail advertising which focuses on the involvement of two brands thee being the store and the brands offered there. The third advertising type is the business-to-business (B2B). It seeks to create awareness for the brand to both the consumers and among trade and to other distribution features that they deal with as well. Lastly, corporate image advertising is traditionally known to promote the face of the company other than the brands made therein.
This is defined as an interactive form of marketing that uses one or more advertising media to influence a quantifiable reaction or transaction at any given location (Koekemoer & Bird, 2004). Direct marketing allows marketers the chance to be selective and they can target specific segments of customers. It is very effective in that its results are measurable and the messages used in marketing can be customized to fit the specific customers that ate targeted. Directed marketing can be facilitated through the means of direct mail, direct selling, telemarketing, direct response adverts, catalogs and the internet.
Koekemoer and Bird (2004) describe sales promotion as any activity that offers incentives for a short duration of time to stimulate a desired response for example a trial or purchase from the target audience. The main uses for the sales promotion is to enhance personal selling efforts, combat competition, attract new customers, introduce new products, increase retail inventories and get existing consumers to purchase more. For any sales promotion to be a success in supporting the other components of the marketing communication, it should be targeted to three groups. The first is the internal marketing organization in other word the sales force. The second target is the retailers, wholesalers who fall under the distribution channels members. The third target is the consumers themselves.
Percy (2008) defines it as the person-to-person communication where a seller assists and persuades perspective buyers to buy suitable goods or services. It is advantageous in that the existence of direct contact between the buyer and seller makes it more flexible, it allows for more direct feedback, it allows messages to be tailored to fit specific customers and sales can be targeted to particular customers and markets who offer the best returns.
Public relations under Integrated Marketing Communication use certain tools for its enhancement. These include publicity, fund raising, special publications, community participation in activities and special events sponsorship. Koekemoer and Bird (2004) are of the opinion that public relations equates to the management through communication of perceptions and strategic relationships between an organization and its interior and exterior stakeholders. When used appropriately, public relations can enhance the organization significantly.
Interactive/ Internet Marketing
This is a form of marketing through interactive media, which allows a two-way flow of information. The users can participate in and adjust the contents of the information they receive in real time. This form of marketing has been enhanced by the new media such as the internet the World Wide Web, emails and mobile technology.
This is the non-personal communication aimed at promoting an organization’s products, services, ideas or image. It is not done directly under an identified sponsorship. Publicity usually comes in form of announcements, editorials or news stories about an organization and its products or services. It is advantageous in that it is credible, usually results in word of mouth and it comes at a low cost.
Factors Firms Use in Planning and Measurement of Success
Any firm that applies Integrated Marketing Communication has to have a strategy through understanding its target audience, the brand, the competition and other internal and external factors. The three factors that a firm should use as marketing metrics and as a measure of success are as discussed below.
This is known by the number of customers in the market that are able to name a company’s brand. This allows marketers to quantify levels and trends in consumer knowledge and awareness of a brand’s existence. The most popular brand would be measured on impulse while the lesser-known ones would be measured timely. This is at times compared with market penetration to assess the depth in which a certain brand has penetrated the market. It aims at knowing the brand coverage and reach.
The firm uses this to determine the product or brand usage. It is determined by measuring the frequency and weight of the product use. It can be dome by contrasting between heavy and light buyers. The difference found between the two is used to find a basis for the product usage across a market.
It includes the frequency of purchase or the maintenance rates of customers that can be rolled up to an overall market share, brand equity and customer lifetime value. The most used buyer metric is usually the Average Order Value (AOV) that is used to comprehend and contrast different buyers. Customer attitudes also come close and can instrumental in appreciating the worth of every customer who buys a product from the company regardless of which outlets they buy from.
Koekemoer, L., & Bird, S. (2004). Marketing communications. Lansdowne, South Africa: Juta Academic.
Percy, L. (2008). Strategic integrated marketing communication: Theory and practice. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann.