The following is Part 2 of a 3-part series providing a basic overview of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).
The channels available to the IMC practitioner are numerous, yet should be considered and selected according to the potential for reaching the desired audience and effectively delivering the appropriate message as well as other determining factors (i.e. cost, available resources, etc.). In Part 1, I presented and defined the following five channels, or components of an IMC campaign: advertising, direct marketing, digital/Internet marketing, sales promotions and public relations. Although personal selling plays an important role in the promotional mix, Belch and Belch (2018) posited that, for most organizations “it is not a direct part of the IMC program… managed separately… and is not under the control of the advertising or marketing communications manager” (p. 27). As a result, this promotional tactic was not included in the discussion.
In Part 2, I will discuss recommended evaluation strategies regarding the effectiveness of an IMC campaign, and Part 3 will revolve around the justification of the value for each component.
Strategies for Evaluating the Effectiveness of an IMC Campaign
A variety of tests can be conducted on the different components of an IMC campaign to identify effectiveness. Belch and Belch (2018) provides examples of evaluation strategies used for advertising and direct marketing such as pretests and posttest which are conducted prior to a campaign being implemented and after an ad has been used. Examples of specific pretests and posttest include concept tests, consumer juries, recall tests and tracking studies.
To measure the overall effects of online advertising, tactics used in digital and Internet marketing, some research firms have initiated traditional advertising effectiveness testing that measure recall, retention, sales and return on investment (ROI). Additionally, Internet-specific measures may be incorporated such as audience measures and commercial effectiveness.
Belch and Belch (2018) also provides examples of evaluation strategies for other IMC components. Sales promotions can be measured by Retail Promotion Effectiveness which aids with identifying when products should be included in a sales promotion tactic, and awareness and sales tracking studies to evaluate the effectiveness of tactics such as coupons and sweepstakes.
Sponsorship, a form of PR, can be measured according to the exposure obtained by media coverage as a result of the sponsorship. This strategy measures the quantity and nature of the coverage. Additionally, surveys can be used to measure the “awareness, familiarity, preferences… attitude toward sponsors and their product, and image effect” (Belch & Belch, 2018, p. 645).
Luxton et al. (2015) proposed that the most readily evaluated outcome of an IMC campaign is the effectiveness which can be assessed through criteria such as cost to the brand as well as customer awareness and recall measurements. Kerr and Patti (2015) provided information on a variety of ways to measure the effective of an IMC campaign. One popular measurement they discussed was the communications audit as “an in-depth research method for evaluating IMC relationship-building efforts” (Kerr & Patti, 2015, p. 323). This type of strategy would aid with the measurement of components that affect relationships with customers such as direct marketing, digital and Internet marketing, and PR.
A strategy that measures advertising and the potential to stimulate demand for a product is called the Advertising Opportunity Score (AOS). According the Kerr and Patti (2015), this strategy not only measures the effectiveness of advertising on brand demand, but other IMC components such as sales promotions and direct marketing.
A lot of businesses and ad agencies don’t evaluate campaigns due to the cost or time constraints. Do you think that is a wise decision? Or should all campaigns be measured for effectiveness??
References Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. A. (2018). Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective (Vol. 11th). New York: McGrawl-Hill Education. Jankovic, M. (2012). Integrated marketing communications and brand identity development. Journal for Theory and Practice Management, 63, 91-100. Keller, K. L. (2016). Unlocking the power of Integrated Marketing Communications: How integrated is your IMC program? Journal of Advertising, 45(3), 286-301. doi:10.1080/00913367.2016.1204967 Kerr, G., & Patti, C. (2015). Strategic IMC: From abstract concept to marketing management tool. Journal of Marketing Communication, 21(5), 317-339. doi:10.1080/13527266.2013.786748 Luxton, S., Reid, M., & Mavondo, F. (2015). Integraed marketing communication capability and brand performance. Journal of Advertising, 44(1), 37-46. doi:10.1080/00913367.2014.934938 Reinold, T., & Tropp, J. (2012, April). Integrated marketing communications: How can we measure its effectiveness? Journal of Marketing Communications, 18(2), 113-132. doi:10.1080/13527266.2010.489334 Smith, B. G. (2010, Spring). Beyond promotion: Conceptualizing public relations in integrated marketing communications. International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, 47-57.