The following is Part 3 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.
Value of IMC Components
The value of IMC as a whole has resulted in “improved brand outcomes such as market position and financial performance… enabling the development and sustenance of long-term brand value” that contributes to brand equity and obtainment of market advantage (Luxton, Reid, & Mavondo, 2015, p. 37). Each component of IMC contributes to this value in unique ways.
Advertising is the most cost-effective form of communication to reach large numbers of audiences and broad geographical coverage. It aids with building brand awareness and equity, and develops brand image. Jankovic (2012) stated that “every pound spent on advertising in print media in Great Britain brings five times the value or income of five pounds” (p. 98). She also proposed that brands should increase their budget for print and web advertising due to the increasingly effective results.
According to Jankovic (2012), direct marketing provides value through the “development of long-term and trusting relationship building” (p. 95). She added that the personalization, controllability, ease to test effectiveness and success, and the ability to create a customer database provides an opportunity to send clear and consistent messages to a defined target audience which affect the brand image and increases brand awareness. In fact, Jankovic (2012) reported that direct marketing is responsible for more than nine percent of the United States’ economic activity.
The effectiveness of digital and Internet marketing can also be easily measured through analytical programs available online. This IMC component is unique in regards to the relationships building aspects which “create brand awareness, make the customers interested, provide information, influence the attitudes of customers and support communication goals” (Jankovic, 2012, p. 96). Through this component, brands can engage customers like no other component in real-time to discuss positive as well as negative comments and concerns.
Sales Promotions offers value directly to the profit and revenue of the company. By achieving short-term results, sales promotions can be used to increase and intensify sales, secure brand commitment and reinforce the demand from long-term customers.
Finally, the value PR provides to a brand is unique in its own sense. By utilizing PR, a brand can strengthen its image through promotion of understanding and goodwill. This in turn allows the brand to build relationships with stakeholders, build brand credibility, and “create public support… excitement in the market… [and] help consumers understand the quality of the product” (Jankovic, 2012, p. 96).
In conclusion, the IMC practitioner is provided a great deal of opportunities to effectively communicate through multiple components. Those components include advertising, direct marketing, digital/Internet marketing, sales promotions and public relations. Being knowledgeable of the variety of components and tactics available for the IMC practitioner open a vast array of platforms and styles in which to communicate with customers as they travel through the purchase decision process. Identifying how to best measure an IMC campaign offers insight to the effectiveness of each component and the campaign as a whole. Finally, comprehension of the value of each individual component aids with selection in regards to the advantages provided and justifies the effort and cost of the selected components.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief overview of IMC components, evaluation strategies and the value these components bring to an IMC campaign.
How else can IMC create value for a brand?
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.