Integrated Marketing Communication

During the 1980s, many companies came to see the need for more of a strategic integration of their promotional tools. These firms began moving toward the process of integrated marketing communications (IMC), which involves coordinating the various promotional elements and other marketing activities that communicate with a firm’s customers.

IMC is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost.

  • Process for managing customer relationships that drive brand value
  • Its foundation is communication
  • Cross-functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationships with customers other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups and encouraging data-driven, purposeful dialog with them.

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost. This integration affects all firm’s business-to-business, marketing channel, customer focused, and internally directed communications.

A task force from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (the “4As”) developed one of the first definitions of integrated marketing communications:

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 — for example, general advertising, direct response, sales promotion, and public relations — and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum communications impact.

Comparison of Traditional versus IMC perspectives

Traditional Marketing Communications Integrated Marketing Communications
Separate functions: fragmentation Integrated into one strategy: synergy
Starts with organization (goals, products) Customer orientated
Specialist practitioners Generalists
Fragmented communication programmes Consistent communication programmes
Shorter-term objectives Relationship/brand building objectives
Mass audiences Targeted to stakeholder segments

The integrated marketing communications approach seeks to have a company’s entire marketing and promotional activities project a consistent, unified image to the marketplace. It calls for a centralized messaging function so that everything a company says and does communicates a common theme and positioning.

To understand the relationship of advertising and integrated marketing communication is to think of a marketing communication as a pyramid made out of playing cards. Advertising, sales promotion, public relation, direct marketing, digital marketing and viral communication, are the cards which contributes towards making of pyramid. A well balanced communication will always require all to work together in sync so as right and clear messages are delivered. Hence when strategizing a plan, think integrated marketing communication as everything that an organization does to facilitate dialog between company and consumer.

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