6 Elements of Integrated Marketing Communications

Key Takeaways:

  • Elements of integrated marketing communication is a mix of different methods of brand promotions that communicate effectively, to promote a particular product/service among target customers. 
  • The main aim of the marketing promotional mix is the consistency of the message and complementary use of media.
  • Brands need to adopt a multi-channel approach with the advent of modern tools and access all opportunities to connect with their customers.

To effectively promote your brand, you need to communicate efficiently! Communication involves meaningful exchanging or sharing of ideas. Brands use various mediums to communicate about themselves and coordinate with their various Elements of Integrated Marketing Communication efforts in alignment. The modern tools of integrated marketing communication enhance the consumer experience and impact the messages being conveyed to the consumer. An IMC perspective is required for any company to develop a total marketing communications strategy that recognize all of the ways a company can communicate with its customers. To know how different brands use IMC tools for their promotion, click here – https://instagram.com/officialm360?utm_medium=copy_link 

Integrated marketing communication is a concept where the company carefully integrates and coordinates through its communications channels to deliver a clear and consistent message. Elements of integrated marketing communications aim to ensure the consistency of these messages and the complementary use of media. The main objective of delivering their message through various elements of integrated marketing communication is to create a seamless experience for customers by various aspects of the marketing promotional mix. Elements of integrated marketing communication work towards creating, delivering, managing and evaluating the brand message. These messages and other related media are used to communicate with the market/customers as a part of their marketing promotional mix.  

Thus, it is a marketing promotional mix strategy used by brands to reach out to their target market through various elements of integrated marketing communications because brands do not want to miss any opportunity to mark their presence wherever potential customers are available. Thus, these different elements provide them with a platform to communicate with their customers and create a strong brand recall value. 

Integrated marketing communications is a long–term ongoing process and not just like any other campaign. It focuses on strategic planning, refinement of communication, and proper channel analysis. It is a customer-centric approach. Marketing nowadays, unlike in the past, is focused on what people want rather than what firms want to sell. Therefore, it revolves around aligning the objective with the goals a company wants to achieve with their marketing promotional mix.

Integrated marketing communication planning requires its elements to be in coordination along with adding value to a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines. The end goal of this promotional mix is to inform, persuade, remind the target audience about their presence, modify purchase behaviour/thoughts, educate customers and retain them. This movement is driven by changes in the ways companies market their products and services. The continuing revolution that is redefining the norms of marketing is one of the primary reasons for the IMC approach’s growing significance.

Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications

Integrated marketing perfectly blends conventional outbound marketing with inbound marketing and other marketing approaches to help companies achieve faster growth and increase their brand identity.

The synergy that fits between the elements of integrated marketing communications creates brand recognition, trust and loyalty. Brands tend to connect with their target audience across various platforms many times, they start to interact and resonate with their audience. These channels make the communication reliable enough to share their brand story and message. At this stage, the target audience is more likely to understand and trust the brand. 

This consistent execution of this process is achievable with an integrated marketing communications approach. Having an integrated marketing promotional mix strategy will help the brand to engage with your customers to build brand recognition, trust, and loyalty, ultimately resulting in greater profitability.

This approach also helps in connecting the businesses to massive audiences. The number of customers an organization can meet by having more contact networks increases. Hence, it also adds to providing a higher return on investments. When any company delivers a consistent message to broad markets across different platforms, sales will naturally improve.  

Marketing communications develops a strategic vision about leveraging over various marketing opportunities due to the wide marketing promotional mix. It curates a distinctive identity in the market and the minds of the consumer due to the availability of being present at all platforms where their consumers are existing.

IMC increases brand awareness. It provides the required impetus to the brand awareness in an indirect manner as a strategy that outperforms the strong legacy of the brand followed by the features and unique selling proposition of the products and services. 

Understanding the importance of the elements of integrated marketing communication helps the company to promote their offerings in unconventional and unique ways in a positive light giving tough competition to their rival companies. This works as a pull factor for the customers.

6 Elements of Integrated Marketing Communications

Different elements of integrated marketing communications make up a complete marketing strategy that operates at different levels of their efficiency. Thus, let’s understand different elements of IMC in detail:

1. Advertising:

Advertisement is any paid form of nonpersonal communication about a brand, organization, product, service or idea identified by a sponsor. The word “paid” reflects the space or time given for an advertising message to be conveyed to the consumers. The “nonpersonal” component involves sharing the message to a larger group of audience at the same time. This generally involves the media. Though it lacks the scope for immediate feedback and hence the advertiser has to consider how their target audience would respond and interpret it accordingly. 

Advertising is a valuable tool to provide consumers with all the information, keep them updated and influence their perception. It can be used to create favourable, unique images and associations for a brand. This helps to create a functional difference between the brand and its competitors. It is one such way where great brands can actually be great brands. 

Various types of advertising are:

  • Online advertising – It is a form of advertising in which a message is conveyed through the use of the internet. It is effective in terms of targeting a specific group. Eg – Google earns 60% of its revenue from running ads.
  • Television advertisements – It aims at mass communication to spread information and awareness among the public. Eg – FMCG brands advertising their new product launch or discounts through television ads. 
  • Print advertisement – It is a form of marketing where ads are physically printed in newspapers, magazines, brochures etc. Print ads have a wider reach but have a very short span of life and are expensive. It is gradually a decreasing form of advertisement. Eg – Amul giving a newspaper advertisement about its new “Amul Taaza” milk offering the best prices.

2. Sales Promotion:

Sales promotions are those marketing activities that serve extra value or incentives to the sales force, distributors or even customers to stimulate immediate sales. It helps in drawing the attention of the customers by offering an invitation to engage in any transaction by giving them various types of incentives. It serves as a short-term incentive to encourage the trial or purchase of any product or service. It is a push strategy applied at a higher level to boost sales of the product. 

Types of sales promotions are:

  • Consumer-oriented sales – It is focused on the consumer for stimulating short term sales. There are various methods that brands can choose for running a sales promotion like – discounts, coupons, premium give away, sample give away, contests, two-for deals, rebates, loyalty programs, and free shipping, etc.
  • Trade oriented sales – It is focused on marketing intermediaries for stimulating sales that include distributors, wholesalers and retailers. Some of the promotional tools are – sales contests, trade shows, merchandise allowances etc.

3. Personal Selling:

Personal selling is the most original form of marketing. It involves a person–to–person selling where the salesperson convinces the customer about their product or service to make a purchase. The advantage of this type of selling is that the message can be tweaked and customized to the needs of the buyer. The focus is on building a long-term relationship with the buyer. 

Companies relied on personal selling for marketing communication in the past, when media such as television, radio, and online platforms were not as prominent. This method is slightly expensive in some cases since it requires giving commission to the salesperson for every unit they sell. It is a slow approach as you can communicate to only one potential customer at a time. 

Types of personal selling are:

  • Order takers – Order takers are the ones who receive requests and queries from the customers. In simple terms, the customer approaches these salespersons directly. They hold positions like a telemarketer or retail sales assistant and target mainly on determining customer needs while pointing to the required inventory that meets such needs. Eg – You go to McDonald’s’ outlet and the salesperson there takes your order for food. 
  • Order Getters – They reach out to new prospects and persuade them to make a direct purchase. They are on-the-field salespersons who look after bringing in new clients to increase their business.
  • Order Creators: Order creators effectively persuade the customers to promote the business proposal which leads to sales eventually. However, they are not responsible for closing any deal. Eg – a pharmaceutical company reaches out to a doctor and persuades him to prescribe a particular company’s medicine.

4. Direct Marketing:

Direct marketing refers to directly communicating with your target audience/ customer to generate a response, transaction or any purchase. It involves a variety of activities direct mailing, fax, telephone, telemarketing etc through various forms of media. Companies maintain a database of customer contact information from which they send catalogues and other marketing materials, making it easier for customers to shop online. The relevance of direct marketing has increased in recent years.

Shoppers have started relying on credit cards and online purchasing more than ever which makes it essential for marketers to approach the consumers directly thus helping them in the purchase process. This method is quite beneficial for those companies which use promotional codes, discount coupons, special offers as the marketing strategies or when your business is heavily dependent on the repurchase etc. You can send them discount coupons, catalogues, postcards, or letters on special days for retaining customers. Eg – Under Armour, one of the leading companies in the performance apparel market, generates most of its sales through selling its products in sports retail stores along with its website.

5. Public Relations:

Public relations refers to evaluating public attitudes, identifying policies and procedures of the company with the public interest and executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance towards the brand. It uses promotional tools like publicity, fundraising, participation in community activities, sponsorship of special events etc. to enhance its brand image. It is a strong communication tool that takes over the functions of conventional advertising and marketing. 

It is a two-way communication that can monitor feedback and adjust its message for providing maximum benefit. A common tool used here is publicity which capitalizes on the news value of the product or service so that the information can be disseminated to the news media. It also possesses the capability to reach hard-to-find consumers who avoid targeted communications. Eg – Pepsi brought augmented reality to the movie theatre bathroom. It was promoted with #livefornow and reached a wider audience with Halloween rank.

6. Internet Marketing:

Internet marketing involves the use of the Internet and related digital technologies for achieving marketing objectives. Interactive media allows the information to flow back and forth where users can modify the form of content they receive in real-time. 

The Internet is a multifaceted promotional tool and its interactive nature brings it to the best advantage at use. In today’s world, the internet is actually a medium that executes all other elements of integrated marketing communications. Mobiles have been a huge source to reach a mass audience just at a click of a button. Brands develop creative ways to reach their customers even by establishing personalized applications for their companies. Eg – Starbucks developed apps for iPhone users which allowed customers to find the nearest Starbucks outlet, recipes, look for nutritional information and manage their gift cards. 

Click here, to know more about other IMC tools.

Conclusion

Integrated marketing communication functions use omnichannel marketing with a multi-channel approach. It attempts to create a cohesive content and marketing strategy for any business. IMC helps you reach your customers effectively irrespective of what platform your consumer uses. Integrated marketing communication enables all aspects of the promotional marketing mix to work together in harmony to promote a particular product or service effectively among end-users. Thus, it is imperative for the company to do continuous research on the current marketing trends in the market and be open to trying out new and novel ideas for the promotion of products and services.

Khyati Henia

Content Writer

Anushka Bhogle

Graphic Designer

Riha Parikh

Editor

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