Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is a process under which a company integrates and coordinates all its communications channels to deliver a clear and consistent message. The main aim of IMC is to ensure two things, which are, firstly the consistency of the message that they want to deliver and secondly the complementary use of media. In the IMC process, all the marketing tools, approaches and resources available within a company are used in a way that results in maximum profits and minimum cost.
The 8 majorly used IMC tools are:
- Advertising: This tool of IMC refers to any paid form of non personal promotions of products and services by a public figure and identified sponsor. The various forms of media used are print, broadcast, network, electronic and display. Advertising form of communication reached geographically dispersed consumers.
- Sales Promotions: Sales promotions are a variety of short-term incentive to encourage trial or purchase of product or service. This usually includes consumer promotions- such as distribution of free samples, coupons on purchase of higher quantity, discounts and premiums or trade promotions, focusing on retailers, such as display and merchandising allowances, volume discounts, pay for performance incentives and incentives on salespersons.
- Personal Selling: This tool of marketing is done through face-to-face interaction with consumers. The whole purpose of personal selling is making presentations, answering questions and taking orders. Personal selling helps in maintaining long term relations with the customer. The main advantage is that the message can be customized as per the needs of the customer.
- Public Relations: PR is a two way communication process which is directed towards improving the relationship between the organization and the public. This method of communication monitors the feedback of the customers and adjusts its message for providing maximum benefits to them.
- Direct Marketing: This method of communication includes the usage of mail, telephones, fax or internet to communicate with or respond back to the customers or prospects. Companies usually have a database of contact details of consumer through which they directly contact the customers to send catalogues and other marketing material making it easier for the consumer to purchase online.
- Events and Experiences: These are the activities sponsored by the company and the programs designed to create brand related interactions with customers. Companies provide customers to get an experience of using the product which eventually ends up leading to a higher brand recall than their competitors. These events and experiences leave the customers heart filled with an emotional touch and memory that they carry along.
- Social Media Marketing: This tool of marketing is currently the most common way to attract most audience in the digital era. This basically refers to the process of promoting business or websites through social media platforms. These platforms help companies to get major attention of customers and interact with them.
- Mobile Marketing: This form of marketing involves communicating with the customer directly via their mobile devices, by sending simple marketing messages. This method is cheaper than the traditional forms of promotions and is a really streamlined version of online marketing. Advertisements that we see on mobile applications are a common example of mobile marketing.
The bottom line is for a company to be doing well in the market today needs to have a well integrated marketing communication mix.