What is integrated marketing communications?
This is a marketing concept that ensures all forms of communications and messages carefully connected together. To describe it in a simple manner, integrated marketing communications or IMC, refers to how an organisation integrates all its promotional elements so they complement each other.
For instance, if you open a sports merchandising company in Southampton, your marketing efforts will range from ad placements in local sports publications to point of sales posters at your store, and online display ads. IMC ensures that the theme, copy and other brand identity elements remain consistent across these various channels.
Why is integrated marketing important for business growth?
As a business just opening in Southampton, one of the first marketing objectives would be to create awareness. You would want residents to know about your products and services across South East England, including Hampshire, and near Portsmouth. By linking all promotional elements together, IMC ensures there is no brand confusion. A person who finds out about your business for the first time on print media will recognise it when they read about it online or encounter it in-store.
Brand awareness and recognition is critical to business success. Integrated marketing unifies all brand touchpoints so that a returning consumer can easily recognise your product when they want to make a repeat purchase. Such continuous patronage drives loyalty and promotes business growth.
How is integrated marketing an effective communication tool?
In integrated marketing, the sum is greater than its parts. All business communication tools work better when they operate in harmony as opposed to independently. IMC gives brands the opportunity to speak consistently with one voice at all times, every time.
Are there other levels to integrated marketing beyond basic communications tools?
Yes, there are. Promotion is enhanced when they are employed together. Other levels of integration include horizontal, vertical, external and data integration. They all work together to strengthen integrated marketing in the following ways:
This occurs across the marketing mix and through various business functions. For example, finance, distribution, production and communications should work in tandem and be aware that their decisions and actions communicate messages to customers.
Different departments such as direct mail, sales and advertising can work together through data integration. This requires a robust marketing information system that retrieves and disseminates relevant data across different departments.
Vertical integration refers to when marketing communication objectives support the higher level corporate missions and objectives.
This requires internal marketing activities; here all staff are kept informed and motivated about the latest developments, from new ad campaigns to new service standards, new corporate identities, new strategic partners, collaborators and so on.
External integration is the use of external partners such as PR or advertising agencies to work closely to provide a single uniform solution- a consistent message- an integrated message.
What other benefits does an integrated marketing campaign provide?
Although IMC may require significant effort to deliver it many benefits, it can give your company competitive advantage over other players in the same marketspace. Other benefits include sales and profits generation, time and cost savings as well as stress reduction.
Integrated marketing wraps communications around customers and guides them through the various stages of the purchase journey. At the same time, the organisation establishes its image, starts up conversations and nurtures its relationships with new and existing customers.
Relationship marketing solidifies the company’s bond with customers and prevents other businesses from ‘stealing’ them away. It is a powerful competitive advantage to be able to keep your customer for a lifetime.
How does an integrated marketing campaign drive business profits?
An IMC increases profits by increasing efficiency. At its most fundamental level, a cohesive message is more effective than a series of disorganised messages. In our dynamic world, a uniform, crystal clear, consolidated message has a better chance of cutting through the clutter of hundreds of messages which your customers are exposed to every day.
When is an integrated marketing campaign necessary?
As mentioned previously, when you plan to establish your company’s presence in a new territory, an IMC is an ideal way to start. It drives awareness across various channels and reaches your different audience groups. New product launches, sales promotions and rebranding campaigns could use a carefully planned IMC strategy to ensure every customer is reached.
Regardless of your company size, you can carry out an effective integrated marketing campaign without breaking budget. The key is finding the right partners for a successful external integration.
Egnut, your ideal integrated marketing communications partner
Egnut is a marketing communications company based in Southampton. Our processes stem from data-driven, intelligence led strategies that guarantee our clients the results they want.
Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, our professional team has years of experience in providing clients with communications solutions that endear them to their customers. Some of our clients include Carnival UK, University of Southampton, Ordnance Survey, ABP, BBC South Southampton Solent University, Southampton Airport, and the NHS.
The effects of our communications expertise have been felt across Southampton. Hundreds of businesses operating in Eastleigh, Totton, Romsey, and Winchester (to name a few) have benefited significantly from our services.