Integrated marketing communication aids in brand communication and entails the incorporation of different modes, which facilitate a seamless experience for customers. Tone and style play a critical role in the presentation of integrated marketing communication, and their similarity in the presentation of integrated communication marketing is paramount. The criteria behind their similarity are for reinforcing the brand’s core message. Thus, integrated marketing communication aims at maximizing the cost effectiveness of various components relevant in brand communication such as social media work, sales promotion, direct marketing, public relations, and online communication. The main goal of integrated marketing communication is to facilitate the brand communication methods to function collectively. Various components are involved in IMC, and these include the corporate culture, integration tools, foundation, consumer experience, promotional tools, and communication tools. Another essential criterion under IMC involves the marketing plan, which should incorporate all the components under the marketing mix. However, it should be noted that for the IMC to be effective, essential communications elements should be selected.
This paper explores the theory of and practice of integrated marketing communication.
According to Blakeman (2007 p 92), various components fall under IMC. Firstly, it is the foundation, which requires strategic knowledge regarding the market and product. The understanding of the market and product requires that a company that wants to incorporate IMC should be familiar with the buyer attitudes, anticipated behaviour by competitors, and technological changes that influence the market. The second IMC component is the corporate culture. Corporate culture gives credence to the indivisibility of brands from vision and capabilities. Brand focus abounds as the third IMC component and entails the brand’s corporate identity, core message, tagline, logo, and the style (Jain, 2008 p 142). Fourthly, consumer experience bases on the product experience and how a product has been designed and packaged. Communication tools also play a critical role under the components of IMC, and they centre on all modes of direct marketing, advertising, and online communications of the brand. Promotional tools also feature under IMC, and they include public relations and sponsorship programs, trade promotions, database marketing, consumer relations, and personal selling. Lastly, integration tools also play a significant role in IMC, and they include tracking software in relation to the effectiveness of a campaign and customer behaviour. Two examples of software under this category include the marketing automation and inbound marketing software and the customer relationship management software.
Kitchen (2004) asserts that the marketing mix component is what avails the way IMC is practiced. It is common knowledge that the internet has significantly influenced business operations around the globe. Notably, it has facilitated the differentiation of variables such as positioning, segmentation, and targeting. In addition, it has changed the marketing of new products and services. Particularly, Shimp (2008 p82) indicates that it has shifted the aim of marketing from broadcasting of products and services by firms to a new class, which entails conversation between marketers and customers. Incorporation of the marketing mix is what has catapulted the internet as a new way of marketing. Various elements are involved under marketing mix, and these include promotion, personal selling, sponsorship marketing, internet marketing, and database marketing. Thus, it can be concluded that IMC is practiced through the incorporation of various types of advertising, marketing, and sales effort. This means that a complete IMC plan facilitates the integration of harmony between customers and clients. Communication emerges as the paramount intention for IMC, which involves the creation and maintenance of communication to employees and customers.
Thus, a marketing plan is essential in practicing IMC as it facilitates the use of the marketing mix component. A good marketing plan should inculcate the use of marketing tactics, situation analysis, evaluation of performance, marketing objectives, marketing strategies, and a marketing budget. This means that the use of media and consistency of message are essential in an IMC practice, which means that offline and online marketing channels are critical. Smith et al. (1999 p65) affirm that online marketing as one of the ways that IMC is practiced involves the utilization of e-marketing campaigns such as email, internet TV, micro-blogging, affiliate, podcasts, and internet radio. On the other hand, offline marketing in the IMC practice involves the use of television, magazines, industry relations, radio, and public relations (Shimp, 2008 p112). Basing on the aforementioned channels, it can be concluded that IMC entails a data driven approach, which seeks to identify consumer insights and develop a strategy that inculcates both online and offline channels that will promote the relationship between the brand and consumers.
In conclusion, integrated marketing communication aids in brand communication and entails the incorporation of different modes, which facilitate a seamless experience for customers. Various components under IMC include the foundation, integration tools, corporate culture, promotional tools, consumer experience, and communication tools. The marketing mix component is what gives credence to how IMC is practiced because a good marketing plan should incorporate all the components of a marketing mix, which include the product, place, price, and promotion. The internet has significantly influenced the practice of IMC because it has shifted the way marketing was deemed in the past to be more like a conversation involving the marketers and consumers. It has facilitated the differentiation of variables such as targeting, positioning, and segmentation. Offline and online marketing channels comprise of how IMC is practiced. Research asserts that IMC is practiced through a best combination of both offline and online marketing, which will facilitate the strengthening of consumer-brand relationship. Thus, it can be concluded that IMC is a data driven practice.