Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.
The first definition for integrated marketing communication - the American Association of Advertising Agencies (also 4A's) in 1989. The 4A's definition of IMC recognizes the strategic roles of various communication disciplines (advertising, public relations, sales promotions, etc.) to provide clarity, consistency, and increased impact when combined within a comprehensive communications plan. Basically, it is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels.
The Journal of Integrated Marketing Communication from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University refers to IMC as "a strategic marketing process specifically designed to ensure that all messaging and communication strategies are unified across all channels and are centered around the customer.“ IMC is used practically to allow one medium's weakness to be offset by another medium's strength, with elements synergized to support each other and create greater impact.
A more contemporary definition states: "True IMC is the development of marketing strategies and creative campaigns that weave together multiple marketing disciplines (paid advertising, public relations, promotion, owned assets, and social media) that are selected and then executed to suit the particular goals of the brand. „ Instead of simply using various media to help tell a brand's overall story, with IMC the marketing leverages each communication channel's strengths to achieve a greater impact together than each channel could achieve individually. It requires the marketer to understand each medium's limitation, including the audience's ability/willingness to absorb messaging from that medium. This understanding is integrated into a campaign's strategic plan from the very beginning of planning - so that the brand no longer simply speaks with consistency, but speaks with planned efficacy. This concept inherently provides added benefits that include: a singular/synchronized brand voice and experience, cost efficiencies generated through creativity and production, and opportunities for added value and bonus.
First defined by the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 1989, IMC was developed mainly to address the need for businesses to offer clients more than just standard advertising. Overall, an influx of new marketplace trends in the late 20th century spurred organizations to shift from the standard advertising approach to the IMC approach.
A shift From…To… Traditional AdvertisingDigital/Interactive Media Mass MediaSpecialized Media Low Agency AccountabilityHigh Agency Accountability Traditional Compensation Performance-Based Compensation Limited Internet AccessWidespread Internet Availability Why IMC? Five major shifts in the worlds of advertising, marketing and media have caused an increased interest in (and need for) IMC. These include:
Decreasing message impact and credibility: The growing number of commercial messaging made it increasingly more difficult for a single message to have a noteworthy effect. Decreasing costs of databases: The cost of storing and retrieving names, addresses and information from databases significantly declined. This decline allowed marketers to reach consumers more effectively. Increasing client expertise: Clients of marketing and public relations firms became more educated regarding advertising policies, procedures and tactics. Clients began to realize that television advertising was not the only way to reach consumers. Increasing mergers and acquisitions of agencies: Many top public relations firms and advertising agencies became partners or partnered with other communication firms. These mergers allowed for more creativity, and the expansion of communication from only advertising, to other disciplines such as event planning and promotion.
Increasing global marketing: There was a rapid influx in advertising competition from foreign countries. Companies quickly realized that even if they did not conduct business outside their own country, they were now competing in global marketing. Increasing media and audience fragmentation: With the exception of the decline of newspapers, media outlets, such as magazines and television stations, increased from 1980 to 1990. Additionally, companies could use new technologies and computers to target specialized audiences based on factors such as ethnic background or place of residence. Increasing number of overall products: Manufacturers flooded retailers with a great number of new products, many of which were identical to products that already existed. Therefore, a unique marketing and branding approach was crucial to attract customer attention and increase sales.
Level 1: Tactical Coordination and Marketing Communications First, IMC focused on the tactical coordination of diverse marketing such as advertising, promotion, direct response, public relations, and special events. Key focus: delivering “one sight, one sound” via marketing communication. Level 2: Redefining the Scope of Marketing Communication The organization begins to examine communications from the customer’s point of view. Marketing communication begins to give consideration to all sources of brand and company contacts a customer has with the product or service. Management broadens the scope of communication activities to encompass and coordinate internal marketing employees, suppliers, and other business partners and align with the existing external communication programs.
Level 3: Application of Information Technology The organization applies empirical data using IT to provide a basis identity, value, and to monitor the impact of integrated internal and external communication programs to key customer segments over time. Level 4: Financial and Strategic Integration The emphasis shifts to using the skills and data generated in the earlier stages to drive corporate strategic planning using customer information and insights.
Integration has become an essential concept in marketing because technological advances have changed the way how business stakeholders interact.
Online integration: When someone is considering buying a product or service they will often conduct an online search. What they find, on Google and other search engines, as well as information from news sites, review sites, directories, videos and place-based searches, are presented together – they are integrated. The online experience will affect their attitudes towards a brand and their behavior. Marketers therefore need to concern themselves with making sure their brand is found ahead of competitors' and then ensuring their audience has a positive and helpful experience.
Accessibility and convenience: Consumers expect information and services that relate to a brand to be conveniently accessible via its website. http://www.kayak.com/
Aggregation of information The traditional border between a company, its suppliers and customers has become confused. For instance the Apple iTunes app store aggregates software and information from app makers, along with reviews provided by consumers. Product promotion, delivery, service and information from many different sources are seamlessly presented together.
Social media: Traditionally businesses were largely in control of their brand communications. Now brand communications are multidirectional as consumers can easily share, comment and create content. Brands can use this to their advantage by creating appealing content. For instance Unilever’s campaign for Dove, The Dove Real Beauty Sketches went viral with over 54 million views on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE
Growth of mobile: The growing penetration of smartphones with fast internet connectivity means that marketers need to take into consideration integration between the online experience and place-based experiences. For instance when a consumer downloads the Target app they are able to receive coupons to their mobile phone and redeem them at the checkout by presenting the coupon barcode to the cashier.
IMC weaves diverse aspects of business and marketing together. These include: Organizational structure The organization's vision and mission Attitudes and behaviors of employees & partners Communication within the company Four P's (Price, Product,Promotion and Place)
Advertising Broadcasting/mass advertising: broadcasts, print, internet advertising, radio, television commercials Outdoor advertising: billboards, street furniture, stadiums, rest areas, subway advertising, taxis, transit Online advertising: mobile advertising, email ads, banner ads, search engine result pages, blogs, newsletters, online classified ads, media ads
Direct marketing: Direct mail, telemarketing, catalogs, shopping channels, internet sales, e-mails, text messaging, websites, online display ads, fliers, catalog distribution, promotional letters, outdoor advertising, telemarketing, coupons, direct mail, direct selling, mobile
Online/internet marketing E-commerce Search engine optimization (SEO) Search engine marketing (SEM) Mobile Marketing E-mail marketing Content marketing Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Foursquare, Pinterest, YouTube, Wikipedia, Instagram)
Federal Express. Hewlett-Packard. Apple. The list is long and getting longer. One recent example is Saatchi and Saatchi’s 2010 campaign for the Toyota Sienna, which debuted during the Winter Olympics. In a quest to change the image of the minivan and those who drive it, Toyota launched its “Sienna Family” campaign. The campaign features a married Gen X couple trying to balance the reality of having two young children and a minivan with their desire to remain part of the cool crowd, emphasizing how the Sienna makes it all possible.
PR trends you can’t afford to overlook As efficiency is opening the way to successful communication in 2012, here are a few trends that will leave an impact on the Czech market in 2012. PR gains in strategic importance. Hand in hand with sales, business development, marketing and advertising, public relations can and do enhance a company’s efforts to retain its position on the market and grow. This is why we can expect that PR will continue to gain in understanding and recognition from the part of Czech managers, and that more and more competent PR people will join the decision-making boards of local companies. PR people professionalize. While in PR agencies the struggle to transform junior press-release senders into strategic communication advisors has already started, a deeper professionalization will reach in-house communication departments as well. We can expect higher pressure on results and tougher recruitment criteria for in-house PR staff. PR means more than media relations. More and more corporate managers and communication advisors start to understand that, in order to advise a company strategically, it is necessary to include all its publics and stakeholders in the communication scheme. This includes the online and social media publics, which will ultimately lead to a savvier use of digital and social communication tools on the Czech market. PR budget fights. As the number of communication channels continues to increase, and outcome measurement tools remain feeble, we can expect a tougher fight for communication budgets. PR specialists will continue to ask for a bigger piece of the cake that currently goes to marketing and advertising. PR role mix. As publics become more and more fragmented and corporate communication starts to rely more on common sense – one powerful, transparent and genuine message for everybody – the PR role will be mixed more and more with the marketing, social media and business development roles. The outcome? A complex communication specialist who must be on tiptoes all the time in order to react fast to technological developments and shifts in public communication patterns, and who will ask for more and more strategic decision-making power.
For the campaign, Toyota integrated social media into its traditional mix from the outset, inviting those who saw the ads on TV and in print to learn more at the company’s YouTube page. https://www.youtube.com/user/ToyotaUSA And then, on May 2, came “Swagger Wagon”—the now-famous music video in which the Sienna parents perform a hip-hop song about their minivan. The video, which was Toyota’s first viral marketing success to date, has received over 8 million YouTube hits and counting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql-N3F1FhW4
Public relations that is done in house with an internal PR team that handles all aspects of the company's PR needs, opposed to using an agency. PR mohou být prováděny "in-house" nebo prostřednictvím PR agentur. PR agentury zaměstnávají pouze kolem 40 % všech PR odborníků, přesto jsou důležité, protože se v nich realizuje významný podíl obratu a příjmů této podnikatelské činnosti. Příklady velkých, dobře zavedených a prestižních PR firem: Shandwick International Lowe Bell Communications Countrywide Porter Novelli Hill and Knowlton UK Burson-Marsteller Ketchum Communications Citigate Dewe Rogerson Charles Barker BSMG Worldwide Financial Dynamics Quentin Bell Organisation Cohn and Wolfe Lexis PR
PR mohou být prováděny "in-house" nebo prostřednictvím PR agentur. PR agentury zaměstnávají pouze kolem 40 % všech PR odborníků, přesto jsou důležité, protože se v nich realizuje významný podíl obratu a příjmů této podnikatelské činnosti. Příklady velkých, dobře zavedených a prestižních PR firem: Shandwick International Lowe Bell Communications Countrywide Porter Novelli Hill and Knowlton UK Burson-Marsteller Ketchum Communications Citigate Dewe Rogerson Charles Barker BSMG Worldwide Financial Dynamics Quentin Bell Organisation Cohn and Wolfe Lexis PR
Sami, nebo s agenturou? Obojí má svá pro i proti, třetí, často využívanou, možností je „sami s agenturou“. Výhodou inhouse PR oddělení je obvykle samozřejmá znalost vlastní společnosti, dobrá informovanost o novinkách, produktech, službách atd. a také dostatek času. Hlavní pracovní náplní takových zaměstnanců je prostě PR společnosti osm hodin denně pět dní v týdnu.dobránáplní Nevýhodou oproti agentuře je ale omezená zastupitelnost (např. v případě nemoci), příliš jednostranný pohled (jsou moc „in“) a mnohdy i vyšší náklady (sociální, zdravotní, kancelář…). Výhodou najmutí specializované PR agentury je pak právě jasná cena (obvykle měsíční fee) a možnost její provázání na úspěch kampaně (kvalitativní a kvantitativní analýza), zastupitelnost a v neposlední řadě synergický efekt – agentury komunikují s celou řadou novinářů, kteří nás obvykle „nezajímají“, ale u některých novinek bychom rádi zasáhli i je.zdravotníkampaně Obdobně je možná synergie i v cross-promotion s dalšími klienty agentury. Mezi PR konzultanty je navíc spousta bývalých novinářů, kteří vědí, jak téma vyváženě připravit, aby bylo pro média zajímavé, a zároveň mají na své bývalé kolegy dobré vazby a mohou s nimi řadu novinek předem konzultovat. Velké a moderní společnosti proto často kombinují vlastního PR manažera s najmutím agentury, která je mu „k ruce“. Ostatně podobný model využívají často i marketingoví manažeři s reklamními a mediálními agenturami. Jak si agenturu vybrat? PR agentur jsou na českém trhu desítky, jak si vybrat tu správnou? Jednou z možností je obrátit se na Asociaci PR agentur (APRA), která sdružuje jen agentury s mezinárodní certifikací EMS (obdoba „ISO“), což by mělo být zárukou kvality a „zdraví“ agentury. Následuje obvykle vypsání výběrového řízení. Po seznámení se se zadáním připraví každá agentura komunikační strategii a na klientovi už je jen si vybrat, která nejlépe splňuje jeho požadavky a očekávání. Komplexní obrázek doplňují reference agentury, tedy schopnost doložit realizaci kampaní pro klienty ve stejném či podobném oboru atp. Agentura by nám samozřejmě měla vyhovovat také lidsky. Co od ní očekávat? Agenturu máme, co dál? Tak v první řadě je potřeba počítat s tím, že bude chvilku trvat, než se naplno projeví její výsledky. I vzhledem k „reakčnímu času“ novinářů (uzávěrky, nabitý program…) se první výstupy neobjeví hned, ale v případě větších a odbornějších témat třeba až s několikatýdenním zpožděním. Počáteční komunikace agentura – klient bude zřejmě velmi intenzivní, agentura musí klienta a jeho problematiku nejprve detailně poznat a pochopit, všechna témata a zprávy připravit, klient je musí schválit případně s agenturou doladit ke své maximální spokojenosti, novináři musí „novou“ společnost také nejprve „strávit“ a zvyknout si na nové informace a naučit se je využívat.nové Je prostě třeba mít neustále na mysli, že PR je běh na dlouhou trať. A pro dobrý výsledek je lepší nepřepálit start.