Last week we introduced the topic of integrated marketing communications (IMC). In the world of marketing, IMC is a term that has survived the developments of the modern digital era. The reason for this is simple: the advantages and strengths that an IMC strategy gives any marketing department are enduring and vital to its success.
A quick recap then on integrated marketing communication and what it is.
What is Integrated Marketing Communication?
An IMC strategy aims to breakdown barriers and silo that would otherwise divide departments. It connects all strategies and initiatives together into a unified front. St. Bonaventure University (SBU) explains it as “an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force.”
So why do you need an IMC strategy?
3 Key Reasons Why You Need an Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy
1. Build Brand Recognition and Trust
Let’s say you have a friend named Tom. In the morning, Tom tells you that drinking his homemade apple juice will fight cancer due to the high level of antioxidants. You may or may not believe him, but that’s what he’s telling you. That afternoon, however, he proudly informs you that his homemade apple juice will actually cure cancer. You start to get a little dubious. By evening, you’ve heard that Tom’s homemade apple juice will help heal broken bones, fix your migraines, cure cancer, help you pay off your mortgage, and make you rich by next month.
Clearly Tom has some other issues, but let’s assume that his apple juice is good for you and that he’s just having trouble communicating that. That vague communication, the back and forth, casts doubt on the validity of his claims and the product. Would you want to buy a product when you’ve heard conflicting messages?
It’s a lot easier to trust a brand that speaks to its audience consistently. To build brand trust it’s important to maintain consistent brand messaging across all platforms. Audiences want security above all else – they want to know that they made the right choice, and if you’re sending them mixed messages they are not going to commit.
2. Increase Audience Reach
With consistent messaging across more channels not only builds stronger brand awareness, trust, and loyalty, it also lets you reach a larger number of people. Let’s say for a moment you are looking to advertise Tom’s Homemade Apple Juice (properly this time), and your target is female office workers. If you launched your advertising campaign int he form of posters and stuck them only in the male bathrooms, you’re going to be in trouble. Let’s say you hung them only in one hallway in the building, what would that achieve? Better reach, certainly, but still limited. You’d be missing out on a large slice of your prospective audience. Having an awareness of IMC allows brands to create a multi-pronged marketing campaign that targets a wider audience. It would be like hanging those posters in every hallway and every office throughout the building. But just that building. So it’s reaching your targeted audience, but this time it’s reaching a larger slice of them.
With increased data from your running campaigns – on each metaphorical floor – you gather more information which will allow you to finetune your approach. Perhaps the majority of women frequent specific floors, and as such your saturation of those floors should increase accordingly. In this case, of course, floors are your channels – and you want to be where your audience is.
3. Yields Higher Positive ROI
So, we’ve show you how an IMC can build trust, brand awareness, customer loyalty, and help you increase your audience reach. All of these things mean that a strong integrated marketing communications can lead to a higher positive return on investment (ROI) and revenues. A strong, consistent messaging targeted at a specific audience on the correct channels means better targeted and consisten ad spend as well. Less wastage of campaign budgets and a clearer picture of the insights from campaigns. Consolidating and integrating your marketing efforts means that you can easily adjust to changing trends as well, and that means saving resources on materials when circumstances change.
In short, a good IMC strategy gives you better control and a deeper understanding of the advertising campaigns.
An integrated marketing communications strategy can help any brand earn its position and market share. It breaks down internal walls that might otherwise create silos between departments and even inside each department. As a result, it’s important to approach digital marketing strategies, crafting brand narratives, and reaching our target audiences, with a single, consolidated strategy. Building up an integrated approach across the board to all your marketing and communications campaigns can be the one thing that defines your brand’s strength.
If you’re not sure where to start, that’s alright – you’re not alone, we can help you find the best way to get started. Integrated marketing communications can seem overwhelming, but we’ve got hands-on experience with establishing a strong strategy that can help you achieve your business outcomes.