Chapter 15 – Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
IMC – Represents the promotion dimension of the 4 P’s; encompasses a variety of communication
disciplines – general advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing and
electronic media – in combination to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communicative impact.
IMC programs regard each of the firms marketing elements as part of a whole, each of which
offers a different means to connect with its target audience.
Integration of elements provide the firm with the best means to reach the target audience with
the desired message, and it enhances the value of the story by offering a clear and consistent
Three components of any IMC strategy include the consumer or target market, the channels or
vehicles through which the message is communicated, and the evaluation of results of
Communicating With Consumers
Sender – The firm from which the IMC message originates; the sender must be clearly identified
to the intended audience
Transmitter- An agent or intermediary with which the sender works to develop the marketing
communications; for example, a firms creative department or an advertising agency
Encoding- The process of converting the senders ideas into a message, which could be verbal,
visual, or both
o Deceptive advertising – A representation, omission, act or practice in advertisement
that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances
Communication channel – The medium; print, broadcasts, the internet or etc. that carries the
The Receiver – The person who reads, hears or sees the information contained in the message
o Decoding – the process by which the receiver interprets the senders message.
Noise – Any interference that stems from competing messages, a lack of clarity in the message,
or a flaw in the medium; a problem for all communication channels
o If there is a difference between what the sender intends to communicate and what the
receivers hears, it is usually due to noise
Feedback Loop – Allows the receiver to communicate with the sender and thereby informs the
sender whether the message was received and decoded properly
o Feedback can take many forms – customers purchase, complaint or compliment etc.
How Consumers Perceive Communication
Receivers Decode Messages Differently – Each receiver decodes message in their own way.
different people shown the same message will often take radically different meanings
Senders Adjust Messages According to the Medium and Receivers Traits – Different media
communicate very different messages. Marketers adjust their messages and media depending
on whether they want to communicate with customers, suppliers, general public etc. Integrated Marketing Communication Tools – firm must deliver the right message to the
right audience, through the right media. Advances in technology have led to variety to new advertising
platforms such as SMS, satellite and internet radio, brand-sponsored websites etc.
Advertising – A paid form of communication form an identifiable source, delivered through a
communication channel and designed to persuade the receiver to take some action now or in
o Extremely effective for creating awareness of a product and generating interest
o Since 90’s total expenditure on advertisement has decreased to support increases in
other forms of sales promotions such as direct marketing and PR
Personal Selling – The two way flow of communication between a buyer and seller that is
designed to influence the buyers purchase decision
o Take place in various settings – Face to face, video teleconferencing, telemarketing etc.
o Represents important component of B2B marketing campaigns
o Costly but most effective
Sales Promotions – special incentives or programs that encourage the purchase of a product
or service, such as coupon, rebates, contests, free samples, and point of purchase displays
o Typically designed for use in conjunction with other advertising programs
Direct Response Marketing – Sales and promotional techniques that deliver marketing
communications to individual prospective consumers.
o Telephone, mail, infomercials, catalogues, internet, SMS, podcasts etc.
o Allows for greater personalization of the message compared to mass marketing
o Marketers use customer databases which help them understand their consumers
purchase decisions, so they can focus their direct marketing efforts
Public Relations- The organizational function that manages the firms communications to
achieve a variety of objectives, including building and maintaining a positive image, handling or
heading off unfavourable stories or events, and maintaining positive relationships with the
o Supports other promotional efforts by generating “free” media attention
o PR has become more powerful as consumers have become increasingly sceptical of
marketing claims made in other media
o Since they don’t pay for the message PR is essentially the free placement of the firms
message in the media
Cause Related Marketing – Commercial activity in which business and charaties
form a partnership to market an image, a product, or a service for their mutual
benefit; type of promotional campaign – I.E cancer prevention initiatives
Event Sponsorship – When companies financially or otherwise support various
activities, usually in the cultural, sports and entertainment sectors
o Refer to 15.3 for various elements of PR tool kit.
Electronic Media – Tools including website content, corporate blogs, games, text messaging and
o Corporate Blog – a webpage that contains periodic posts; corporate blogs are new form
of marketing communications
Well received blog can create positive word of mouth, customer loyalty,
valuable feedback, and tangible economic results.
o Online games – Way to reach younger consumers; short, online interactive games that
provide information or are related to a product or services elements. o Text Messaging – SMS – 94% of SMS marketing messages are read, 23% are forwarded,
and 8 percent are actually replied too
o Social Media – broad spectrum of online communities (Facebook, Myspace etc.). More
transparency and honesty and because consumers share so much personal info the
communications can be tailored
Steps in Planning IMC Campaign
1. Identify Target Audience – Success depends on how well advertiser can identify market.
Conduct research to identify target audience, then use info to set tone for the advertising
program and select media to be used to deliver message
2. Set Objectives – Need to understand desired outcome before beginning. Can be short-term or
long-term objectives. Objectives should be derived form the overall objectives of the marketing
Advertising Plan – A section of the firms overall marketing plan that explicitly outlines
the objectives of the advertising campaign, how they might be accomplished, and how
the firm can determine its success.
Buyer Readiness Stages (15.5A) – At each stage consumers need info to make
judgments which help t