Chapter 14 – 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 message
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 communication
COMMUNICATING WITH CONSUMERS
Sender – The firm from which the IMC message originates; the sender must be clearly identified to the intended
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 message
The Receiver – The person who reads, hears or sees the information contained in the message or advertisement
o Decoding – the process by which the receiver interprets the sender’s 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 – confusing words, makes the product more complicated.
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 the future
Extremely effective for creating awareness of a product and generating interest
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
Take place in various settings – Face to face, video teleconferencing, telemarketing etc.
Represents important component of B2B marketing campaigns
Costly but most effective
Salespeople add significant value because they simplify the buying process for customers
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
Typically designed for use in conjunction with other advertising programs and essential to CRM
Direct Marketing – Sales and promotional techniques that deliver marketing communications to individual prospective
consumers directly to generate a response or transaction.
Telephone, mail, infomercials, catalogues, internet, SMS, podcasts etc. Allows for greater personalization of the message compared to mass marketing
Four defining characteristics – it is targeted, motivates an action, is measurable, and can provide information for the
development of a marketing database
Marketers use customer databases which help them understand their consumers purchase decisions, so they can
focus their direct marketing efforts
Direct mail and email – distributed to a prospective consumer’s mailbox or inbox; mailing lists are crucial
o To be effective, need a good contact list and a good offer
Catalogues – used to strategically build their business; most companies with physical catalogues also offer online
Direct Response TV – TV commercials or infomercials with a strong call to action
o Usually appear to be selling products that seem too good to be true
Kiosks – facilitate the way services companies deliver their services to customers
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 media
Supports other promotional efforts by generating “free” media attention
PR has become more powerful as consumers have become increasingly sceptical of marketing claims made in other
Since they don’t pay for the message PR is essentially the free placement of the firms message in the media
o Cause Related Marketing – Commercial activity in which business and charities form a partnership to
market an image, a product, or a service for their mutual benefit; type of promotional campaign – I.E cancer
o Event Sponsorship – When companies financially or otherwise support various activities, usually in the
cultural, sports and entertainment sectors
Refer to 14.4 for various elements of PR tool kit.
Electronic Media – Tools including website content, corporate blogs, games, text messaging and social media
Websites – used to build the company’s brand image and educate customers about their products or services and
where they can be purchased
Corporate Blog – a webpage that contains periodic posts; corporate blogs are new form of marketing
o Well received blog can create positive word of mouth, customer loyalty, valuable feedback, and tangible
Online games – Way to reach younger consumers; short, online interactive games that provide information or are
related to a product or services elements.
Text Messaging – SMS – 94% of SMS marketing messages are read, 23% are forwarded, and 8 percent are
actually replied too
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
Mobile Apps – with the increase of smartphones, apps have become very popular and are used for a variety of
purposes, from games and advertising to business applications
STEPS IN PLANNING AN IMC CAMPAIGN
Awareness Knowledge Liking Preference Commitment Buy
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