Communication is always one of the most important and vital strategic areas of an organization’s success. You can have the best or most innovative products or services, but if your internal and external communications are weak, then the demand for your products or services raises a personal flag of concern. When communicating the value of your products or services, you want to focus on how they will benefit your clients.
Definition of IMC: According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, “Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan. Such a plan evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communications disciplines- for example, general advertising, direct response, sales promotion and public relations- and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum impact through the seamless integration of messages.” Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept. It ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together.
At its most basic level, Integrated Marketing Communications means integrating all the promotional tools, so that they work together in harmony. In a broad view, Integrated Marketing Communications is a term used to describe a holistic approach to marketing communication. It aims to ensure consistency of message and the complementary use of media. The concept includes promotional activities include Advertising (by using different medium), sales promotion (sales and trades promotion), and personal selling activities. It also includes internet marketing, sponsorship marketing, direct marketing, database marketing and public relations. And integration of all these promotional tools along with other components of marketing mix to gain edge over competitor is called Integrated Marketing Communication..
IMC Tools: If companies are ethically planning, communicating, and following industry guidelines, they will most likely earn the trust of their customers and target audience. There are five basic tools of integrated marketing communication: a) Advertising.
b) Personal Selling. c) Public Relation. d) Sales Promotion. e) Direct Marketing.
Advertising: This tool can get organization’s messages to large audiences efficiently through such avenues as radio, TV, Magazines, Newspapers (ROP), Internet, Billboards and other mobile technological communication devices. This method can efficiently reach a large number of consumers, although the costs may be somewhat expensive. Sales Promotion:
This tool is used through coupons, contests, samples, premiums, demonstrations, displays or incentives. It is used to accelerate short-term sales, by building brand awareness and encouraging repeat buying. Public Relation:
This integrated marketing communications tool is initiated through pubic appearances, news/press releases or event sponsorships, to build trust and goodwill by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light. Direct Marketing:
This tool will utilized email, mail, catalogs, encourages direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics. Personal selling:
Setting sales appointments and meetings, home parties, making presentations and any type of one-to-one communication, to reach your customers and strengthen the relationship of organization with the clients, initiate this IMC tool. IMC Tools with the Example of GP 3G handset
Integrated marketing communication can be explained with the help of the example of GP handset. Say, Grameenphone want to commercialize their own manufactured handset, say, model-GP3G1. For this reason, they have started advertising to allure the potential customer about this product before launching through electronic media, poster, billboard and so on. One of advantage of this kind of advertising is that this will motivate the customers to purchase this product. Another benefit is that the customer who is in the purchase decision they will stop purchasing until the new product is being launch.
This is the introduction stage of this product and advertising works as an important tool for communicating and informing about the product to the customer. This is also the customer’s pre-purchase stage from the point of customers buyer decision process where they after identifying the need search information and make decision which brand will they purchase.
After commercialized launching, organization uses all the marketing tools to maximize its profit. As we have seen in the previous stage, advertising is more prevalent than other tools of IMC, but in this stage all the tools of IMC including advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, direct marketing and public relation work as a whole and interrelated way to take the product to reach in the maturity stage or to maximize the profit. In this stage, organization uses psychological advertising to attract most of the customer where at the previous stage they use introducing advertisement to know the customer about the product.
Side by side Grameenphone will use DSR (Distributor sales representative), marketing executive, authorized sales representative; telesales as direct marketing; package offer (handset with rim), discount offer in case of lost rim as sales promotion; public relation (relation with stakeholder, media partner, intermediaries) to marketize the product. Some sale will be earned through the post-purchase behavior of the customer and some will come through the information search in the stage of pre-purchasing stage from the customer’s buyer decision stage. Except the sales promotion works here effectively and other tools of IMC become weak here. So, GP will move to sales promotion and decrease the fund of the reset of the four IMC tools.