Integrated Marketing Communications – 5 Primary Communication Tools

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.

When planning your strategy for Integrated Marketing Communication or IMC, you want to have dialogue with your customers by inviting interaction through the coordinated efforts of content, timing and delivery of your products or services. By ensuring direction, clarity, consistency, timing and appearance of your messages, conveyed to your targeted audience, these factors will help avoid any confusion about the benefits of your brand, through the connection of instant product recognition.

When looking at your marketing mix, you’re examining price, distribution, advertising and promotion, along with customer service. Integrated marketing communication is part of that marketing mix included in your marketing plan. IMC strategies define your target audience, establishes objectives and budgets, analyzes any social, competitive, cultural or technological issues, and conducts research to evaluate the effectiveness of your promotional strategies.

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:

1. Advertising:
This tool can get your 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.

2. 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.

3. Public Relations:
This integrated marketing communications tool is initiated through public appearances, news/press releases or event sponsorships, to build trust and goodwill by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light.

4. Direct Marketing:
This tool will utilized email, mail, catalogs, encourage direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics.

5. 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 your relationship with your clients, initiate this IMC tool.

Decisions linking the overall objectives and strategies during the marketing planning phases help to evaluate and fine-tune the specific activities of integrated marketing communication. Before selecting an IMC tool, marketing, product and brand managers must look at social, competitive, legal, regulatory, ethics, cultural and technological considerations. One thing you want to avoid when activating the tools of integrated marketing communication is reaching inappropriate audiences and causing controversy. That could be damaging when trying to build brand awareness and encourage consumer spending with your company. When marketing managers examine the beliefs, emotions and behavior of their targeted audience towards their brand, they can influence their beliefs to achieve product awareness, by attracting attention to their promotional campaigns.

Internet Marketing Comes Full Circle

Internet Marketing is that specialized area of marketing that is conducted completely in CyberSpace, and the people and businesses that do this type of marketing may or may not have a brick-and-mortar presence. Many very successful Internet Marketing companies are run out of peoples’ homes, sometimes by only one person, although the more successful companies usually have a small staff of up to ten people. Many very successful marketing companies have started online and stayed online, because it’s what they know and what they do best. Yet many other Internet Marketers have decided to expand their marketing efforts, realizing that Internet Marketing is just one type of Direct Response Marketing and the internet is simply a medium, like radio, television, or print advertising. By far, most Internet Marketing is Information Marketing that is conducted online, and most Information Marketing is Direct Response Marketing.

Wikipedia defines Direct Response Marketing as “a form of marketing designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and quantifiable. The delivery of the response is direct between the viewer and the advertiser, that is, the customer responds to the marketer directly. This is in contrast to Direct Marketing in which the marketer contacts the potential customer directly (e.g., telemarketing). Direct Response Advertising is characterized by four primary elements:

1. An Offer

2. Sufficient information for the consumer to make a decision whether to act

3. An explicit “call to action”

4. Means of response (typically multiple options such as a toll-free number, web page, and email).”

“Internet Marketing” evolved primarily from the offline world of Direct-mail advertising, one form of Direct Response Marketing. The world of Internet Marketing changes frequently as it responds to consumers’ desires and whims more rapidly than is possible through any other media. That is a major advantage of Internet Marketing and Advertising as compared to any other media. In the past two years, since I have been actively following Internet Marketing, I have seen quite a few changes in approach and trends. One major trend that I have seen with increasing frequency and being recommended by an increasing number of Online Marketers is the tendency for Marketers who have made their fortunes (usually multi-millions of dollars) entirely on the internet, to be recommending that all online marketers start taking their marketing efforts offline, returning to the direct mail efforts and the telephone marketing (telemarketing) of traditional offline marketers. This is now a major Internet Marketing trend, and it is because it allows these marketers to grow their businesses faster and reach people that they could not otherwise reach. It is also being done because the internet itself has become so “noisy”. There are so many Internet Marketers trying to reach a lot of the same potential customers, that their email messages are being ignored more and deleted more. They are having a harder time breaking through the “noise” and so they are turning to the offline world to build customer loyalty. This is a trend that I anticipate will only continue to grow over time.

Consumer Direct Marketing – Don’t Leave Your Mortgage Business Without It

You may be very happy contacting and schmoozing Realtors/Agents/Builders and begging for their business or, possibly purchasing leads and then competing with three or more originators for the mortgage. But, there are many loan officers and mortgage brokers working with prospects, home buyers and sellers, many months before they even think about contacting a Realtor/Agent.

It’s called “Consumer Direct Marketing” and the mortgage professionals that are incorporating this principle into their marketing programs, are way ahead of you. And yes, it’s simply marketing to consumers, prospects, and clients long before they decide to make a mortgage decision.

The mortgage professionals that are using this principle have seen the handwriting on the wall and the changes taking place in the mortgage industry. I’m sure you’ve experienced the fact that many Realtors/Agents and even some Builders now have their own mortgage companies. They are competing with you head-to-head and originating loans themselves. They control the listings and now they are trying to control the entire transaction including the mortgage process and eliminate you from the deal.

By marketing directly to consumers well in advance you’re circumventing this possibility. You’re establishing a rapport, a bond, and enhancing your position as a trusted financial advisor with your contacts. You’re also approving them for a mortgage in advance further solidifying your position and totally eliminating the competition. A Realtor/Agent/Builder would be out of their mind to suggest that your client start the mortgage process all over again with a new loan officer and a new company. After all, the mortgage is approved and a quick closing is all but guaranteed, isn’t it?

Here are a just few “Consumer Direct Marketing” methods you could be incorporating into your marketing program to ensure your mortgage success:

1. You can market to your existing database ever month with timely mortgage and credit information, postcards, articles, and reports.

2. You can market to For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and assist them in selling their homes and pre-qualify and pre-approve their prospects for them.

3. You can market to first-time home buyers and pre-approve them for a mortgage loan in advance and before a Realtor/Agent is involved.

4. You can market to anyone by providing free articles and reports such as Refinancing Tips, Home Buyer Tips, Credit Tips, Mortgage Tips, Mistakes People Make When Shopping For A Mortgage, and the like.

5. You can market to Divorce Attorneys, Financial Advisors/Planners, and CPA’s to gain referral partners and new mortgage prospects.

Yes, the mortgage business is changing. Don’t be left behind…and don’t be that “Old Dog” that can’t learn new origination tips. Change the way you originate loans and you’ll continue to prosper in the mortgage business.