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.

Don’t Be a Marketing Fool

Yes, today is April Fool’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you should be a marketing fool today (or any day)! In my opinion, the biggest mistakes in marketing are made in the follow up. Are you being a marketing fool, or are you being a marketing genius?

Let me give you 2 examples of how Marketing Fools and Marketing Geniuses do things differently in their follow up…and how you can be a Marketing Genius!

Example 1:

Marketing Fools spend all their money in one place. Think Super Bowl ads. Sure, big companies can do this (even though they’re still fools), but not me and you. Spending our money in one place is dangerous.

Think about it…how many things have you bought after seeing it ONE time? I bet you can count the purchases on ONE hand. That’s why spending our marketing dollars in one place is a bad idea. Buyers need consistency to trust you…and to really see/hear your offer.

That’s why… Marketing Geniuses spend their marketing dollars in multiple places with the same marketing message. Again, buyers need consistency. They need repetition.

Just think of yourself as a buyer. Don’t you buy after hearing a message multiple times?

Also, think about where you hear marketing messages. Aren’t you more prone to buying a widget if you’ve heard about it on the radio, in an e-mail, on the TV, and from a friend? The more places you hear about it/see it, the better the chance you’ll want it.

Be everywhere your market is! That’s how Marketing Geniuses play the game!

Example 2:

Marketing Fools spend their time designing pretty ads and messages that catch their prospect’s eye. Think big or multiple pictures and little copy (text). Think full color. Think attention and not response…no action after seeing the message.

You see, when you use marketing like this, you don’t stand out! Every fool is marketing this way…and there are more fools than geniuses…so, if you look like everyone else, don’t you blend in? Duh! Of course you do.

That’s why… Marketing Geniuses spend their time designing intriguing messages and offers that draw their prospect into their web. This is known as Direct Response marketing. This is what geniuses use.

You don’t want to leave your marketing to chance. You want to draw your prospect in and keep them in. How do you do it? With words on paper!!!

Sure, pictures are involved, but not as the main attraction. You have to be different. When most other entrepreneurs are using pictures and few words…go the opposite direction. Few pictures and tons of words.

Not only will this draw people in…it will also allow you to offer them something of value. Here is where marketing geniuses make the prospect take action. You have to elicit a response from the prospect. The more they get involved…the more they buy.

Final note: NOW is the time to follow up more than ever. In this recessionary economy, you’re going to see most entrepreneurs fail…and some succeed.

Mark my words, the entrepreneurs who market and follow up the most NOW will be the successful ones…they will be the entrepreneurs of the future!

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.