Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept. It ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together. Although Integrated Marketing Communications requires a lot of effort it delivers many benefits. It can create competitive advantage, boost sales and profits, while saving money, time and stress.
IMC wraps communications around customers and helps them move through the various stages of the buying process. The organization simultaneously consolidates its image, develops a dialogue and nurtures its relationship with customers. This ‘Relationship Marketing’ cements a bond of loyalty with customers which can protect them from the inevitable onslaught of competition. The ability to keep a customer for life is a powerful competitive advantage.
IMC also increases profits through increased effectiveness. At its most basic level, a unified message has more impact than a disjointed myriad of messages. In a busy world, a consistent, consolidated and crystal clear message has a better chance of cutting through the ‘noise’ of over five hundred commercial messages which bombard customers each and every day.
At another level, initial research suggests that images shared in advertising and direct mail boost both advertising awareness and responses. So IMC can boost sales by stretching messages across several communications tools to create more avenues for customers to become aware, aroused, and ultimately, to make a purchase
Carefully linked messages also help buyers by giving timely reminders, updated information and special offers which, when presented in a planned sequence, help them move comfortably through the stages of their buying process… and this reduces their ‘misery of choice’ in a complex and busy world.
IMC also makes messages more consistent and therefore more credible. This reduces risk in the mind of the buyer which, in turn, shortens the search process and helps to dictate the outcome of brand comparisons. Wrap communications around the customer’s buying process. Identify the stages they go through before, during and after a purchase. Select communication tools which are right for each stage. Develop a sequence of communications activities which help the customer to move easily through each stage.
Build Relationships and Brand Values. All communications should help to develop stronger and stronger relationships with customers. Ask how each communication tool helps to do this. Just a few ways to enjoy the benefits of integrated marketing communications.