The integrated marketing strategy takes into account these following components:
- Organization (company, foundation, public agency, and so on).
- Products/services offered.
- Client segment and optimal target audience.
- Pricing scheme(s).
- Optimal distribution channel(s).
- Best media mix to deliver mass and direct marketing campaigns.
Strategy and Tactics
An integrated marketing strategy requires both strategic and tactical planning. The strategic direction is set by knowing the customer’s buying behavior and the organization’s marketing objectives. The tactical plan or integrated marketing communications plan implements the strategy through measured and monitored mass and direct marketing programs. Altogether, they provide the details needed to analyze whether the organization’s integrated marketing communications successfully achieve the stated objectives.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is defined as the coordination and consolidation of all the marketing communication programs for an organization or product or service based upon customer behavior. With the multiple channels that customers can use to make purchases, marketers have multiple opportunities to develop a media mix that generates greater client loyalty. In addition, marketers have a number of methods to measure and monitor the effectiveness of an IMC program.
To implement an IMC program, marketers may need to modify existing practices and adopt new ones. An organization that embraces IMC focuses on changing practices that hinder implementation of an enterprise-wide approach to marketing. Organizations must knock down narrowly defined internal borders where teams work independently of one another in “silos.” Budgets and plans completed by each department must be reviewed and approved from a corporate perspective. Decisions based on politics, reactive crisis management, and short-term payoffs must be eliminated, along with the “we’ve always done it that way” attitudes.
IMC programs begin by utilizing customer information to direct product or service development, to select mass and direct marketing channels, and to determine the media mix. To implement IMC programs, the entire marketing team must function as one unit regardless of specializations in advertising, public relations or database analysts. In addition, the marketing team needs to reach out to other departments and vendor partners to develop the IMC program and ensure that all parties are working towards the same goals and objectives. All employees are better informed about company or product or service plans, are able to participate in marketing initiatives, and are focused on helping the organization grow its critical customer base when IMC becomes an organization objective involving individuals from other departments.
Barriers to IMC can reduce its usefulness. Organizations with territorial boundaries, old style thinking, and different department goals are difficult to manage with an enterprise-wide approach. Obstacles are quickly erected if job losses are expected or budgets are threatened. Lack of consensus regarding marketing messages, procedures, or conflicting management control will also stop an IMC program.
Organizations that embrace IMC will experience stronger brand identities with consistent messaging, and company or product or service leadership positions. These organizations maximize and leverage marketing resources (time and money) to deliver cost-effective communications more frequently to the right customer at the right time. Using a team approach, organizations implementing IMC can maximize responsiveness to clients by regularly measuring the value of marketing programs to adopt plans to meet changing requirements.
With a solid integrated marketing strategy, the mass and direct marketing programs can be the catalysts to lead development initiatives and build customer relationships. Effective strategies include enterprise-wide monitoring and measuring of marketing programs and how they deliver client service satisfaction and cross-sell opportunities. Organizations unwilling to tear down territorial boundaries that limit their view of new opportunities and growth will find themselves spending more money on more media that result in fewer sales and a loss of customers.