When it comes to creating a marketing strategy, it’s important to consider the impact different integrated marketing solutions can have. Here’s a look at some of the biggest benefits such solutions can bring about.
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, or IMC, as we’ll call it, means integrating all the promotional tools, so that they work together in harmony.
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 organisation 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 mail shot 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.
Un-integrated communications send disjointed messages which dilute the impact of the message. This may also confuse, frustrate and arouse anxiety in customers. On the other hand, integrated communications present a reassuring sense of order.
Consistent images and relevant, useful, messages help nurture long term relationships with customers. Here, customer databases can identify precisely which customers need what information when… and throughout their whole buying life.
An IMC approach provides benefits at every level of the organisation including:
Operational level – reduces transaction costs, interdepartmental conflict, and duplication of effort
Campaign level – creates synergy with the communications mix and provides a higher return on campaign investment vs. the competition
Brand level – provides clarity and consistency to brand messages to create brand loyal customers
Customer level – positively impacts consumer awareness, customer attitudes, and customer experiences at every touch point
Market level – decreases the rate of defection, increases market position, sales, and sales growth
Financial level – increases the ability to achieve higher sales, sales growth, profitability, return on investment (ROI), and return on brand investment (ROBI) vs. the competition
Benefits of integrated marketing
Before investing valuable time, effort and resources into a marketing strategy, it is essential to review the benefits. Integrated marketing communications is strategically focused on brand longevity and identity. Creating consistency takes time to establish, but has some important benefits for your brand:
Builds relationships: IMC is customer-centered and lends authenticity and validity to the buying experience. Customers are validated in their feelings, and it creates a reputation in the consumer’s mind, resulting in better brand positioning.
Effective and cost-effective: IMC is an effective strategy with a large success rate that reduces cost by creating and implementing multi-use materials for a campaign. The ensured consistency embedded in this method organically creates a trust for your brand and improves brand recognition.
Ubiquitous: By being ever present, IMC creates a familiarity with consumers. The repetition of a campaign floods the market and embeds itself in the mind of consumers. IMC influences consumer decisions through consistency and often through the subconscious. As exposure to a brand becomes more consistent, the likelihood a consumer will choose it increases exponentially.