Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is a concept under which a company carefully integrates and coordinates its many communications channels to deliver a clear and consistent message. It aims to ensure the consistency of the message and the complementary use of media. Organizations need to promote their brands well among the end-users not only to outshine competitors but also survive in the long run. IMC is an integration of all marketing tools, approaches, and resources within a company which maximizes impact on the consumer mind resulting in maximum profit at minimum cost.
Tools of Integrated Marketing Communication
- Advertising: Advertising refers to any paid form of non-personal promotion of products or services by an identified sponsor. The various media used are print (newspapers and magazines), broadcast (radio and television), electronic (web page, audio, and videotape), and display (billboards, signs, and posters). The primary advantage of advertising is that it reaches geographically dispersed consumers. Customers generally tend to believe that a heavily advertised brand must offer some ‘good value’ but at the same time, advertising proves to be an expensive form of promotion.
- Sales promotion: It is a variety of short-term incentives to encourage trial or purchase of a product or service. It may include consumer promotions – focused towards the consumer – such as a distribution of free samples, coupons, offers on purchase of higher quantity, discounts and premiums or trade promotions – focused on retailers – such as display and merchandising allowances, volume discounts, pay for performance incentives and incentives to salespeople. It helps to draw the attention of the consumers and offers an invitation to engage in a transaction by giving various types of incentives.
- Personal Selling: Face-To-Face interaction with one or more buyers to make presentations, answer questions, and taking orders. It to be the most effective tool in the later stages of the buying process. The advantage is that the message can be customized to the needs of the buyer and is focused on building a long-term relationship with the buyer.
- Public Relations: Advertising is a one-way communication whereas public relations is a two-way communication that can monitor feedback and adjust its message for providing maximum benefit. A common tool used here is publicity which capitalizes on the news value of the product or service so that the information can be disseminated to the news media. Articles in the media prove to be more objective than advertisements and enjoy high credibility. Also, it has the ability to reach hard-to-find consumers who avoid targeted communications.
- Direct Marketing: It the use of mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, or internet to communicate directly with or solicit response or dialogue from specific customers or prospects. Shoppers have started relying on credit cards and online purchasing more than ever which makes it essential for marketers to approach the consumers directly thus helping them in the purchase process. Companies maintain a database of contact details of consumers through which they send catalogs and other marketing material making it easier for the consumer to purchase online.
- Events and Experiences: These are company-sponsored activities and programs designed to create brand-related interactions with customers. Sponsorships improve the visibility of the company. Companies provide customers with an experience of using the product which ends up leading to a higher brand recall than competitors. These events prove to be engaging with the audience.
- Social Media Marketing: The concept of social media marketing basically refers to the process of promoting business or websites through social media channels. Companies manage to get massive attention to such channels and can interact with consumers as and when they are browsing the internet.