What is Integrated marketing communication? Integrated marketing communication is a concept by which companies are able to carefully integrate and coordinate their multiple communications channels to deliver a single, unified, clear message. This concept is extremely important in branding, as an inconsistent brand message can create an inconsistent customer experience, which makes it harder to keep your customers coming back for more.
Perhaps the most well-known aspect of integrated marketing communication (IMC) is the Four “Cs” of IMC, which provide business owners and marketers with an outline for how marketing communication tools should be coordinated.
Here are those four “Cs:”
- Coherence: All of your marketing communications should make sense when looked at as a whole entity. Every message you send out should fit into the “bigger picture” of your brand’s communication plan in terms of how it relates to other messages you have sent, as well as the primary themes of your marketing and sales.
- Consistency: All of your various marketing communications should hit on the same messages. You should never have to worry about your customers becoming confused by contradictory messages. Instead, they should all be in line with your marketing and sales themes.
- Continuity: While marketing messages can evolve over time, there should always at least be an element of continuity to these messages. In addition to ensuring all of your tools and messages are consistent, you must carefully plan how you will evolve those messages throughout the sales cycle and as your business slowly matures and evolves itself.
- Complementary: How do all of your communication efforts come together in a single unit? Every aspect should complement the other to form a single synergistic communications entity.
Additional elements of IMC
In addition to the Four Cs that have become the standard of any IMC focus, marketing experts often describe IMC as being customer-centric and data-focused.
This idea of IMC being centered on the customer essentially means that IMC should be fully in line with all your customers’ perceptions, behaviors and attitudes so you can communicate with them in the most efficient and effective way possible. Marketers should regularly ask themselves how well each of their marketing communication efforts truly speak to the customers they are attempting to reach.
Do all communications focus primarily on the customer and his or her needs? Does marketing communication talk to customers in the kind of language they would actually use, and resolve issues they actually have? Furthermore, is there room for conversation and interaction between the customer and the brand? All of these are extremely important questions for marketers to keep in mind whenever performing any IMC work.
Data has also become more important than ever in the world of marketing, as technology continues to allow more and more ways to collect and analyze large amounts of data in an efficient manner.
Data is the best means companies have to get to know their customers and more effectively market to them. Data-driven IMC approaches are based on a significant amount of analysis and research that will help you understand what your customers think, how they act and why they think and act in those ways. Questions marketers must ask include: Where do my customers live? What are the goals and concerns of my customers? What are the best ways of reaching my customers? What types of messages will resonate the most with my customers?
Integrated marketing communication must be a staple in the marketing strategies of all businesses looking to maximize their overall marketing success. For more information about IMC and the various strategies associated with it, contact us today at Viral Solutions.
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