Integrated marketing communications (IMC) plays a crucial role in running a brand or company. It helps us communicate our message to a much larger audience and create brand awareness. According to Grace Pinegar, IMC “is the strategy that takes your marketing department from disparate functions to one interconnected approach.” This includes digital marketing, social media marketing, public relations and even traditional marketing tactics. All of these go together to share one big message.
Why Use Integrated Marketing Communications?
There are many benefits in using ICM for your marketing needs. The number one guarantee is that this technique ensures effectiveness. In our current day in age, integrated marketing is everywhere. We live in a world full of technology and digital media—everything is now online and in our hands. ICM is more than getting the message out, it is all about reaching the customer in a way that is deeper. In other words, ICM builds a relationship with your audience. Since this strategy helps create brand awareness, making that personal connection with the customer is your entry in. This will encourage people to help grow your brand through word-of-mouth and begin building your reputation.
As mentioned in our previous blog post on integrated marketing communications, this form of marketing is highly cost effective. Using the same content and images across your platforms can save you money on production. You can use the same content on your blog as you do on social media and in your marketing videos. For more on why you should use integrated marketing communications, read our infographic at the end of this blog post.
Types of Marketing Communication Methods
Content Marketing: This form of marketing is the creation and sharing of online material. This is anywhere along the lines of videos, blogs, social media posts. Sole purpose of content marketing is to interest the audience in the products and services of a brand.
Email Marketing: This type of marketing is a mass email of a commercial message. It includes advertisements, business requests, invoices, sales or donations.
Social Media Marketing: SMM is the most common form of marketing. It is using all social media platforms to connect with the audience to build your brand, increase sales and increase website traffic. Think back on Instagram with all the influencers you see: That is social media marketing.
The Key Components of Integrated Marketing Communications
Every brand strategy and campaign has key components you want to focus on. Those are the things you want to work on and achieve to get your message and brand out. These components are key points to address when creating your plan.
You want to start with creating a brand message and specific brand that is the same throughout all platforms. This includes headlines, profile pictures, tone of voice to color themes. Although you don’t want everything to be exactly the same—but you always end back to relating your main message.
If your goal is to improve your relationship with your customers, you want to relate to them and personalize your brand accordingly. This means you want to use language that is similar to theirs, not language that is too technical and hard to understand. Wilson Hung noticed that “the average visitor would only read 25% of an article” when analyzing 650,000 hits in his own articles. Most people skim through things, especially if it is too wordy with long, boring words. Breaking up your paragraphs helps keep the reader engaged because it brings the article to a new topic—reinteresting the reader.
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How Do I Make an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan?
After you figure out what integrated marketing communications is, the types of ICM and the key components, you are ready to design a plan. Creating an ICM plan is similar to designing any other type of communications plan.
Identify Your Audience
First, you must know who you want to reach and communicate to. What kind of people do you want this message to go to? Who would help us gain the most brand awareness and customers? Knowing the answers to these questions will set you up on the right path.
Define Your Goals
After you identify your audience, you should define your goals. What are you trying to achieve at the end of the day? What is the purpose of this strategy and what do you want to gain out of all of it? It’s nearly impossible to see success if you haven’t identified your goals.
Determine Your Strategies and Tactics
Your strategies and tactics are highly important for your IMC plan. These are the tactics you execute in order to attain your goals. Think of the types of IMC—and use those to create specific examples you are going to do to achieve those specific goals you previously defined.
Choose the Right Channels
You have to use multiple platforms and channels in IMC. Not everyone uses the same platform, and not everyone prefers the same platform. Use a variety of channels: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Personal Website, YouTube, etc. For each campaign you are working on, ask yourself, “where do my customers spend most of their time?” Then, be where they are.
At the end of the day, you realize that integrated marketing has a large purpose in holding brands together. It tells a story, creates a name and builds a brand that is creative, effective and memorable. When something stands out to the audience, it is shared with others. Through text, instant messages, emails or even through word-of-mouth, people will hear about it. Brands are a conversation starter, so it is important to give them something to talk about.
More on Integrated Marketing Communications
If you would like to learn more about integrated marketing communications, we suggest reading our blog post, The Importance of Having Integrated Marketing Communications. There, you will learn more about why you should use IMC in your marketing plan. If you need help with digital marketing, let our team know by filling out the form following the infographic.