MKT501 VU Assignment No 2 Spring 2012 Solution

1. How do you think that IMC is a winning strategy? (15 Marks)

 Solution:

The debates about Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) appear to be continuing unabated. Integrated Marketing Communications, if you haven’t run in to this phrase before, is a set of strategies that remove the traditional boundaries between public relations, marketing, advertising and other corporate messaging, in both the online and offline spaces, to create an environment where all efforts are coordinated in a synchronized way.

Three Reasons IMC has Already Won

1) As a Potential Customer, Information Delivery Silos were Merged Long Ago

In a print and broadcast world, organizations were faced with a choice. With each expensive placement, whether a page in a magazine, newspaper or journal, or an ad spot on a prime time television show, or a sponsor placement on drive-time radio, a decision would be made as to whether that slot would be used for primarily PR, marketing or product advertising purposes. Message delivery options were expensive and “one shot” broadcasts—essentially a silo of message delivery.

Today people are real-time connected to social, mobile networks, spending more and more time online, and less and less time with any connection to print or broadcast media. Modern web sites, information pages, social media networks, blogs, webinars and Internet-enabled social gatherings in Twitter Group Chats or virtual worlds are complex environments. These environments do not support the traditional monolithic view of silos of “communications intent.”

2) A Consistent Social Media Customer Experience Requires Integrated Skills and Thinking

Integrated skills and thinking across these disciplines is required for consistency in today’s transparency-amplified public operating environment. A single customer support rep’s snarky comment could become the next PR crisis. A PR or marketing message that conflicts with sales materials, or is blatantly contradictory to the current trend of public discussions will be caught, often within minutes, and amplified to be a global real-time discussion. This discussion is visible to all, indexed by all the major search engines, and retained essentially forever to be retrieved by search queries days, months or years later.

Customers and potential customers watch the public face of a company over time, and in particular through the inevitable public crises. How did the company respond? Was it open and forthright, or did the previously “social” company retreat to information hiding and spin management?

3) IMC First-Movers are Well Positioned to Disruptively Eliminate Competitors

It is easy to say “we can get to that later.” Unfortunately for many companies today, getting to this issue later may mean a discovery that your market has been appropriated by a competitor who is more nimble through effective IMC. Today’s fast-moving startups do not tend to have the walled garden structures in place that support non-integrated marketing communications, for good reason. In their model, anyone and everyone in the company is a public ambassador, and must understand these issues in order to advance the organization’s goals.

Speed, effectiveness, efficiency, consistency, authenticity and across the board direct engagement between employees, organizational groups, prospects and customers are a required part of competing with today’s social-enabled companies. Integration reduces operating friction, reduces the amount of time, effort and money required to make decisions and pro-actively generate results in all three areas.

Question 2.

               If it is the right thing to do, how would a traditional organization can implement IMC? (15 Marks)

Solution:

The progression of marketing — moving beyond traditional to include interactive, consumer driven, social marketing has spread like Ebola. It’s often referred to as Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).

IMC is ushering in a new era in which marketers blend communication messages across all available media channels into a continuous brand experience. As part of a successful integrated marketing strategy, IMC integrates public relations, advertising, online, social media, etc; and other communications elements into one cohesive entity all sharing the same message.

 

Many organizations today are now embracing this concept of IMC. Instead of dividing marketing communications into separate groups that rarely communicate; organizations are now integrating all marketing disciplines under one umbrella; thus, making every communication consistent with one message, sharing the same strategy. This also allows marketers to execute marketing campaigns more efficiently without having to jump through hoops to get approvals for creative, content, messaging, etc.

The key to effective integration is the cohesiveness between various marketing messages, and the understanding that marketing is fundamentally a conversation between a company and its prospective customer. It is not one specific marketing campaign or press release; rather, how the blending and execution of such disciplines convey a message synergistically, and at every possible customer touch point.

IMC includes the various tools such as advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion, direct & database marketing, sponsorship, event marketing, social media marketing, and online marketing (search, banner advertising, affiliate, etc.). Since the purpose of marketing is to generate revenue, increase market share, drive preference to purchase, and/or build brand awareness, marketers need to find ways to do this effectively; and embracing an integrated marketing strategy is the first step.

 Integrated Marketing At Work

Nike is a great example of a company that has fully embraced the concept of integrated marketing. Their integrated approach includes traditional advertising (billboard, magazine, and television); sponsoring sporting events and players such as the Superbowl and Tiger Woods; and engaging in online marketing initiatives by allowing consumers to customize their Nike shoes. They also spend a great deal of money in search marketing. Nike’s approach allows them to communicate their message consistently across all media outlets; and at the same time share that message at every customer touch point; that is, use Nike products and you will increase your performance regardless of what sport you are involved in.

Another example is HP’s “The Computer is Personal Again” campaign. They utilized many forms of media with great consistency, and capitalized on each of the media’s individual strengths. Television shared real-life stories, print detailed many of the same stories and online extended each into a positive experience with which the customer could interact with HP. The campaign also used paid search to capture queries about HP products and services.

Conclusion

The adoption of integrated marketing is essential in today’s market place. As consumers, we are bombarded with thousands of messages from thousands of different advertisers each day. It has become natural for us to filter out these messages that don’t appeal to a particular need or interest. On the other hand, as marketers, we need ensure that we are doing everything we possible can to reach these consumers at a time when they are interested in our value proposition. This means that our message has to be where the consumers are looking all the time

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