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Integrated Marketing Campaigns (IMC)

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An integrated marketing campaign refers to the use of multiple channels in order to communicate a message to a specific audience. The main objective of IMC is to convert viewers into customers. It is very important to establish trust among people regarding your product and make them agree to spend their hard-earned money on buying products or services of a company. IMC is a way to run similar advertisements on different channels. It sends a similar message to audience through multiple channels. However, it is not easy to decide channels to be included in the integrated market campaign. Determination of various tools, methods, and combine them for best results is a challenging task. A campaign is planned and coordinated through a series of efforts revolves around a single theme. These are then communicated to reach a particular goal.
Organizations may conduct different types of campaign simultaneously. Different IMC may target different markets or segments by delivering and communicating similar messages. Geographically, an organization may run IMC at various levels such as locally, regionally or at national level. Plans are also depends upon availability of funds to organization, its objectives and market place. Customers, retailers and wholesalers are the main target of campaign plans. As discussed, IMC plans revolves around a single theme or central idea, which permeates all IMC efforts to unify the campaign. To illustrate: a popular Los-Angeles based public radio channel KCRW launched “capital campaign” to raise $48 for building state of art facility for its operations. A theme may also take form of slogan such as in the case of Coca-Cola and DeBeers, their campaign themes “Taste the feeling” and “A diamond is forever” becomes slogans of respective companies. The market campaign may also take themes that represents product life cycle. For example, McDonald’s 2015rollout campaign theme “All-Day Breakfast”. It depends upon the company whether to use the same theme for all campaign or change it for each new campaign.
To operate a campaign successfully all activities needs to be properly coordinated and decided to increase the overall impact. A single campaign may involve various modes of communication:
1. Advertisement: It includes a series of well-timed and related ads placed through televisions on selected channels and through print media using magazines and newspapers.
2. Direct marketing: Mails directly send to target customers in selected segments.
3. Personal selling: It involves placing of representatives at different campaign sites to attend customer and aware those regarding products of company and explain benefits.
4. Sales promotion: it emphasize on providing various eye fetching offers through discounts or buy one get one free strategies etc.
5. Digital marketing: Use of digital tools in IMC involves websites to reflect campaign message or theme. Central idea of campaign is posted on websites, Facebook pages; you tube blogs and other social media.
6. Public relations: To connect the audience with campaign press releases and conferences are held.

Process of IMC planning:
Integrated marketing plans are need of every business for successful promotions of their products or services. However, there are many organizations, which do not have IMC strategy in place. There are six steps involves in IMC planning process which are applied on every organization. These are given as:

Step 1: to know target audience
It involves segmentation of existing and potential audience. Sometimes characters like demographic, geographic etc. are also considered for segmentation.

Step 2: Situation analysis
To be familiar with external and internal environment, structured methods such as PESTEL NLYSIS, Porter’s five force model or SWOT analysis etc. are done. SWOT analysis is majorly used to let a company knows its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Step 3: Determine communication objectives
A company while initiating marketing process should be aware of their objective. They should be clear about end goals and achievements they want from IMC.

Step4: Budget determination
Making idea is not enough. One should have the necessary funds to implement idea. A company should simultaneously determine overall budget of planning process.

Step 5: Strategies and tactics
Main as well as alternative strategies should be prepared to achieve goals set in the third step. Actions hold be taken to implement strategies and work on them

Step 6: Evaluation and measurement
Implementation is not the end step of the process, there is a need for continuous evaluation of the performance of strategies. Necessary measures should be taken when things do not go the way they should.

Examples to create an integrated marketing campaign:
- By sending emails to customers to subscribe to trigged events to view products of the company.
- Share yelp views and Facebook snippets in campaigns.
- Figuring out the most engaged audience and interact with them on multiple platforms to let them know about your brand.
- Provide updated information to customers and take measures to fulfill their needs.
- Initiate branded hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to let the audience share pictures or videos of your products.

Measure results of IMC:
To measure the results of market integration campaign is not easy as there is coverage of wide areas and use of multiple channels.
To get started with measurement, firstly figure out your goals and quantify them through a particular channel. For example, if the objective of the company is to increase brand recognition, one could determine through Instagram followers, twitter engagement, Facebook friends, youtube channel subscribers, website traffic, etc. Similarly, if an organization having the goal of bottom-line conversions, it may monitor it through how many people it converts into customers and through which channel.

Therefore, an integrated market campaign is a proficient way to promote the brand value and win customer’s trust by use of various communication channels. Digital marketing is widely used channel nowadays due to feature of quick response. IMC thus ensure customer retention through continuous efforts on communication.

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