Embrace the Power of Integrated Marketing Communication
Nobody likes being confused, and ultimately a confused customer doesn’t know what to do next. It’s hard to steer them through the stages of the marketing funnel if all your road signs are pointing in different directions. That’s how accidents happen. It’s also where the power of integrated marketing communication comes to the rescue.
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is about making sure the message you deliver is consistent across all your marketing channels. That might seem like a simple concept, but in a world where tweets are firing off at the speed of firecrackers during CNY and emails are pinging like a monsoon siren, getting it right requires comprehensive oversight and a detailed marketing strategy.
Having an integrated marketing communication strategy is the difference between marketing with purpose, and just shouting at the wind and hoping someone hears you. So how do you embrace the power of integrated communication for your brand?
What makes successful integrated marketing communications?
The basis of a good integrated marketing communication strategy is rooted in the essential principles of marketing. It’s not rocket science to understand the importance of consistent communications for a business. What’s slightly more tricky is implementing that strategy in a way that works.
A good IMC needs to be built on understanding of the essential message you’re trying to convey. It needs to highlight what’s unique about your offering. It needs to recognise and address the relevant target audience. Finally it needs to be crafted to maximise the potential benefit of the marketing channel it is delivered through. Your core message is the consistency which must be maintained, while the understanding of your audience and platform of delivery helps that message evolve to generate the greatest positive impact for your business
Taking the right steps towards integrated marketing communication
Step 1: Frame your campaign and message
Consistency in delivery means a well-defined core message. If you don’t understand what you’re trying to say, how do you expect your audience to work it out? This isn’t interpretative dance. Ask yourself some simple questions to help clarify your own understanding.
- What is the overall purpose of your message?
- What’s the goal of the campaign?
- Where in the marketing funnel is your message targeted?
- What do you want to accomplish?
Step 2: Define your target audience
Knowing how to communicate requires an understanding of who it is you’re actually trying to communicate with. If your primary demographic is ethnic Chinese, you’re not going to get a long way by delivering your message in Malay.
Understanding your desired target audience and delivering a personalised or targeted message for this group is far better than creating a generic template that you throw at everyone while just blindly hoping it will resonate. It’s essential to clarify what your ideal target looks like.
- What are your target demographics?
- Does this type of audience want your product?
- What are your audience likes and dislikes?
- Is your audience too big or too small?
Step 3: Understand your market position
Integrated marketing communication isn’t just about integrating your own message, it’s about integrating your knowledge of the wider market. That means taking a look at what makes you stand out, and incorporating that into your communications.
Part of that understanding should come from a detailed competitor analysis, after all, understanding what your competition is doing is an important part of positioning your own external communications. It’s vital also to reflect on what it is you do well, what makes you unique, what are your strengths to promote in this message.
- What is it you do well?
- What does your audience see as positive about you?
- How is your message or product unique?
- What is the competition doing in this space?
- What current market conditions could impact your message?
Step 4: Communicate your message
Once you’ve understood what it is you want to communicate, identified your target audience, and analysed the appropriate positioning of your message, it’s time to let your baby fly free into the world.
Of course it’s not just as easy as saying ‘go’. You want to make sure you create a powerful communication that will resonate. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination, but ensure that imagination is tethered by a comprehensive review of what it is you’re delivering rather than rushing through your communication.
Equally important is using your understanding of the message and target audience to identify and tailor your communication to particular marketing channels in which it will resonate. There’s no point trying to reach out to octogenarians about your fantastic new dental product by throwing out Instagram posts at midnight every Friday.
- Is your idea creatively delivered?
- Have you assessed the concept and consistency of message?
- Have you supported internal brand awareness around this message?
- Does this differentiate you from the competition?
- Which marketing channels are best for your audience?
- Should you deliver online or offline?
- Which social media platform best fits your target audience?
Integrate your future
Integrated marketing communication is about strategic delivery of a consistent marketing message. Like we’ve said, nobody likes to be confused, and a confused customer does not make for a rewarding business conversion.
This isn’t just a strategy that benefits your business, it’s a strategy that makes a positive impact on your audience. But don’t be complacent – this is a strategy. You need to plan what you say, how you say it, and who you want to hold that conversation with. Anything else is just bad planning. So do you want to signpost success, or be responsible for a tragic marketing accident? It’s an easy answer really.