Crafting Successful Integrated Marketing Communications for Brands

April 4, 2014 Deb Griffith

integrated marketing communications

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated Marketing is a relatively new term introduced over the last few years, so it is no surprise that there is some confusion as to what it really means.  

The American Association of Advertising Agencies defines Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) as “the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.”  

Done correctly, IMC can be compared to a symphony; each instrument produces a particular sound, and all instruments in unison make beautiful music.  For IMC, direct mail could be your tuba, triggered email marketing your cello, online advertising your violin, and social media your horns section.  One instrument playing on its own may intrigue a passerby, but all instruments playing in unison draws a paying crowd – that’s if the instruments are in harmony (consistency) and people like the music (relevancy) – and that is IMC. 

Analyzing Your Current IMC Capabilities 

Long-established ad agencies and internal marketing departments have historically focused on “traditional” media, as until just recently, that’s all there was.  With the new digital age, a number of “new” media types have burst onto the scene to provide cheaper and more targeted methods to engage with audiences.  This results in the need for more efficiency and organization to be able to manage everything in concert.

When analyzing how well your brand implements IMC, how have you handled the recent seismic marketing shift?

The shift from… To…
Traditional Marketing Digital/Interactive Marketing
Mass Media Specialized Media
Low Accountability in Marketing Spend High Accountability in Marketing Spend
Limited Connectivity Pervasive Connectedness

If you can’t say that you have mastered all of these transitions, you may have some difficulties in implementing effective integrated marketing communications.

Using an MRM Platform to Manage Modern Integrated Marketing Communications

With the breakneck evolution of new marketing mediums, many companies have fallen into disordered and disjointed marketing campaigns. By integrating your marketing communications on a marketing resource management platform, your campaigns can adjust to the changing landscape quickly. The following components of a comprehensive MRM platform support an effective integrated marketing campaign.

  1. An asset repository to control all approved images, logos, ad templates and campaign materials
  2. A direct marketing engine from which all direct mail and email marketing spawns.  
  3. Brand level social media profiles
  4. List management functionality
  5. A brand level website

Tips/Best Practices for Planning Integrated Marketing Communications

Determine Your Campaign’s Goal -- What is the business goal that you want to achieve?  Do you have a new product or a special to promote?  Determine your goal, then develop the metrics to measure success, i.e., coupon downloads, free samples, redemptions or the like.  This will drive the most important part of your messaging -  your Call-To -Action.

Craft Your Messages Based on the Appropriate Media Type -- Once you have your goals and CTAs defined, start creating your messages that will work best for the different media types.  Depending on the different media channels you are activating, you could be scripting 140 character Tweets, writing email messages, creating headlines and art direction for display ads and designing postcards; all to be broadcast to your audiences.

Don’t Forget to Use a Calendar -- Planning the creation of your different messages is key to making sure that they are released at the appropriate times.  It only takes a few minutes to write that Tweet, but you may need a week to write and design an email or postcard.  Determine your broadcast dates to coordinate and work backwards for your production schedule of the necessary assets.

Automation is Key -- Sure you can release all of these outbound messages manually, but why bother when you can utilize an automated platform to do it for you?  You’ll have peace of mind that its scheduled properly, you’ll likely be able to benefit cost-wise from economies of scale and should be able to view analytic data more simply.

Modernizing towards an integrated marketing communications system can seem like a complicated and overwhelming task.  Embracing an MRM platform is the solution to streamline, plan and deliver complex multi-touch point campaigns. 

Related Content: 
Automated Marketing Programs
Triggered Communications
Article Type: 
Exclude from Recent List: 
Modernizing with an integrated marketing communications system can seem like a complicated and overwhelming task, but it is necessary to reach marketing goals.

Previous Article
CRM and MRM, Marketing’s Batman and Robin
CRM and MRM, Marketing’s Batman and Robin

America may run on Dunkin’, but Marketing runs on technology.  Companies build software tools for marketing...

Next Article
How Brands Can Implement Local Content Marketing Programs (Part 1)
How Brands Can Implement Local Content Marketing Programs (Part 1)

Some say content marketing is “owning” media versus “renting it,” while others have defined it as marketing...