According to Wikipedia, integrated marketing communications (IMC) is defined as a process for managing customer relationships that drive brand value primarily through communication efforts. Such efforts often include cross-functional processes that create and nourish profitable relationships with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups and encouraging data-driven, purposeful dialog with them. IMC includes the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program in order to maximize the impact on end users at a minimal cost. This integration affects all firms’ business-to-business, marketing channel, customer-focused, and internally directed communications. Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept. It ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together.
INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION COMPONENTS
The Foundation - corporate image and brand management; buyer behaviour; promotions opportunity analysis. Advertising Tools - advertising management, advertising design: theoretical frameworks and types of appeals; advertising design: message strategies and executional frameworks; advertising media selection. Advertising also reinforces brand and firm image. Promotional Tools - trade promotions; consumer promotions; personal selling, database marketing, and customer relations management; public relations and sponsorship programs. Integration Tools - Internet Marketing; IMC for small business and entrepreneurial ventures; evaluating and integrated marketing program.
Promotion may be defined as “the co-ordination of all seller initiated efforts to set up channels of information and persuasion to facilitate the scale of a good or service”. Promotion is most often intended to be supporting component in a marketing mix. Promotion decision must be integrated and co-ordinated with the rest of the marketing mix, particularly products/brands decisions so that it may effectively support an entire marketing mix strategy. The promotion mix consists of basic elements. They are:
Advertising is a paid for communication. It is used to develop attitudes, create awareness and transmit information in order to gain a response from the target market. There are many advertising media such as newspapers (local, national, free, trade), magazinesand journals, television (local, national, terrestrial, satellite), cinema, outdoor advertising (such as posters, bus sides).
Personal selling is an effective way to manage personal customer relationships. The sales person acts on behalf of the organization. They tend to be well trained in the approaches and technique of personal selling. However sales people are very expensive and should only be used where there is a genuine return on investment.
Sales promotion includes several communications activities that attempt to provide added value or incentives to consumers, wholesalers, retailers, or other organizational customers to stimulate immediate sales. These efforts can attempt to stimulate product interest, trial, or purchase. Examples of devices used in sales promotion include coupons, samples, premiums, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, contests, rebates, and sweepstakes. PUBLIC RELATION
Public Relations defined as building good relationships with the company’s various publics by obtaining favourable publicity, building up a good "corporate image", and handling or heading off unfavourable rumours, stories, and events. It is relatively cheap, but certainly not cheap. Successful strategies tend to be long-term and plan for all eventualities. DIRECT MARKETING
Direct communications were carefully targeted individual consumers to obtain an immediate response and cultivate lasting...