Integrated Marketing Communications

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Integrated Marketing Communications Assignment: Georgina Tilbrook (7619740)

Introduction:
All organisations, whether large or small, commercial or independent need to communicate in order to run a profitable and successful business. Marketing communications provides the means for brands and organisations to present themselves to their target audiences and therefore vital in promoting the right message. As competition increases, communication develops both with respect to direct competition and international competition [1]. Organisations use various forms of communication in order that they be heard, understood and engaged by through dialogue and mutually beneficial relationships, ideally leading to customer purchases and customer loyalty. This interaction through communication represents an exchange between the organisation and the customer and perceived satisfaction and overall quality of the exchange process will determine the success or consequential failure of the marketing communication message. Investing in communication is crucial when trying to develop corporate social responsibility as well as allowing companies to identify and position themselves in the market as well as building stakeholder trust, without stakeholders an organisation has limited support (Grunig, Hunt, 1984; Keller, Lehmann, 2006). Marketing is defined as the management process responsible for identifying, participating and satisfying consumer’s requirements profitably. To ensure that these customer needs are met, companies refer to the marketing mix; a set of controllable, tactical marketing tools that the firm blends to produce the response it wants, also referred to as product, price, place and promotion. Clow and Baack (2012) defined Integrated Marketing communications as “The co-ordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues and sources in a company into a seamless programme designed to maximise the impact on customers and other stakeholders” [2]. Its goal is to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, personal selling, online communications and social media work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation, which maximizes their cost effectiveness. This aspect of integration aims to ensure a consistent approach that reinforces the brand’s core message. The need for IMC is becoming more significant in marketing practice as technology and cultural differences are increasing. A standardised approach to advertising and communication would be unsuccessful in today’s market, as target audiences are becoming more and more fragmentised and customer expectations increasing, media advertising is not a way to launch consumer and business-to – business relationships; instead a consideration of the most appropriate mix of tools is far more effective in conveying a more meaningful message. A typical strategy employed by a company implementing IMC can be understood by seeing how all aspects of their communications ecosystem work together as well as the extent of how personalized that communication message is for each customer. When establishing IMC it is essential for an organisation to have an understanding of what elements should be integrated. Smith (1996) enforced that elements of the marketing mix also need to be integrated because they too communicate. Price can be associated with values, the product in terms of quality, design and tangible attributes, the place which can determine the efficiency of delivery and where and how it is made available as well as promotional elements such as web sites and retailer/dealer reputations that are all perceived as a coordinated and consistent whole. These elements to the marketing mix contribute to a consumer’s brand experience and are used to develop images and ideas that could shape a brands reputation. The marketing mix is now seen as a way to maximise impact and to...
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