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FUNDAMENTALS OF AN INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION PLAN
This document is intended to provide a general guide to students in Bus 134B, Integrated Marketing Communications, as they develop their semester project. Hopefully, this will provide an additional “comfort zone” to students, enabling a clearer understanding and a faster start with the project. References to page numbers and figures whose content is incorporated here refer to Chapter 4, The IMC Planning Process, of Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications, Clow & Baack, 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2011. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the term used to describe the entire program by which you communicate with your customers. The “face, personality and spirit” of your company and products (all marketing mix variables) should blend together to present a unified message. Note that an IMC plan is NOT a marketing plan. An IMC plan is the portion of the marketing plan that involves all promotional aspects of the marketing plan. All communications with customers, including but not limited to personal selling consumer sales promotions trade (channel) promotions advertising public relations corporate as well as product positioning customer service experiences are included in a complete IMC plan. Each of these different communication types must be aligned with and in support of each other and the overall positioning (Value Image) of company. To develop a feeling of how this works, you may want to read the Lead-in Vignette from Chapter 4, PetsMart: It’s a Dog’s Life (which ain’t half bad), page 80, and then ask yourself these questions: 1. Can you identify pet owner “market segments”? What types of pet owner groups are present? 2. How is the PetsMart company viewed in relation to its competition? 3. Do you think pet owners will cut back or spend less money on pets when economic times are more difficult? Why or why not? The IMC Planning Context (p. 82) In developing an integrated marketing communications plan, the first step requires an analysis of the three Cs—customers, competitors, and communications. Customers When conducting an analysis of customers for the purposes of IMC planning, the marketing department examines: Current customers Former customers Potential new customers Competitors’ customers ©2012 R. P. Vitale

Bus 134B Integrated Marketing Communications

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Competitors Who are they? Make a list. After listing the competing firms, an analysis of the competition can be conducted using primary research, including store visits, talking to suppliers, and other salespeople. Next is gathering secondary data. The first items to look at are statements competitors make about themselves, which are found in advertisements, promotional materials, annual reports, web sites, and so on. Be sure to include what other people say about the competition. Marketers often read trade journals. The library might yield additional news articles and press releases about competitor activities. Communications This includes the firm’s current communications, at all levels and in all channels. Messages to current and potential customers, employees, and channel members are studied in order to find out what is working and what is not. Market Segments “a set of businesses or group of individual consumers with distinct characteristics.” The market segment differs from the population as a whole. Segments are distinct from other segments and the general population. Market segmentation methods: (almost an endless list!) Consumer Groups - examples shown in Figure 4.2 Psychographics Generations - Table 4.1 - characteristics of various generational segments. Geographic Area Geodemographics Benefits Usage Business-to-Business Segmentation examples are shjown in Figure 4.5. Industry - NAICS codes. Size Location good or service is used - such as financial, transportation, shipping, etc. Customer Value Product Positioning “Positioning is between your...
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