Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is the philosophy that every element of a marketing campaign should mesh perfectly with every other element, and that all verbal and nonverbal messages a company sends to the marketplace must be consistent. From advertising, to promotions, to prices and public relations, every element must send the same message to consumers, developing a singular brand image for your company and products.
A commitment to IMC begins in the product development phase. Design your products to fit the image that you have conceived for them, and all you will have to do is be honest in your marketing communications in order to send a consistent message. If you plan to focus on cost-leadership in your marketing campaigns, for example, design your products to use low-cost, reusable components and try to reduce the amount of materials used for each unit.
Create advertisements to be true to your products. If your products do not live up to the claims you wish to make of them, either go back to the product development drawing board or change your marketing messages. Do not let your customers be discouraged when products do not live up to advertising hype.
Make sure that your sales promotions fit in line with the image of your company, products or brands. Do not offer coupons for products developed to high-quality standards with advertisements focused on luxury, for example, but make sure you always offer coupons for value-shopper brands.
Pricing and Packaging
It can be easy to assume that pricing and packaging have nothing to do with communication, but these crucial elements convey a wealth of subconscious and nonverbal information to consumers. If you price your value brands too low, for example, you may run the risk of customers assuming your quality is lower than it really is. If you use too much nonbiodegradable packaging for eco-friendly brands, as another example, your actions may contradict your words.
Other Business Functions
The marketing function is not the only component of a business that sends messages to the public. A commitment to IMC requires you to keep all other business functions in line with your marketing messages, as well. If you proudly display the fact that your company sponsors human-rights organizations on packaging and in advertisements, for example, you must have a commitment to fair human resources practices and strict human rights requirements for foreign suppliers. Everything you do, from accounting, to human resources to investment spending, has to send the same message about your company and brands as your marketing strategies.
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