Integrated marketing communications (IMC) sounds like a complicated theory, but it’s quite simple. Put plainly, it's a style of communication that incorporates all of a brand’s messaging into one unified tone. IMC takes a company’s various promotions and ensures that they follow a distinct, unified style which results in marketing efforts that are consistently recognizable to customers. IMC has four primary objectives: creating brand awareness, generating product interest, increasing the desire for products and prompting action in the form of a sale.
Attention and Awareness
One of the main objectives of IMC is building attention and awareness for your brand. A consistent brand voice helps build stronger relationships with consumers. Strong relationships translate into customer loyalty. IMC helps people recognize your brand across media. Ideally, potential customers would see one of your brand’s blog or social media posts and immediately recognize who wrote it. IMC keeps your brand in front of customers, reminding them of who you are and what you do. Attention and brand awareness drive more traffic to your site or store, giving you more opportunity for sales.
Another objective of integrated marketing communications is to generate interest in your products by informing customers of what differentiates your product or service from your competitors. You can also communicate information about the product to your would-be customers. Many businesses incorporate blogs and other content into their IMC approach as a means of providing value and expertise to customers. Generating interest can be done in many ways, but ultimately the goal is increasing demand for your product. Having a unified communication approach lets customers get to know you and see what you have to offer. This objective is not so much about making sales, but building relationships and convincing your target customers to interact with your brand.
The next objective of IMC is cultivating the desire in your customers to make a purchase. In creating desire, you are trying to move your customers from liking your brand to deciding to make a purchase. Think of this as the bridge to making a sale. Creating desire within your customer is usually done by elevating their perception of your product. One way you can create desire is through a free trial of the product. Once the customer knows how much value your product provides, they will be more comfortable paying for it. Another way of influencing customers through IMC is to establish an emotional connection. Forging a genuine, lasting relationship with customers is the ultimate way to gain trust and ensure long-term sales.
After forging relationships with your customers, gaining their trust and piquing their interest in your products, your last objective of IMC is prompting the customer to take action on a purchase. One way to incite action is to reduce the consumer’s purchase risk. An example of this is guaranteeing your product for 30 days. If a customer knows that they can return a product they don’t like, they are more likely to make a purchase. Further, this is an excellent time to set up and encourage repeat purchases. Again, the objective of IMC is to build strong, long-term relationships with customers, not trick them into buying one-time products. Integrated marketing allows this relationship-building to occur in a way that’s natural and mutually beneficial to businesses and customers alike.
Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She is a small business owner who has created content for Bank of America, H&R Block, CNBC, AOL and many more.