In a nutshell, Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) are fundamentally about building brand connections through multiple communication touchpoints with your customers. It’s about producing a communication strategy that looks at who your customers are and what methods and platforms to use to contact them. Using a consistent message across all channels helps to build brand awareness and brand trust which in turn helps retain existing customers and attract new business.
How to approach Integrated Marketing Communications
To develop an IMC strategy, you must first consider what communications you are wanting to communicate with your customers. Knowing what you want to say and to whom is the foundation of any campaign. Whether you are looking to engage with customers already in your portfolio or entice new customers to your business, set your message as the starting point of your strategy.
Once you have confirmed what you are looking to communicate, now is the time to find your audience. IMCs are all well and good, but if you are sending out the wrong messages to the wrong people you are never going to see a return on your communications. Take time to see who your target audience are and how they prefer to receive information.
IMCs are about delivering your message across multiple platforms, so your target audience sees the communication multiple times. A common theory is that it will take an audience 7 times of seeing a message before they will act. How you manage your message across your marketing mix will depend on the information collected on your target audience. They may prefer direct mail first, followed by an email, followed by a text message. Consider each channel you will be using either physical or digital and how your audience will interact with each platform.
Next you will have to align your strategy across your channels. Make sure the information you are supplying is the same. Use similar pictures and wording. If you are wanting your audience to act, make sure you have clear call to actions and easy to understand instructions. Do not put separate information on your different platforms as this will confuse your message and lead to your communications being lost through misinterpretations.
When your IMCs have gone out to the right people at the right time and over the right channels it is important to analyse how successful and effective your communications have been. Using reporting tools, you will be able to see how many of your audience have responded in the way you were wanting and how many have not. With this information it is easy to evaluate if your messages, target audience and communication channels need changing for your next marketing communications. Reporting is just as important as every other step of IMC strategy as when you continually evaluate success you will continue to produce the best results for your communications.
But why is it important?
IMC is important as it helps your customers to build a long-lasting relationship with your brand. Customers are more likely to have trust in your brand if you are communicating the information they need in the right ways. If your communication is the same across all the channels they are seeing then there is no confusion as to what your company is trying to say. Having concise and consistent brand messages means your target audience trusts what you have to say, and information is clear. These united messages will be more effective than different advertisements which will lead to mixed messages and lack of action.
There are of course cost and time benefits of IMC. IMC reduces cost by allowing multiple–usage of materials such as copy or pictures and photos. Designs can be adapted from one medium to the other so there is less need to invest in design costs. Also, if your message is the same across all channels it delivers efficiencies for your marketing team, allowing them to concentrate on the next campaign or next communication to a separate target audience.
We can help
Forth has many years’ experience delivering Integrated Marketing Communications. Our expert team can collate data to be separated into targeted audience. We have our own printing facility which can produce direct mail and systems which enable follow up digital communications. Forth also has the ability to generate reports allowing you to see how successful your communication campaign has been. If you would like to discuss any of our services or how we can help you with your next IMC campaign, contact us now and one of our team will be pleased to help.