Do you ever recognize a brand’s advertisement without having to look for its logo? Could you mimic a brand’s tone of voice even if you aren’t a copywriter?

That’s the power of integrated marketing communications (or IMC for short)

The idea behind IMC is that customers should have a cohesive and seamless experience whether they interact with your brand on your website, social media channels, or in person.

If you want to improve your brand’s integrated marketing communication, this is the blog post for you. I’ll explain exactly what integrated marketing communications is, why it’s important, and how you can create your own IMC campaign. I’ll even throw in some examples of IMC campaigns from leading brands. Ready? Then let’s dive in.

First, let’s define what integrated marketing communications means.

The term was introduced in the 1980s, and refers to the process of aligning and unifying each of your marketing channels to deliver a consistent experience.

IMC applies to every channel. From online marketing channels like social media and your website, to offline channels like TV and print. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how consumers interact with your brand; they get the same experience.

Sidenote: You might be thinking that IMC sounds a lot like multi-channel marketing, and you’d be right. It’s similar, but it’s not the same. Multi-channel marketing simply refers to running campaigns on more than one channel. Integrated marketing communication is about delivering the same experience across all those different channels.

Let’s look at this in practice. Take Apple, for example.

You know an Apple advert when you see it, right? The tone, imagery, and messaging are exactly the same whether you see an ad on the subway, on TV, or are browsing the company’s website. Even the in-store experience is the same.

Every marketing message is completely integrated, and you know exactly what you’re going to get.

Compare that to a brand that doesn’t create integrated marketing communications.

Let’s say you see an advert on Facebook for an eCommerce store. The product image catches your eye, and you like the sales message, so you click through to the website. But the website doesn’t look the same. The brand colors are different. The messaging has changed.

You’re confused and you probably leave the website disappointed, right? Such jarring experience like this is conducive to making a purchase.

That’s why you need to create an integrated marketing communications campaign.

This requires a coordinated effort that includes all aspects of marketing, from advertising and public relations to sales and customer service.

For example, if a customer sees an ad for your product on TV, hears about it on the radio, and then visits your website, they should have the same experience.

Your message should be consistent across all channels, and each channel should work together to support the others.

Why is this important?

An integrated marketing communications plan will help you do just that by bringing all of your marketing efforts together into one cohesive strategy.

Integrated marketing communications campaigns work because they provide a consistent message across all channels that are reinforced with each interaction.

This type of marketing allows you to control the conversation about your brand and ensure your target audience is seeing the same message no matter where they encounter your brand—–whether it’s through paid advertising, social media, or even in person.

Key benefits of an integrated marketing communications plan:

Most integrated marketing communications strategies take the form of campaigns. If you’re looking for your next great marketing campaign, then check out these examples for inspiration.

Any campaign that takes the attention away from Santa in December is worthy of recognition. But Spotify’s Wrapped campaign takes integrated marketing communications to a new level.

The annual event, which was first launched in 2015 under the name “Your Year in Music” and was renamed in 2017, sees Spotify unveil listener data to individual users and the wider public through a fantastic integrated campaign.

There are two major parts to the campaign. The first is an individual montage, which takes users on a journey through their streaming history. The second is funny billboards and ads that grace cities across the world.

But that’s not all. Spotify also rolls out the campaign to social media. Artists and bands get custom graphics, and listeners are encouraged to share their own wrapped statistics.

Another integrated marketing communications campaign example success story comes from Domino’s Pizza.

In order to increase digital orders, Domino’s created AnyWare, which allows customers to order pizza through various platforms such as a tweet, text, Ford Sync, Smart TVs, and smartwatches.

In 2015, Dominos also launched a national TV ad campaign featuring celebrities arguing that their way of ordering was the best.

To promote the theater release of 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” in 2015, a prologue campaign was created to increase awareness and excitement.

The campaigns included a mock episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk from the year 2035, an Under Armour campaign showing “The Martian”‘s main character, Mark Watney, as a superathlete of the future, and mock-declassified NASA footage showing each character going through psychological testing before heading out into space.

The Martian opened number one at the box offices and had the second-highest fall opening of all time. It was also the number one movie in the U.S. for four weeks.

If you want to create an integrated marketing communications plan that highlights the best of your brand, here are a few key steps you need to take.

Take demographic factors like education level, income, age, race, gender, and geographic location into consideration. Don’t forget about psychological and behavioral traits like values, hobbies, and interests.

Sometimes, you may have multiple customer profiles for one campaign. In that case, it’s important to segment your audience so that you can tailor your message to each group.

For example, if you’re marketing a new line of environmentally-friendly cleaning products, you might have one customer profile that is interested in saving money and another that is interested in saving the planet.

Tailoring your message to each group will help you create an integrated marketing communications plan that highlights the best of your brand to every audience.

When it comes to making your goal measurable, try to attach numbers to your objectives. For example, if one of your goals is to increase brand awareness, you could measure this by tracking the number of mentions your brand receives online.

Or, if you’re looking to improve customer satisfaction, you could survey your customers after they’ve made a purchase.

Let’s face it; you might not be in a position to hire Neil deGrasse Tyson, NASA, and Under Armour in your first integrated marketing communications campaign.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a strong, compelling message. The key is to set a realistic budget and then allocate your resources accordingly.

If you have a limited budget, focus on creating high-quality content that can be distributed across multiple channels.

In either case, make sure you have a clear plan for how you will spend your money and what your limits are.

One of the most important parts of creating an integrated marketing communications plan is understanding what makes your brand unique.

Once you have your USP, make sure it is front and center in all of your marketing materials.

It should be the through-line that ties together your various communications channels and provides a consistent message to your target audience.

Make sure this message is clear in your advertising, social media posts, website content, and any other marketing collateral.

If you’re selling running shoes like Nike, your USP might be “The best shoes for athletes and fitness.”

Again, this should be a consistent message across all of your communications channels.

Your USP will be the foundation of your integrated marketing communications strategy, so take the time to develop it thoughtfully.

Once you know why you’re launching an integrated marketing communications plan, who you’re speaking to and what you want to say, you need to decide which channels you’ll use to reach your target audience.

This will be different for every business, but some common options include:

The channels you use will usually depend on your goals. For instance, if you’re looking to promote a time-restricted sale, content marketing may not be the best medium.

For example, if you’re using Facebook to reach your target audience, will you primarily rely on organic posts or paid ads? If you’re using email marketing, what sort of content will you include in your newsletters?

Asking yourself these types of questions will help you create a more comprehensive and effective IMC strategy.

It’s time to create the assets for your integrated marketing communication campaign. Perhaps the most important thing when creating an ICM campaign is to make sure you create assets that you can use across different channels.

That doesn’t mean every asset has to be exactly the same, however. While your brand voice needs to be consistent across all channels, the way you actually communicate with your audience will vary depending on the platform you’re using.

For example, the messaging you use in a Facebook ad will be different from the messaging you use in an email newsletter.

Your tone might also change depending on whether you’re trying to build awareness, generate leads or drive sales.

Once your integrated marketing communications campaign is up and running, it’s important to track progress and optimize along the way.

Analytics are key in understanding what’s working and what’s not.

Be sure to keep an eye on your campaign goals and KPIs, and adjust as necessary. If you’re not seeing the results you want, don’t be afraid to change things up.

You might want to track metrics such as:

If your open or click-through rates are low, you might want to consider changing up your subject lines or email content.

Or, if you’re seeing higher than average unsubscribe rates, that could be an indication that your content is not relevant to your audience.

Integrated marketing communication is a strategy where your campaigns and channels are aligned to deliver a unified and consistent experience.

Integrated marketing communications enable brands to grow brand awareness, keep brand messages top of mind and deliver a consistent experience to customers. As a result, brands should grow their bottom lines.

There are five strategies you can use to promote your brand. They are advertising, internet marketing, direct marketing, sales and public relations. All of them can be used together to create an integrated marketing communications campaign.

Absolutely. Integrated marketing communication plans drive ROI by growing brand awareness and hitting consumers with a consistent message across multiple channels.

Integrated marketing communication is a strategy where your campaigns and channels are aligned to deliver a unified and consistent experience.

Integrated marketing communications enable brands to grow brand awareness, keep brand messages top of mind and deliver a consistent experience to customers. As a result, brands should grow their bottom lines.

There are five strategies you can use to promote your brand. They are advertising, internet marketing, direct marketing, sales and public relations. All of them can be used together to create an integrated marketing communications campaign.

Absolutely. Integrated marketing communication plans drive ROI by growing brand awareness and hitting consumers with a consistent message across multiple channels.

An integrated marketing communications plan is the key to success for any company.

The end result? A more successful company that is better able to compete in today’s marketplace.

How have you found success with integrated marketing communications?

source