Why has it become the most important communications tool for business?
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, channels, functions and sources within an organization into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost.
Integrated marketing takes classic public relations, advertising, branding and sales tools and transforms them into new media - social marketing tools. Creating both an off line and online marketing and sales mix which reinforces one another.
Copy and content which appears in print display ads, news stories and news releases which appear off line and are not optimized for search engines (SEO) are then transformed for placement on Websites, blogs, online videos and a wide variety of social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google / Yahoo groups.
Print and broadcast advertising and public relations material find their way into and working with SEO, SEM (search engine marketing) and PPC (pay per click) ads on Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
Benefits of IMC
Although Integrated Marketing Communications requires a lot of effort it delivers many benefits. It creates competitive advantage, boost sales and profits, while being cost-effective, reducing production time and stress.
IMC wraps communications around customers and helps them move through the various stages of the buying process. The organization simultaneously consolidates its image, develops a dialogue and nurtures its relationship with customers.
This 'Relationship Marketing' cements a bond of loyalty with customers which can protect them from the inevitable onslaught of competition. The ability to keep a customer for life is a powerful competitive advantage.
IMC also increases profits through increased effectiveness. At its most basic level, a unified message has more impact than a disjointed myriad of messages.
In a busy world, a consistent, consolidated and crystal clear message has a better chance of cutting through the 'noise' of over five hundred commercial messages which bombard customers each and every day.
Finally, IMC saves money as it eliminates duplication in many creative areas such as graphics and photography since they can be shared and used in advertising, exhibitions and sales literature.
Agency fees are reduced by using a single agency for all communications and even if there are several agencies, time is saved when meetings bring all the agencies together - for briefings, creative sessions, tactical or strategic planning. This increases internal communication and reduces workload and subsequent stress levels - one of the many benefits of IMC.