Integrated Marketing Communication
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Integrated Marketing Communication

Advertising and Promotion in a Digital World

Jerome M. Juska

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  1. 230 pages
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Integrated Marketing Communication

Advertising and Promotion in a Digital World

Jerome M. Juska

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About This Book

This book is an up-to-date resource that shows students how to achieve their marketing objectives through a campaign that coordinates marketing, advertising, and promotion. It provides essential information about planning, implementing, and assessing a comprehensive marketing plan to help students appreciate integrated marketing communications as a business strategy.

The author describes the processes and considerations needed to appeal to consumers, identifying how geographic segmentation, timing, competitive environments, and cost contribute to planning. He considers the integration of digital technology, such as social media platforms and mobile apps, and how these can be used for advertising, sales promotion, and public relations. The book's concise, easy to read explanation of marketing components and their interconnected relationships is solidified by a series of visual summaries as well as examples and useful demonstrations. Students are given the opportunity to prepare their own integrated marketing communication plan based on consumer, product, and market research along with original creative materials and media spreadsheets.

Students of marketing communication, advertising and promotion, and digital marketing will love this book's abbreviated, but thorough format. An interactive companion website rounds out a stellar set of features that encourage quick understanding, participation, and utilization of IMC concepts.

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What Is Integrated Marketing Communication?

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the value of IMC for brand marketing
  • To describe the six major categories of IMC
  • To examine the structure of the IMC industry
  • To explain the IMC planning cycle


Marketing has changed. There are no longer just a few limited choices for reaching customers. Today, there are multiple digital options with a unified system for planning, implementing, and measuring advertising and sales promotion for brands. It is called Integrated Marketing Communication, or IMC, which insures consistent consumer messages and coordinated media.
This textbook is designed to help you prepare an IMC Plan. Information from each chapter can be used to organize and develop each section of an IMC Plan. As you proceed, important decisions are made about strategies, options, costs, and consequences. Programs, activities, events, and creative materials are developed. Brand messages are prepared for digital and traditional media, as well as public relations and sales promotion proposals. It is part of the process of applying research to design strategies for IMC.
After completing the first chapter, you will have a much better understanding of the functions of IMC and what is involved in preparing an IMC Plan. This includes learning about the procedures to implement successful advertising, sales promotion, brand visibility, public relations, digital media, and personal contact campaigns. When finished, you will have a valuable IMC Plan for a brand, small business, community project, or organization.

Definition of IMC

The American Marketing Association defines IMC as a concept that “recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines…and that combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum communication impact” (American Marketing Association Dictionary). The original idea and foundations of IMC were pioneered by Dr. Donald Schultz, a professor at Northwestern University, who introduced consumer “touch points” and the complex interrelationship of opportunities used to influence the perception of brands. The list was long and included almost everything imaginable. Essentially, every place, person, and media had the potential to shape and build consumer expectations.
Many different definitions of IMC have evolved over the years. The most useful description has been advocated by Schultz—IMC is “a strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute, and evaluate a series of coordinated, measurable, persuasive brand communication programs over a period of time with consumers, customers, prospects, as well as other targeted and relevant external or internal audiences.” Regardless of definitions or interpretations, every IMC program and activity must focus on delivering concise, consistent, and clear brand messages across different media and within every piece of communication. These messages must also support the approved product positioning, value proposition, and marketing strategies of a brand. The mantra of IMC is to send the right message to the right people at the right time in the right place for the right reason. Anything less is not true IMC.
Here is another approach. IMC has four functions: inform, persuade, entertain, motivate. Since the information function is about the actual and perceived characteristics of a brand, such as its features, benefits, and competitive advantages, these IMC messages take a very rational and logical approach to communication that corresponds to the theories of left-brain thinking from neuro-scientists and psycho-linguists. The persuasive function is similar. Reasons, factual statement, and reasonable proof are required for IMC messages. Entertainment and motivation functions are completely different. They support the theories of right-brain thinking that depend on visual images and emotion for effectively communicating messages.
What does this have to do with IMC? The selection of the communication function for a brand is a very important decision. While the choice appears to be easy, the process is not. There is no single solution, and no best way. Thousands of options and combinations are involved. The result is a series of subjective opinions, based on a large collection of objective facts. So, the challenge is learning as much as possible about customers, and then applying the most appropriate IMC strategies, methods, and programs for brand messages.

IMC Categories

There are six major categories of IMC, as shown in Figure 1.1. The categories are: advertising, sales promotion, brand visibility, public relations, digital platforms, and personal contact. Each category has its own purpose and functions for marketing products and services. They are frequently, and effectively, used in combinations to maximize the delivery of brand messages. Most recently, there has been an increased overlap with their ability to communicate, interact, and form relationships with customers and potential buyers.
This section begins by providing a quick overview of the IMC categories. In later chapters, each category will be explored in greater detail, along with examples, illustrations, and many practical applications. The goal is to improve your understanding of communication concepts, strategies, and planning methodology. This can be used to prepare your IMC Plan by the end of the course.
Be sure to visit the companion website which contains additional information, learning exercises, resource links, and “how-to videos” for each chapter in this textbook. It can provide you with the instructions and helpful guidance needed to implement many different aspects of advertising, sales promotion, brand visibility, public relations, digital media, and social contact programs.
Figure 1.1 Integrated Marketing Communication
Figure 1.1
Integrated Marketing Communication


We see it. Read it. Watch it. Hear it. Experience it. Believe it. And, also hate it. There is no other form of communication that tries harder to capture our attention, generate interest, and change our perceptions. Advertising is all about selling brands or promoting causes, but it also informs, educates, and motivates. Today’s problem is that there is too much competition. And too many advertising and promotional messages.
How many advertising messages? Just think about what you experienced yesterday. Take a guess. Hundreds, perhaps thousands. If you want to know, then go to the course website and complete the “Media Bombardment Calculator.” As overwhelming as these numbers might appear, advertising is still the most powerful force of marketing and an essential part of every business organization. And while there has been a big shift into using more digital media, the strength of traditional media advertising remains.
So, how do we define advertising? As part of the entire spectrum of IMC, advertising is a form of persuasive communication created for a specific purpose, targeted at a particular audience, requiring payment for messages delivered through a proprietary medium. That definition takes a few seconds to absorb, maybe even more. There are several different ways to look at this, but the primary purpose is creating and delivering “persuasive messages” that influence perception and behavior. These message are all about brands or companies, but can also include services, locations, causes, or important topics.

Sales Promotion

Sales promotion is a strategic method for motivating potential buyers to immediately purchase a product or service. But, the reasons for purchasing have nothing to do with the brand’s benefits or characteristics. What are being offered to customers or potential buyers are financial incentives or extra rewards, available only within a limited time period. The offer might be good for only a few hours, days, or weeks, but it has a clear and unmistakable end date. For example, a weekend-only coupon at a grocery store, or four tires for the price of three, are based on saving money. Other examples of sales promotions are when stores give free movie tickets with any purchase over $25 or enter your name in a sweepstakes with a trip to Hollywood as a first prize. Here is a list of the most popular sales promotion strategies used to promote both national and local brands: coupons, BOGOs, cash back, free samples, sweepstakes, contests, free gifts, low interest rates, bonus rewards, new experiences, and owner loyalty programs.
The most valuable part of a sales promotion program is its measurability. Most of the methods are directly connected to a quantitative result based on a consumer’s response to the promotional offer. For example, the number of coupons redeemed, sweepstakes entries, gifts awarded, or points earned. However, promotional offers can be expensive, not for consumers, but for the brand or company. The total cost of running a promotion must be compared to the value of increased sales or profits.
One of the hidden costs is advertising. This IMC method is almost always needed to inform people about a promotional offer. The details, including time limits, must be communicated in an appropriate and easy to understand way. And, the message must be directed to the best target audience. The advertising can focus only on the promotion, or be incorporated into existing material. Either way, this is an expense and part of the IMC budget for the brand or company.
The coordination of multiple IMC activities also has to be considered when planning a sales promotion program. There is also digital media, such as websites, email messages, and social media, that often leads the promotion, or even replaces traditional advertising methods. It is certainly less costly, easier to control, and definitely more measurable. Taken together, planning and timing are essential.

Brand Visibility

Brand visibility is when companies or organizations involve their products or services with audiences and consumers in indirect or subtle ways. It is not advertising, but costs are involved. It is not sales promotion, since there are no incentives offered or suggested. It is similar to public relations, but in this case, the brand controls the content and environment for exposure.
Here are a few examples of brand visibility opportunities: product placement, naming rights, sponsorships, featured prizes, street teams, and philanthropy. These message exposure options include the brand name and logo, as well as a visually attractive image or appearance of the product or service. While the amount of time, or the space involved, might be limited, the value of a brand visibility strategy is that it offers an amount of brand exposure at a very reasonable price.
What was the last movie you saw? No matter which one, images of brands would have been everywhere. The popularity of product placement, where companies pay to have their brands included in entertainment media, continues to grow.
Brands are in movies, television shows, musical performances, social media, and especially video games. Why? Marketing managers want to encourage people to include their brands in their lifestyle, while entertainment producers eagerly welcome an influx of money for their business model.
Naming rights is a relatively new phenomenon. Corporations are paying millions of dollars to have their name prominently displayed on a stadium, theater, building, or venue. But, it goes beyond that. In news and media coverage of athletic events, entertainment, or any public usage of the facility, the reference for the location is the company name. For example, the American Airlines Arena in Miami, or the Amway Center in Orlando. Good value for the investment? It certainly is when all the photos and media references include the brand name in news reports and coverage of the event.
Sponsorship of national, regional, or local events is an excellent way to promote a positive brand or business image. But, the value of sponsorship depends on the composition of those attending and the marketing objectives of the brand. Reaching the right group of consumers makes sense, but too often, event organizers just go after the money. The amount invested by companies in any sponsorship must be compared with other brand visibility alternatives.
Featured prizes, where products and services are given away for free, is also a popular method of brand visibility. It occurs every day on television gameshows, as well as radio stations and other media. The lucky winner receives brand items at their suggested retail selling price, but the actual expense for participating companies is limited to the manufacturing costs. Thus, the media exposure received should be a pretty good bargain for the brand.
Street teams are rampant in today’s promotional environment. They are a very low cost, but highly effective, form of guerilla marketing that can be scaled up or down quickly. Consisting of small groups of paid promoters, street teams go anywhere and do anything required to get a brand noticed. This can involve anything from giving away free samples, hats, and posters to just talking to people at events, perhaps with unusual costumes or props. For example, Red Bull is always around a college campus or popular club.
Philanthropy is corporate generosity at its best. Very little is expected in return and no attempts are made to commercialize donations or support. Although underwriting expenses for culture and the arts is part of brand visibility, there is always a “credit” for the funding that appears somewhere. For example, the name of a company paying for educational programs on PBS, or the Public Broadcasting System, appears either at the beginning or after the conclusion of the program.

Public Relations

The function of public relations is to develop, maintain, protect, and improve the perception of a brand, company, organization, or individual among a diverse group of separate audiences. This can include anyone from stakeholders in a corporation, media reporters, and elected government officials to the local high school, citizen action groups, church leaders, foreign business travelers, or retired military.
There are several different categories of public relations, such as media relations, community relations, government relations, and employee relations. The Corporate Communications Department of a large company has primary responsibility for managing public relations. In smaller businesses, a public relations agency is usually hired to provide these professional services, but in many ...

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