Need to learn about integrated marketing communication? You have landed at the right place to learn about integrated marketing communication. Managing the marketing tools is the most important aspect of any business, but without a pre-planned strategy, it seems impossible. Marketing tools are what? Your company is feeding on. They bring customers for you, keep them connected to you and in return, they need timely reinforcements and interlinking and that interlinking is better provided with Integrated Marketing Communications.
Integrated Marketing Communications, as its name suggests, is the concept of integration of marketing with communications. In simpler words, it is the idea of integration of all promotional tools so that they work with consistency and harmony. Since legend has it that an isolated production unit is a lot less productive as compared to that connected with others, therefore, you can say that the famous English proverb “United Integrated we stand” finds its usage in business, too.
Levels of Integrated Marketing Communications
Although the concept of integrated marketing seems simple enough to be applied easily, that’s just the tip of a massive iceberg. That’s why; marketers broke it down into five levels, on the basis of differences in their applications, so that they don’t get messed up with each other.
- Horizontal Integration
Horizontal Integration finds its applications in business in hooking up the business functions to the marketing. In other words, production, finance, communications and distributions can work as one unit, thanks to Horizontal Integration, and so, the management can notify its customer base about its decisions directly.
- Vertical Integration
Vertical Integration helps a business to achieve a level upper than success by focusing corporate level deals and objectives through interlinking marketing and communicational means.
- Data Integration
Collecting and sharing relevant data in different departments, such as advertising, sales, and direct mail, can lead a business to achieve a higher number of business opportunities and that’s where Data Integration comes in.
- Internal Integration
Internal integration reinforces internal marketing for keeping all of the staff up to date about what’s going in their surrounding and informing them about any new developments, or new objectives or even new strategies, and the list goes on and on.
- External Integration
External marketing such as advertising and PR agencies can be brought closer by the help of External Integration, which can lead a robust solution, indeed.
Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications
Integration of the marketing with communications makes the life of business people easier by bringing their customer base a lot closer to their, to be, favorite brands in a short period. Furthermore, it binds the customer to the brand in a strong bond of loyalty which gets stronger and stronger as integrated marketing solidifies the image of the brand in front of clients. This keeps them from getting even closer to the competitive marketing onslaught.
Unification of marketing communications to the internal system increases the effectiveness of office work which gives rise to a huge boost to profit. New, creative ideas of marketing get a lot of propagation and therefore, lead to a whole new range of customers. Since management can directly update their customer base about the crisp of their new products, this can bring many orders even before the official release of the product.
Integrated marketing joins all of the distorted and disoriented messages into the form of a new, unified message with a lot of consistency in it, which would have otherwise diluted by the disjunction of messages. Relevancy and consistency throughout your brand are what it all controls to nurture a long term trust between a brand and its customer. These crystals clear messages speedy the process of search and shorten the time that a customer takes in settling upon your product for purchase.
Amalgamation of marketing tools removes the need for replicating the means of promotion since everything in an office is interconnected. In other words, it lightens the drain of money that moves out regarding replication. Well! It does save a lot of time because the things which were once copied are now shared directly between different parts of a business. One of the many benefits of integrated marketing communications is reduction of workloads and all that stress that you bear.
Limits of Integrated Marketing
Even though integration of marketing and communications can cause a lot of benefits for the purpose of the brand but it has some limitations, too. First of all, the natural resistance, which upraises whenever some disruptions are brought to a stable business, can slow down the work at the start. It takes some time for the workers to get used to deal with a huge variety of the target audience introduced by the system. Secondly, internal power battles spring up when the manager of a department enforces his decisions on the other, and the other manager refuses to take it on because he doesn’t want to be influenced by any other department; even it is for the betterment of the business. And that’s why; even after integration some companies keep data, managers, and communications apart.
Even though interlinking can lead to highly creative products but at extremely slow pace, since the environment will be a little tighter and integrated (and your boss will be observing what you do every time)! Furthermore, working on different time scales will give rise to a whole new range of problems and confusions. Let’s say, you design an image advertising to feed your brand for a longer period, but due to some reasons, it may conflict the advertisements that are supposed for short term businesses like achieving a winter season sale or something like that. Careful planning can fend off this problem by accommodating both objectives at the same time.
According to a 1995 survey, most of the business managers (well, not just managers but full-fledged agencies) didn’t even know what, the heck, integrated marketing communications is. Even though that survey is of 1995’s origin, but it results still hold their existence considerably. Very few people have the knowledge of integration of marketing and communications. That’s why such planning strategies are not of very common existence.