Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is a notion that is widely and largely regarded as an essential marketing management issue because of the usefulness of the incorporation of marketing communication tools such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion and personal selling to optimize the communications impact on intended consumers. Basically, IMC refers to “a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines, and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact” (Vantamay, n.d). The goal of IMC is largely to persuade or directly affect the behavior of the chosen communications audience, and it generally considers all sources of brand or company contacts which customers or prospective customers have with the product or service as a potential delivery channel for future messages. Furthermore, IMC makes use of all forms of communication which are appropriate to the customers which they might be receptive to. Generally, the IMC process starts with the customer or the prospective customer and then works back to establish and define the forms and methods from which persuasive communications programs should be developed (Vantamay, n.d).
Marketing and the advertisement strategy
Advertisement can be defined as “a paid, nonpersonal communication about an organization and its products that is transmitted to a target audience through a mass medium such as the television, radio, newspapers, magazine, direct mail, outside display, or mass transit vehicles, and in the new global community, advertisement may be transmitted via new media, especially the internet” (Lee and Johnson, 1999, p. 3). Normally, advertising is carried out with intention to inform, persuade or remind the consumer about a particular brand in order to sustain consumer loyalty. In fact, advertising is just a part of the great and total effort carried out by the marketing mix that includes product, place, price and promotion; basically, the promotion mix includes advertising, public relations, sales promotions and personal selling (Lee and Johnson, 1999, p.18).
The environmental forces that affect businesses have been changing regularly, with the changes in the advertising environment increasingly creating uncertainty, threats and opportunities for the advertising players. In this case, the future for majority of advertisers cannot be accurately predicted, but from the current events in the marketing environment, most advertisers need to constantly and frequently modify their advertising strategies in reaction to the continuing dynamic environmental forces (Lee and Johnson, 1999, p.23).
To successfully carry out marketing objectives, there is a need for a comprehensive and effective advertisement strategy which should support the business marketing plan. In designing an advertisement strategy, there are processes that need to be observed for a functional advertisement strategy to be realized. The first step is developing a SWOT analysis in which case, a perfect SWOT assessment gives the business a real picture of the market, the product or service, and the company (McNamara, 2009). Generally, the SWOT analysis has two vital parts that are essential to an advertising strategy, the Assessment and the Action. With the assessment, the business needs to know what is happening in the market, what the history is, what the current situation is like, what major trends in the market exist, what the future holds for the product in a wave of competitors and how the consumers’ attitude is like (McNamara, 2009). In addition, an action needs to outline the reaction and direction the clients should take about the opportunities and problems presented by the market situation and the brand. On broader perspective, creating advertisement strategy, requires the business to: first, understand and define the brand to be advertised, how the brand is currently and how the business wants it to be; Secondly, know how it is positioned in the minds of the consumers and where it want it to be positioned; third, the business need to understand the existing psycho-dynamics of the market, more importantly, the business need to know and define precisely, what the advertisement accomplishments should be; and lastly, largely understand and also define the wider marketing objectives and strategies of the business (McNamara, 2009).
Measuring the success of advertisement
Once the business initiates the advertisement strategy, it becomes necessary to measure the success or progress of the advertisement initiatives. Basing on the advertisement objectives, the following indicators can be employed by the business:1) the consumers’ attitude and extent of awareness in relation to the advertisement objectives; 2) the types of reactions the brand receives from the existing and potential consumers; 3) the number of inquiries the business gets during the advertisement campaign; 4) the number of inquiries that turn into new purchases or additional purchases for the existing customers; 5) the sales increases for the new brand; 6) the number of the people with ability to remember the advertisement; 7) the number of people aware of the brand being advertised; 8) the kind of comments from the people about the brand and also the sudden and quick changes in the marketing strategies of the competitors (Cary, 2004).
Promotional strategies adopted
Promotion and specifically sales promotion consists of marketing activities that are intended to excite consumer purchasing desire (Kurtz, MacKenzie and Snow, 2009, p. 476). Therefore, alongside advertisement the business may employ various success promotional strategies including product display in various strategic outlets, product show in local trade shows, use of coupons, giving samples to selected target markets, product demonstration to the consumers, and strategic appearance in sports events with brand displays (Kurtz, MacKenzie and Snow, 2009, p. 476).
Approach to measuring consumer satisfaction
For a business to succeed, it should always put the consumers’ needs at its heart. Generally, consumer satisfaction always involves the collection of data that in turn provides useful information about how satisfied or dissatisfied consumers are in relation to a particular product or service (HM Government, 2007, p. 8). In developing an effective tool for measuring consumer satisfaction, the business needs to set objectives for measuring its consumer satisfaction; identify the various types of consumers to be involved; define the product or service on which measurement need to be done; how to measure the satisfaction in particular the type of questions to ask, the consumers to interview, how the information needs to be collected; what drives the consumer satisfaction; what should be the tools of comparing the results; how should and to whom the communication of results be made; and lastly what types of actions to take after the results are known (HM Government, 2007).
Addressing gaps in customer expectations and experience
Customers remain at the heart of the business; however, customers’ dissatisfaction may be addressed through: improving the quality of the brand; increasing the volume in the market; re-adjustment of prices; increasing the brand’s outlets and also improving the employee relation with the customers.
With increasing market dynamism, consumer behavior, and high competition, advertisement strategies need to be refined in order to meet the objectives of the business and also give accurate and useful information to the consumers. Therefore, incorporating the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) into the advertisement strategies has been necessary for the business to achieve long-term growth.
- Cary, H. (2004). Prove Advertising Success: Measure It! ABA Bank Marketing.
- HM Government. (2007). How to measure customer satisfaction: A tool to improve the experience of customers.
- Kurtz, D. L., MacKenzie, H. F and Snow, K. (2009). Contemporary Marketing. KY, Cengage Learning. Web.
- Lee, M. and Johnson, C. (1999). Principles of advertising: a global perspective. NY, Routledge. Web.
- McNamara, S. L. (2009). How to create an advertising strategy.
- Vantamay, S. (n.d). Performances and measurement of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) of Advertisers in Thailand. Online.