Before proceeding with Integrated Marketing Communications, let me give you a small brief about Marketing. What is Marketing?
Marketing is the procedure of planning and executing activities of promotion, pricing, and distribution of goods and services or ideas to create an exchange that satisfies organizational and personal goals. In today’s world, Marketing has a huge role in every organization, and it is considered a substantial career option by people.
Introduction: Integrated Marketing Communication
In simple words, Integrated Marketing Communications means integrating various promotional elements and marketing activities to promote a particular product/service effectively among end-users. Other levels of integration are vertical, horizontal, external, internal, and data integration.
In all the business functions and marketing mixes, there is Horizontal integration. Encouraging the staff and keeping them informed over any new progress is Internal integration. The assistance of communication and marketing objectives to the high-level corporate objectives and missions is Vertical integration.
Collecting important data that is shared across various divisions is Data integration. External integration brings partners from outside the company, such as a Marketing and Public relations agency, to work together to form an integrated message.
What is Integrated Marketing Communications?
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) refers to carefully integrating and coordinating all the methods of brand promotion of a company to deliver a clear and consistent message to its customers.
In IMC, there is an added value of a comprehensive plan that analyzes the strategic roles of– Sales Promotion, Public Relations, Advertising, Social Media, Direct response and combines these principles to provide consistency, clarity, and maximum communications impact.
Its main objective is to ensure that all aspects of marketing communication collaborate for higher sales and maximum cost-effectiveness. Also, it enables a company to convey the correct message to customers at the correct place and correct time.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a marketing approach that joins all marketing channels to make them a unified force. This approach creates a more unified and seamless experience for customers.
This means that all marketing efforts, be it on the internet, T.V or billboards, should have a similar style that will connect them to that company. Companies ensure that via this method, all communication with customers is consistent across different platforms.
IMC tools are various marketing tools such as online marketing, advertising, public relation activities, sales campaigns, direct marketing to promote brands so that the same message gets to a wider audience. Promotional tools are more productive when they work together rather than in isolation.
Let me take you through the Integrated Marketing Communications tools:
1 . Advertising
Advertising is paid and one of the most effective communication tools because it reaches a wider audience immediately. Billboards, radio, television, print media are various ways of advertising to increase sales and create brand awareness among customers.
2 . Sales Promotion
Sales promotions are short-term incentives like free samples, discount coupons, special schemes, membership cards given to consumers to increase sales. It gives customers a reason to buy the product/service.
3 . Direct Marketing
Direct Marketing is the oldest form of communication that allows organizations to communicate directly with their customers. Various tools are telephone, fax, text messages, emails, catalog, and brochures.
4 . Personal Selling
Personal selling is face-to-face communication with customers to publicize the product/service and convince the customer to purchase the product.
It is an important and effective IMC tool as the biggest advantages are that the message can be customized as per the buyer’s needs, issues can be resolved on the spot, and it helps build a long-term relationship with the buyer.
5 . Public Relations
Public relations is the policy of maintaining a relationship between an organization and the public. PR activities help in brand promotion through press releases, event sponsorships, news, and public appearances.
People share their feedback with the organization, and hence it is two-way communication.
6 . Mobile Marketing
Mobile Marketing means sending text messages to customers on their mobile phones. It is a cheap and traditional marketing strategy for promoting a particular brand.
7 . Social Media Marketing
It is a cost-effective and powerful way of brand promotion through various social media channels. Companies manage to get loads of attention on social media platforms and interact with customers when browsing the internet.
8 . Event Sponsorships
Sponsorships improve the visibility of a company and create brand loyalty, also helps in differentiating the product from competitors.
Top 10 Examples of IMC:
Let us now have a look at the top ten Integrated Marketing Communications examples.
1 . Domino’s AnyWare
Domino’s is a pizza restaurant chain that established the AnyWare campaign. This campaign allows people to order pizzas in more suitable ways by ordering with a text, tweet, smart televisions, and smartwatches.
Domino’s established Pizza Profiles which save customers’ payment information, Easy order, and address just two years before the AnyWare campaign. In Easy Order, a customer’s dearest food order is saved along with the preferred payment method, chosen store, and order type (delivery or carryout).
To attract customers to AnyWare.Dominos.com, where they can order pizzas in unique ways, Domino’s arranged a national television campaign, press releases, and online marketing.
The result of all the marketing efforts put by Domino’s was that the site got 5,00,000 more visits and generated 10.5% annual sales growth.
2 . GoPro: Be a Hero
One of the most impactful examples in top integrated marketing communication campaigns is GoPro: Be a Hero campaign. GoPro, the video camera brand, has mastered the use of online content to grab its target audiences’ attention.
GoPro has a YouTube channel where it has uploaded videos of high-quality, mini action cam including unique, thrilling, and beautiful shots taken by users and by the company itself to reach its target audience.
They have plenty of follows and likes on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and have used the platforms to catch people’s attention by posting visually stimulating videos taken with the cameras.
GoPro looked to create content to expand its target market by capturing a larger audience like professional athletes, tourists, photographers, hikers, and many others. The Be a Hero campaign appealed to the audience’s emotions, and that’s the reason it succeeded.
3 . Always #LikeAGirl
Always is a feminine care brand that wanted to target the next generation of customers. The company saw a chance to support girls as they transition from Puberty to young women.
This idea was very successful because of the problem it tackled and was interesting for their primary target audience, i.e., teenage girls, and their whole target market of women. Always found out that close to half of the world identified their campaign and their brand.
They thought of Social media as the right path to make the campaign go viral and introduced #LikeAGirl to co-create the message that the company is trying to spread. This campaign went viral like nothing else and resulted in the company’s growth and considerable global awareness.
4 . Volkswagen: Think Small
Volkswagen’s integrated marketing campaign in the 1960s changed people’s perception of the brand and drove sales through honesty. The Company was against a challenge to increase car sales in the United States of America even after 15 years of World War 2.
It was difficult to sell German products in the USA market at those times, and on top of it, the car was much smaller in size than the other cars or what the buyers used to purchase.
The company embraced the fact and used the small size of the cars to its advantage by starting a campaign that conveys a message to the audience to Think Small.
Its longevity marks the success of this campaign as it ran in popular magazines and newspapers across the country for years. After being triumphant in print, the integrated approach was used with the campaign in TV ads, posters, and radio to great success.
5 . Apple: Get a Mac
The series of 66 television ads featured comedy actors representing the two computer brands, PC and Mac (by Apple). This ad aimed to convince people to switch from a famous and reliable brand, PC, to Mac’s lesser-known competitor.
The Ad was funny and competitive, which described Apple as a good guy who always used to tell PC not to be so harsh on himself. The campaign penetrated popular culture almost straight away because it was superbly executed.
By being a part of cultural discussion, Apple secured its fate with the younger generation who were already well-informed of the brand due to iTunes and iPod. There was a growth of 12% in Mac sales right after the first few commercials were aired.
6 . Old Spice – The Man, Your Man, Could Smell Like
Old Spice aimed to build a campaign that would fascinate both men and women. In 2010, two of their ads were aired, but the real victory was found on social media.
It was noticed by the company’s creative unit that the ad was becoming famous online, and they followed the TV ads with an interactive video campaign. The customers’ reactions were stunning as the videos received more than 11 million views, 30000+ Facebook fans, and 55,000+ new Twitter followers.
7 . Southwest Airlines Transfarency
An Airlines company named Southwest Airlines had launched an integrated marketing strategy called Transfarency. The company uses T.V, print media, radio, and digital assets to inform customers about paying for things like flight changes, checked bags, snacks and drinks.
For this campaign, the company has made a microsite that displays the importance customers will receive by choosing Southwest airlines over other airlines. The site has fun and informational content like-
- A Fee or Fake game checks customers’ understanding of unforeseen fees they will encounter when travelling with other airlines.
- A #FeesDontFly compares Southwest and others like United Airlines, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, etc.
It’s great to watch a big company like Southwest Airlines use a sense of humour to differentiate itself from its competitors.
8 . The Martian Movie Prologue
Films about Mars had suffered negative box office results before the release of The Martian. Some failed movies about Mars are Disney’s John Carter, and the animated Mars needs Moms.
The prologue campaign for The Martian decided to reverse the box office misery through integrated marketing strategies, and its goal was to bring the movie to life.
The marketing managers had to partner with various organizations like GoPro, National Geographic, Under Armour, NASA, Microsoft on a multi-platform narrative to achieve this goal. The marketing efforts included social media channels and celebrity endorsements to maintain enthusiasm.
The Martian opened at the No. 1 position at the box office in the USA, and the videos, apart from the trailers, received more than 20 million views, and the campaign was honoured with several awards. The movie was loved by people and earned more than $600 million worldwide.
9 . Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty
An Integrated Marketing campaign is successful when it sparks conversations and draws attention, and in 2004, Dove’s campaign for Real beauty did just that exactly. The company used a series of billboards across Canada and London that featured pictures of different women to start the campaign.
The advertisement asked the passers-by questions about the ladies, like whether these ladies were Fat or Fit or Wrinkled or Wonderful. Dove prompted people to talk about female beauty with these bold questions.
The Ad was featured on billboards, but through smart marketing, Dove successfully made people discuss the brand message on social media platforms. This helped the campaign to go viral and to trend.
Annual sales of Dove products increased from $2.5 billion to $4 billion due to this superb campaign. Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty was a financial success, and it was also unorthodox, which celebrated women of all shapes and sizes.
10 . The New York Times: The Truth Is Hard
In 2018, New York Times, a popular newspaper company, was struggling. They had a decrease in total subscriptions, and people were losing trust in their news, so the company had to figure out ways to regain the public’s trust.
They came up with the campaign Truth is Hard, a prominent example of an integrated marketing communications plan. The campaign’s goal was to offer transparency to the citizens, and it had a clear story to prompt people to learn more about the issues at hand.
In the same year, they released a short film that displays the clarity of the newsprint. This film was appealing to viewers who felt challenged and realized what truth meant to them. The campaign also showed what journalists endure to deliver accurate coverage to the public.
The New York Times then launched paid campaigns on social media, and due to this, the message reached the whole world. All this resulted in The Times’ skyrocketing subscriptions, and its subscriber base went up by 100%.
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