Do you know what is the importance of communication in business? And how important it is to deliver the right message to your audience?
I am sure you know it. Communication plays a vital role in the success of your marketing strategy. If you really put in a lot of effort, but the message going to your audience is not what you want, then everything is a waste of time and energy.
To ensure that your communication is pitch-perfect, you need to get a clear insight of both, your company as well as your customer.
The world has gone all tech-savvy and everyone is on the Internet. Keeping this in mind you need to act accordingly. The customers expect you to know what they want or even what they think they want before them.
Obviously you cannot get into the heads, but if you do good research, you can summarise what exactly your customer is expecting from you. And to plan a strategic communication plan, you need to dig in deep to know what they want and what you can give them.
When you figure this, you plan your marketing strategy. And a marketing strategy is half baked without effective communication.
Now by the communication, I mean both, within your organization and to your customer.
So today I am going to explain all about Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy.
Let us begin with
Delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience is what defines your communication strategy best. But an integrated marketing communication strategy is a little more than that.
Basically Integrate communication marketing is the concept or strategy which a company implements by integrating and coordinating all its communication channels, to deliver a consistent and clear message to the audience about the company and its products or services.
The strategy works on four C’s:
If I explain in technical words then, integrated marketing communication strategy is, “A Multi-channel Communications Strategy is Customized for Individual Prospects and Customers forming different segments across a defined customer lifecycle
Which… delivers the Right Message featuring the Right Value Proposition (product, service or experience) across different devices (desktop, mobile, and tablet) with the Right Tone at the Right Time with the Right Frequency and Interval using the Right Media / Communications channels to achieve… The right balance of value between consumer and brand.”
Now comes the question….
Setting the right message and ensuring that it reaches the right audience is itself a big challenge. Of course, integrating multiple channels together and sending a message, that too consistently is definitely a bigger challenge. And as online marketers, it becomes all the more difficult because:
-It is difficult to hold the consumers to one brand’s communication for a long time.
-With the evolution of technology and people shifting to smaller screens, it has become all the more difficult to keep up with the multi-device behavior of the consumer.
-The marketing budget and resources are limited but the platforms and channels you need to target are many. So, as a marketer, it becomes very difficult to make every interaction with the consumer accountable and keep the audience engaged through effective strategy and targets.
-To implement effecting marketing planning, marketers need to analyze the results of multiple channels, be it display ads, organic search, paid search, affiliate marketing, print ads, email marketing or social media. And keeping a track of all the channels and delivering consistent messages according to the results becomes a little challenging.
-To ensure high traffic on the websites and landing pages, as a marketer you need to do lots of experiments. Constantly update your designs and maintain SEO, do AB and multivariate testing, keeping a track of all these is not very easy.
To face and overcome all these challenges, you need to have practical knowledge, skills in communication strategy, optimizing according to different media channels and knowing web analytics.
Next, I will put some light on…
General marketing is simply the action taken to sell or promote the products or services of a company. It is the combination of theory and application that is applied across various channels equally.
While integrated marketing is a process applied to a specific brand. It often keeps changing and evaluating according to the trends and technologies to ensure higher returns and success.
Aligning all the media platforms to consistently deliver a specific message to the target audience is integrated marketing and the action taken to promote the product or services is general marketing.
Now comes the core part…
Time needed: 8 minutes.
The biggest advantage of having an integrated marketing communication strategy is, it maximizes your profit and build brand loyalty. With the help of this strategy, you can target a specific customer base across multiple channels.
Since this strategy demands, consistency is your communication your brand will be reliable for the customers. And brand reliability will attract new customers. Integrated marketing communication strategy’s goal is long term based and hence it strengthens your brand.
I am going to list down the steps on how to build a strong integrated marketing strategy.
Every strategy revolves around your target audience. And this is important for integrated marketing also. Before planning your strategy, figure out, who you want to target? Who is your audience? What are their demands? What is their behavioral pattern? What is common in them? What attracts them to a product or service?
Conducting research about who is going to be your customers and what are their needs should be your first focus point. To maximize your efforts, you can initially focus on a limited group within a centered range. These analytical results will help you understand the buying habits of your target audience and accordingly you can plan your strategy.
Remember, you are not the only one in the market. There are many others selling the same products or services as you. So before jumping into the market, do a SWOT analysis of your company. Clearly note down what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
You can also conduct a survey or interview with your existing customers to gain insights about your product or services. Once you are done with the analysis, highlight your strengths, grab the opportunities and mend the hole to fillup your weaknesses and fight your threats.
As I said, you are not alone. Figure out who are your competitors and then compare yourself with them. Do a characteristic analysis. Figure out what you are best at and what are your USPs that your competitors don’t have.
Once done with that, focus on highlighting the characteristics that cannot be replicated by your competitors. The difficult it is to copy your USPs, the more advantage you have over others.
Determine the channels that you are going to target to reach to your potential and current customers. While doing this keep in mind who is your target audience and keep in mind the analysis you did for the first point – ‘Identify and understand your target audience.’
Suppose your target audience is of the age group between 50 – 70, then social media platforms will not be the best channel to reach to them. But if your target audience is teenagers, then social media will be perfect.
Based on your target audience and where they are most active, you will have to define your communication channels.
While planning your strategy, you need to keep in mind both, your best characteristics and unique selling point, as well as the characteristics and needs of your target audience.
Remember, an integrated marketing communication strategy is for the long term and it will establish your brand identity. Therefore, the focal point of your marketing should be your brand. And the consistent message that you send to your customers should be brand focused.
Even if your mode of communication is different across different channels, your original message to the audience should remain the same.
Your brand identity, message, tone, etc should be consistent in every message.
A deep analysis of every strategy is very important. So this applies to an integrated marketing communication strategy as well. Keep an eye on the data and analytics and after evaluating, if you think you need to mend the strategy at some places, do it. Analyze the results across all communication platforms.
These analytical data will help you understand the response of your strategy from the customers. And when you know what is going wrong and what the customers are most responding to, it will help you make future decisions and adopt new changes in the strategy.
Before concluding, I would just like to add the last point to convince you about using an integrated marketing communication strategy.
1 Builds brand recognition and trust: when a brand is consistent in its communication, the audience feels connected with it. For instance whenever you hear ‘A lot can happen over coffee’, you know it is about Cafe Coffee Day. This consistent communication builds brand recognition and trust amongst the customers.
2. You can target a larger audience: since with integrated marketing strategy you are targetting multiple communication channels, the number of people you can reach automatically increases. You can target a larger audience across multiple platforms with a consistent branding message.
3. Brings higher ROI: since you are building your brand recognition, gaining customer trust and targetting a wider audience, your conversion rate automatically increases. The more customers you have, the higher the revenue you generate.
So this was all about what is integrated marketing communication strategy, what challenges you can face, the difference between integrated marketing and general marketing, how to build the strategy and lastly, why it is important.
Hope you liked the information. Stay tuned for more such content and do not forget to add your views in the comment box below.