Research Paper: Components of IMC

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Components of IMC

Components of an Integrated Marketing Communications Program

The breadth and depth of traditional and online marketing channels continues to proliferate. The greater the growth of these traditional and online channels, the more urgent the need to synchronize them all to a common objective corporate-wide (Caemmerer, 2009). The foundational elements of marketing including advertising, public relations, sales promotion and a myriad of other marketing activities all must integrate to a common objective to ensure consistency and focus (Kliatchko, 2005) as the characteristics, depth and extent of marketing strategies continue to become more complex and focused, the need for an integrated marketing communications (IMC) program and strategy become critical to the success of any firm. The intent of this analysis is to evaluate the components of an IMC, identify strategies that evaluate the effectiveness of an IMC, and analysis and provide recommendations on the value of each component of an IMC strategy.

Defining Integrated Marketing Campaign Components

From the most complex consumer-focused IMC strategies to those that are oriented from one business to another all share seven core components. These include the foundation or the specific definition of the product and market, including an assessment of consumer behavior and market dynamics (McArthur, Griffin, 1997). Additional components include the corporate culture, brand focus, consumer experience, communication tools, promotional tools and integration tools. Each of these seven components must be aligned across traditional or offline and digital online ones as well if an IMC strategy is going to attain tis objectives (McArthur, Griffin, 1997). Of these seven components of an IMC, the most critical is the corporate culture, as that will determine the extent to which an organization will willingly embrace change or not (Gonring, 1994). The influence of a transformational leader is critical for ensuring cultural alignment within an organization (Caemmerer, 2009). Transformational leaders have the ability to orchestrate the many aspects of an IMC strategy while also ensuring everyone responsible for its execution has a very strong sense of ownership and accountability of results (Howard, 2002) Studies of exceptional customer experiences also underscore how critical it is for a company to cultivate a strong customer-driven culture, as it serves as the foundation of successful integration of marketing strategies and tactics (McArthur, Griffin, 1997). Companies who excel at IMC strategies successfully combine foundational elements of marketing, galvanizing them with strong leadership and a culture that is strongly customer-driven. All of these factors together combine to also create a very strong brand focus, as exemplified by Disney's execution of IMC strategies and the resulting high levels of brand equity produced and maintained (Broadcasting & Cable, 2012).

Additional IMC components include communication tools, promotional tools and integration tools. Taken together these are the unifying elements of any successful IMC strategy (McArthur, Griffin, 1997). They also act to galvanize strategies across offline and online communications and marketing channels. The communications tools are the most visible component of any IMC strategy, encompassing both offline or traditional media and online media channels (Gonring, 1994). The orchestration of these tools is essential for the development of a cohesive IMC strategy that is galvanized around the unique value proposition (UVP) of the company as well. Promotional tools are used for initiating a conversation or dialogue with prospective and existing customers, in addition to driving the initial public relations (PR), direct and e-mail campaigns, and personal selling strategies (McArthur, Griffin, 1997). Increasingly marketers are turning to smartphone-based advertising and messaging as well, using mobility-based platforms as part of their promotional initiatives within broader IMC-based strategies (Hongcharu, Eiamkanchanalai, 2009). Lastly, the unifying element of integration tools are more critical than ever, as traditional media, online and mobility strategies all must resonate around a common, galvanizing unique value proposition and series of communications objectives to achieve optimal performance (Kliatchko, 2005). In the next section of this analysis, strategies are defined to evaluate the effectiveness of an IMC strategy. Next, an analysis and series… [END OF PREVIEW]

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