A lot has changed in marketing over the past few years with businesses losing the fight to gain market share. Most businesses have a lack of understanding and a lack of resources when it comes to executing marketing strategies. Normally businesses operate marketing related activities using a version of “Silo” structures. Silo structures are organizational departments used within an enterprise that help with organizing but hurt communication.
These “Silo” structures are easy to fix with the proper Integrated Marketing Communication strategy. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the application of consistent brand messages across different marketing channels. IMC not only gets rid of Silo but also helps align all marketing processes. Today marketing channels are evolving every day with new ones being apps, email blast and social media.
The main problem businesses suffer from is simply not understanding whom their target market and “How to reach them?” With all of the other companies fighting for a smaller and smaller market share; integration helps them to connect with consumers and save money. Here are 4 core values that I have identified for successful IMC:
1) Individuals and Interactions
This is the most important value of all four. It asks “How does my product or service interact with my target audience?”
2) Follow results over Following a Plan
Daily the company should review metrics and compile research to determine what activities are working. Once conclusions are reached, increase what is working and decrease what isn’t working.
Customers often switch demands during and after campaign strategy is developed. Always listen and incorporate those changes into the evolving campaign.
4) Show Solutions
Display interactive solutions as your business meets internal and external goals. This could mean anything from press release, media coverage, social media coverage, conferences or Publishing.
Businesses commonly fail at one or more of these values, which make IMC so powerful. Examples of this are easy to come by. Company A makes the best cupcakes but did not do well last holiday season. Company A does not understand that they are not touching core values 1) Interaction and 3) Collaboration. In order to correct the problem Company A interacted with its target audience via social media and got feedback from customers. This collaboration leads to different flavors and improved holiday sales. Although this may seem like a really simple solution most problems can be traced to really simple solution.
Every case study I have done calls for different solution strategies. Almost all were failing in one or more of the core values that I’ve recognized. Simply understanding the current business model and making future IMC plans will help identify the weak link.
What’s important to remember? IMC activities are only successful with a thorough understanding of the business. If as a business owner you don’t understand each channel, hire a professional. Always understand that out of 10 strategies all will not work. It is up to the marketing genius for each business to know what is working and get rid of the rest. Integrated marketing communications is critical to businesses success because it gives small and big businesses an advantage.