Integrated Communications: Definitive Guide and Strategy

Crisis Communications
ccommunications marketing 04.29.20

Integrated marketing communications take all of the various marketing channels and strategies, interconnects them, and then combines them with one message. Those strategies can include everything from direct mail and public relations to social media and digital.

It’s due to integrated marketing communications that the consumers can have a seamless experience with the organization. Each of the different marketing aspects of a brand are unified so that the communications strategies delivered by the brand are consistent across all of its marketing channels.

What is Integrated Marketing Communications?

IMC or integrated marketing communications is a strategy that takes the marketing department within an organization, from working on different strategies and functions, into one interconnected approach. IMC unifies all of a company’s marketing communications such as direct marketing, sales, and public relations so that they are all working in sync with consistent messaging.

How IMC is Implemented

● Align all aspects – all of the outlets and channels should be delivering a cohesive message, so make sure that all the team members are on the same page.
● Set goals – Before starting a campaign, make sure everyone understands the ultimate goal and what the organization expects to gain from the strategy.
● Good leadership – The person, or team, in charge should be decided upon as early as possible so that all the departments know who to communicate with and there is no confusion later on.
● Coherent workflow – With an integrated marketing campaign, there are plenty of moving parts, so establishing a coherent workflow means nothing will be lost in the eventual chaos.

Examples of Successful Integrated Marketing Communications

1. Nike House of Innovation

Nike opened the House of Innovation for consumers to have a shopping experience that is enhanced by the latest technologies. The store features fitting services based on machine learning, one-on-one personal shopping opportunities, a digital locker where customers can reserve clothing to later try on, and other unique shopping experiences. In order to create consumer excitement and promote the store, Nike utilized many marketing tactics including in-person events, influencer marketing, social media advertisements, and media placements in order to promote the store. Despite using a variety of mediums to reach consumers, their message was cohesive – they are offering shoppers a unique and futuristic shopping experience. 

2. Dove Real Beauty 

Dove’s real beauty campaign set out to promote women’s natural beauty. They used a variety of mediums and promotional efforts to do so all with one message, women’s natural and unique beauty should be celebrated. Dove created ads and videos that showed women with a variety of features, sizes, skin tones, and hair textures. They also created a website where women can share their stories and feelings about beauty. A hashtag “mydovemessages” was created for women to share how Dove products helped them feel beautiful. Their campaign was massively successful and their message had a significantly positive impact on the brand’s perception. 

3. Spotify

In 2016 Spotify had an ad campaign titled “We’re all a bit weird”. This campaign used many different mediums and methods to both generate brand awareness and give existing users a personalized experience. The campaign included printed advertisements, social media marketing, personalized emails and lists for users, and rewards – all centered around the campaign slogan “We’re all a bit weird”. On social media, Spotify posted about weird trends in the music industry, while sending personalized lists to all existing users with a recap of their usage of the year. These Spotify recaps have become increasingly popular, with 110 million users accessing their “Spotify wrapped” in 2022, up from 30 million in 2016. As part of the “We’re all a bit weird” campaign, Spotify also teamed with well- known artists to send gifts to top fans. Overall, their campaign generated 15,000 news articles.

Creating an Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy

Understand the target audience

Before creating any type of strategy, organizations should know their target audience, with defined characteristics and needs. This way, the marketing messages will be highly targeted and the audience will have an easier time relating to them. Relate the organization’s unique selling point so that the brand can stand out from the crowd and the audience can recognize it.
Determine the marketing communications tools

This involves all of the channels that the organization is going to be using as a way to reach out to potential customers. Those include online advertising, personal selling, events, content marketing, sales promotions, offline advertising, sponsorships, etc.

Define success metrics

Not only does the organization need to define the overall metrics for the success of the strategy, but each of the communications tools should also have their own metrics. All of these metrics are going to help the organization in determining whether the key objectives of the communications plans have been achieved, or if the strategy needs to be adjusted.

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