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Creating an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

The best marketing strategy in the world will ultimately fail if you are unable to get the right message to your potential customers at the right place and the right time. An integrated marketing communications plan matches your available budget of time and money to the most effective means for distributing your message. No matter how great your product or service, if your potential customers don't know it exists, there will never be a sale.

What Does Integrated Mean?

An integrated marketing communications plan has all parts of your tactics working together. For example, if your marketing communications plan calls for print advertising, the same theme of your print ads should be reflected on your web site. If your customer gets the same message and visual clues in both places, they are much more likely to comprehend your marketing message. By doing this, you will build your brand with that customer who will remember you when they are ready to buy.

Elements of the Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

Your plan should include consideration of marketing methods such as:

Web site: What does your web site say about your company? Is it informative, easy to use, ecommerce ready? Your web site is available at all times, is it ready to speak for you when you are not available.

Advertising: print, online, radio, or tv. Choose the advertising medium(s) that gets your message to your target audience where they are likely to be ready to receive it. Use a consistent, repetitive approach to build awareness and recall.

Marketing Collateral: brochures, case studies, white papers. Your materials build and define your brand and provide the customer with an important look at your positioning and messages.

Online Marketing: advertising, opt-in email marketing and links from other sites. Your customers are online and you should use the appropriate methods to reach and retain them.

Trade shows: How many individual meetings would you need to setup to equal the number you can have at a trade show. No other opportunity affords you the ability to meet directly with so many customers in a condensed time frame.

Direct mail, personal selling, networking and many more methods allow you to get your message to the customer.

Budget and allocate resources

Your integrated marketing communications plan must have a target budget and resources assigned to each element of the plan. Depending on the size of your budget, you will probably need to make trade-offs between methods to achieve your goals. In addition, you need to have the internal, or external resources aligned to carry out the plan.

A good marketing communications plan can take your marketing efforts to the next level. Test what works and feed the information back into the plan.

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