Creating an Integrated Marketing Communications
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
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.