We marketing communications types love to throw around the acronyms and buzzwords. Our favorite is IMC, which stands for integrated marketing communications. Northwestern University awards masters degrees in the subject. But what does it mean and why is it significant and important?
Our clients constantly ask us how they can successfully reach their target audiences. "Why isn't my advertising working?" In an IMC approach, the customer is the central focus and the quest is to build a long-term relationship with that customer. This simple tenet is the root game-changer. Marketers are most comfortable with a monologue approach: build it (or say it), and they'll come. Now, consumers are in charge. They control what, when, and how to consume your content. It's a dialogue -- ultimately, a relationship -- that we're now after. It's new, different and outside of most marketers' comfort zones. And, it takes time, work and multiple platforms to be successful and relevant.
But, there's a catch -- and there generally always is.
While a one-on-one customer relationship is the holy grail, in business, we require scale to sustain the business relationship. This data from eMarketer astutely describes the consumer behavior that results from integrated marketing communications efforts. Use your scale platforms -- typically "traditional" media -- to drive traffic to your relationship-sustaining platforms (usually digital or social platforms). And, be ruthless with your measurement.
This data, and the operative word here is data, is very compelling: 62% will research digitally as the result of a TV or radio spot. And, it's highly probable that this prospect wouldn't be as likely to search for you if they weren't impacted by a piece of scale communication. It's all got to work together, cut through the noise and clutter, and deliver value to the consumer. Plain and simple. That's IMC at work.