In order to compete in today's difficult market, a marketing manager must create not just a promotional mix, but an integrated marketing communications plan. This is a coordinating plan of promotional messages for a product to ensure consistency. The product's promotional message should be consistent and create an overall integrated theme.
Integrated Marketing Communication
Have you ever received mixed messages from someone before - one day they act like they're your best friend and the next day they ignore you? Sometimes this confusing communication pattern can also happen in a marketing environment.
One television ad might focus on product quality, and then a radio ad might push how the product is the cheapest on the market. A marketing communication message should be integrated, which means that the message reaching the consumer should be the same even if it's from a television ad, magazine article, coupon or social media site. All four elements of the promotional mix (advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion) should focus on a similar message.
Most companies have realized how important it is to have a cohesive marketing communication plan and have adopted an IMC or integrated marketing communications plan. This plan is a coordination of all promotional messages for a product or service to ensure consistency at every customer contact point. A candy company called Sugar Rush Candy has established a central theme for their marketing communication message. Each component of their promotional mix focuses on how Sugar Rush's candy delivers a bolt of energy without caffeine. They are now in the review phase of the promotional plan and need to make sure that each part is fully integrated into a cohesive IMC.
All integrated marketing communications plans must start out with a cohesive advertising plan. For Sugar Rush Candy, all aspects of the promotional message revolve around Bolt Candy's extra sugar dose and the fact that it can help with giving consumers more energy throughout the day. The product itself has packaging that is orange and yellow, which features a battery being filled up with energy. The product also states that, by eating the candy, it will make your day more productive.
This message is featured prominently in the advertising examples. For instance, the television ad shows a person struggling through their day. The consumer eats some Bolt Candy; it refills their internal energy battery, and they are able to finish their work day with success. Radio ads also feature a cartoon voice saying over and over again how Bolt will give a person a battery-refill of energy. A giant billboard ad near the local bridge continues the same message by featuring an enormous battery that is animated. The battery fills up with energy as the person pours Bolt Candy into their mouth.
All formats of advertising use the battery-refill message to ensure consistency.
Integrated plans are even more successful and easier to create nowadays due to the tremendous number of options for promotional messages, such as the Internet, social media and alternative advertising methods such as e-mail blasts. The 'battery-full' message must be continued throughout the entire promotional mix.
IMC Plan - Public Relations
The public relations plan for Bolt is also focused on the energy-inducing experience. The public relations team concentrates on promoting the non-caffeine energy boost to the media in order to get good, free coverage on local news. The message is consistent in that the candy is better for consumers than coffee or energy drinks. The team also sponsors local teen hangouts and charity events where Bolt T-shirts (with the full battery logo) are given out for free.
The integrated marketing communications plan, which also contains a sales promotion element, focuses short-term sales efforts with the same promotional message. The store displays feature a large battery with Bolt candy filling up different cartoon characters with energy. Bolt product coupons reflect the same image and sweepstakes revolve around winning different adventure challenge trips that will include free Bolt candy to allow the winner to have the energy to enjoy their prize.
IMC Plan - Personal Selling
Even the Bolt sales team is instructed to focus their sales message on an energy increase without caffeine. The sales team explains to retailers that their product is better than the competition, because not only does the candy taste great, but it also delivers a Bolt of energy. This key promotional message continues with the sales force showing how the entire campaign (sales promotion, advertising and public relations) all concentrate on one integrated marketing communications plan.
In this day and age, a marketing manager must create not just a promotional mix, but an integrated marketing communications plan. This plan is a coordination of all promotional messages for a product or service to ensure consistency at every customer contact point. The product's promotional message should be consistent and create an overall integrated theme.
After watching this video, you'll be able to explain the importance of an integrated marketing communications plan and describe how to establish consistency across promotional messages.