6 discussion “communicating” marketing management


Required Reading for this week:


W6 Lecture 1 “Integrated Marketing Communications”

  • For this week’s lecture, please listen to the podcast and/or read the transcript below.


Not all product concepts are right for all individuals, thus bringing about the notion of market segmentation and targeting that we discussed earlier. The same holds true for marketing communications. One message does not fit all. Integrated marketing communications focuses on discreet customer segments — IMC understands that while mass market promotion appears cost-effective on the front end, brand/product messages are also offered to millions of people who are not interested. There is a lot of waste along the way and a favorite marketing joke is that an advertiser can save up to 50% of his/her ad budget – the only problem is which 50%?

The mass media no longer serves the mass audiences sought by marketers. Individual audiences for each media have decreased, thus indicating a need to ensure that whenever and wherever the prospect is exposed to the message, he/she receives a consistent one. This is important because customers don’t differentiate among message sources; they only remember the message they received. Considering how many messages consumers are exposed to on a regular basis, mixed messages from the same source are bound to cause confusion and — worse yet — will be more quickly forgotten.

So, while understanding the importance of marketing communications is somewhat simple, finding the best means through which to implement a marketing communications program has become increasingly difficult. The buying public has been virtually buried alive in ads. Consumers are bombarded with hundreds of ads and thousands of billboards, packages, and other logo sightings every day. Supermarkets carry 30,000 different packages, each of which acts as a mini-billboard, up from 17,500 a decade ago and networks air 6,000 commercials a week, up 50% since 1983. Prime-time TV carries more than 10 minutes of paid advertising every hour, roughly a minute more than at the start of the decade. Add in the promos, and almost 15 minutes of every prime-time hour are given over to ads. No wonder viewers zap so many commercials.

The IMC planning process is based on a longitudinal (over time) consumer purchase database. Ideally, this database would contain, by household, demographics, psychographics, purchase data, perhaps some information about how the household feels about or is involved with the product category, and so on. In many cases, direct-marketing organizations already have this type of information at their disposal. The IMC program is implemented according to the needs and lifestyles of the selected target markets, thus allowing for customized — yet consistent — message strategies to sell increasingly individualized products.

It has been said integrated marketing communications will be the only sustainable competitive advantage for marketers soon. The other elements of the marketing mix, — product development, pricing, and distribution — can be achieved at a very similar level, and in a similar way, among companies competing in an industry. In addition, we know the customer has taken on a completely new, and powerful, role in the marketing process. Because it is largely through promotion that a company speaks most directly to its customers, it seems appropriate a marketer’s promotional strategy must change to reflect the dynamics of today’s marketplace.

It’s important also to note that a marketer can communicate with customers through means other than formal marketing communications. Every element of a product’s marketing mix helps to position that product in the minds of consumers. The result is that while the elements of the promotional mix should all present a consistent theme, so too should the other “Ps” of marketing, namely product, price and place, support that theme. Products communicate through size, shape, name, packaging, and various features /benefits. Price communicates to the consumer that the product is high quality, low quality, prestigious, common, etc. Retail locations where customers purchase the product will reflect upon the product’s image as well. Stores are thought of as “high-class”, specialty, discount, etc.

Today, some companies are rapidly moving toward this concept of integrated marketing communications (IMC). How can they do this? They should:

* Appoint a marketing communications director who has overall responsibility for the company’s persuasive communications efforts.

* Work out a philosophy of the role and the extent to which the different promotional tools are to be used.

* Keep track of all promotional expenditures by product, promotional tool, stage of product life cycle, and observed effect, as a basis for improving further use of these tools.

* Coordinate the promotional activities and their timing when major campaigns take place.

Integrated marketing communications will produce more consistency in the company’s meaning to its buyers and public. It places a responsibility in someone’s hand – where none existed before – to unify the company’s image as it comes through thousands of company activities. It leads to a total marketing communication strategy aimed at showing how the company and its products can help customers solve their problems.

In summary, marketing communications is one of the four major elements of the company’s marketing mix. Marketers must know how to use advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and personal selling to communicate the product’s existence and value to the target customers. I trust that this week you’ll be evaluating how it is carried out in your organization.


Integrated Marketing Campaigns – An introduction



W6 Discussion “Communicating”

Marketing Management


Social media marketing depends on involvement and word-of-mouth. However, there are risks when using social media marketing.

In your initial post…Discuss the pros and cons of using social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and online blogs as part of an integrated marketing communications strategy and define at least two advantages and two risks to using social media to sell computers to business customers. Give specific examples showing how this has played out with real businesses.

Follow up posts… After your initial post, read over the responses posted by your peers and your instructor. Select at least two different posts, and address the following in your responses: Is there a common theme in your peer’s responses?

Integrated Marketing Campaigns – An introduction

Integrated Marketing 

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