The idea behind Integrated Marketing Communications is simple: create a seamless brand experience for consumers across every channel. But until recently, making that a reality was anything but simple.
Without a tool built specifically for managing communications across channels, marketers often resort to building complex “franken-systems” forcing otherwise separate tools and platforms to “work together” as one.
In addition to being a management nightmare, these “solutions” are often incredibly fragile as each component evolves and grows separate of the others.
Thankfully, there are tools today designed to harmonize your brand across several channels without the hassle or the headache.
Let’s briefly revisit what integrated marketing communications encompass, outline its benefits, and highlight how new tools are making it much simpler (and cheaper) to achieve.
What does “integrated marketing communications” actually mean?
Integrated marketing communications is essentially coordination. In this case, it’s a company’s brand and message being coordinated across the channels they use to connect with consumers.
What makes coordination so important here? It’s all about staying relevant to the customer.
We’re bombarded with ads and marketing messages just about everywhere we go, and in the fight for attention, companies can’t afford to get overlooked by failing to speak to their customer’s genuine needs and desires.
Once you know what your customers are looking for, an effective integrated marketing communications strategy ensures your message remains the same regardless of which channel(s) a customer prefers to use.
The advantages of an integrated marketing communication approach
IMC strategies provide three major benefits to those who use them:
1: Deeper brand awareness
Whether you’re a smaller brand trying to build a base of new customers or a big brand looking to reinvent its image, IMC builds brand awareness by conveying your message and broader brand story across multiple channels consistently, at once.
This way, customers have a better chance of seeing your message and having that idea reinforced as they move from one channel to another.
2. Competitive advantage
For small or mid-sized companies with a limited marketing budget, a well-run IMC strategy can stretch your spend to give you marketing reach beyond that of your competitors–– immersing customers in your message and helping guide them through the buying process while budget limitations restrict your competition to just a few areas of focus.
In short, IMC lets you reach consumers where competitors can’t.
3. Cost effectiveness
Rather than rely on costly mass media to broadcast your message, IMC allows you to deliver messages in to your customers’ preferred channels without creating a mountain of extra work (or expenses) in the process.
Take print for example. While consistently one of the best performing channels for ROI, high production, fulfillment and distribution costs keep companies from using it to its full potential.
By standardizing otherwise separate print and marketing collateral management activities, IMC reduces many of these operating costs, letting you devote more of your budget to building great campaigns.
How to make Integrated Marketing Communications simpler
Finally, the question on everyone’s mind: How can I make Integrated Marketing Communications simpler?
Like I said earlier, while companies are making IMC work, it usually means creating a management nightmare in the process. To eliminate the mess, companies are turning to centralized communication solutions that provide end-to-end management for everything from print marketing like direct mail to web content you can use in a number of online channels.
Here’s a few ways centralized solutions make things simpler:
- Online ordering means customers, employees, dealers, distributors, sales reps or any other kind of end user can order and pay for marketing assets from one place.
- Standardized print and marketing collateral management reduces costs while providing a central repository for all your items.
- For those who use print extensively, flexible need-based options let you easily shift from a simple black and white product to full-color, print-on-demand digital capabilities.
- Shorter time to market
- Real-time reporting to track ordering patterns, revision cycles and company-wide spend.
Interested in learning more about centralized marketing communications solutions? Click here to learn more about U.Connect, OneTouchPoint’s end-to-end marketing communications system or sign up for our upcoming webinar: The OneTouchPoint Model: Helping U.Connect with Customers & Prospects