What is an Integrated Marketing Services Communication Plan and do You Need One?

Integrated marketing services communication integrates all marketing and promotional efforts of an organization to function in harmony, resulting in the production of sales and profit maximization. As a business entity grows, there develops a number of marketing communication channels, both external and internal. An integrated approach integrates these multiple channels and unifies the message that is being sent out to customers. The need for an IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) plan for your business is reasoned here:

  • To Remove The Vacuum Created Due To Disjointed Marketing Communication

Like any other service, marketing is also intangible (cannot be touched or felt). Service intangibility is characterized by abstractness, generality and mental impalpability. Hence the need to make marketing communication is felt across the organization, in order to reach to its target audience effectively. Non-integration disjoints the brand message and fails to arrest customer attention. The important elements in marketing communication are advertising, personal selling, direct marketing,  public relations, website communication, sponsorship and social media presence. A disjointed approach isolates these functions that lead to non-consistency of brand value to the end-user. Your business needs an integrated marketing services plan to get your message across in an assertive and engaging manner to the target market.

  • To Manage Customer Expectations

You need integrated marketing services to match, meet and exceed customer expectations. The marcom essentials include understanding the target market, its demographics and end-user behaviour. Only when there is a uniformity in the service delivery model, customer trust in the business improves. In the absence of a unified marketing plan, a business fails to identify what the customer wants and what his pain points are. When customer expectations are pinned down using an integrated approach, it is easier for businesses to create and deliver products and solutions with instant market appeal.

  • To Ensure Smooth Functioning Of The Marketing Mix

The combination of marketing tools that result in smooth flow of goods and services from the producer to the consumer is called a marketing mix. The traditional 4P model consisting of Product, Price, Place and Promotion has now furthered into the 7P model with the inclusion of People, Process and Physical Evidence. We live in the era of the educated customer. Unification of marketing communication processes is a meaningful step in safeguarding and promoting the interests of the consumer. From the perspective of the business, an integrated marketing services plan improves brand equity and conveys the uniqueness of the product or service that sets it apart from those of competitors.

  • To Avoid Wasteful Expenditure Due To Duplication Of Communication Plans

When multiple formats for marketing communication are at play, there arises duplication of marketing literature. Besides putting uniqueness and robustness of your brand at jeopardy, the non-integrated approach hikes marketing costs. This becomes unsustainable and the enterprise collapses due to competitor entry by taking advantage of lack of clarity of purpose. An integrated marketing plan analyses the background of your business and its target markets. It communicates with prospective customers in a targeted manner with parity of marketing pitches. This leads to economy and savings when your business resorts to multi-channel advertising. Whether it is images, content or any other marketing collateral, the format is the same; the base values are the same; the promotional plan is the same. Such is the span and coverage of an integrated marketing plan.

  • To Increase Brand Visibility

Where a powerful plan of integrated marketing communication is available, the search process of customers for your product becomes short and fruitful. Your customer is able to cherry pick your product from many other close substitutes. This is because of brand awareness that puts your product in front while pushing others to oblivion. There is 100 percent engagement that is secured with customers who remain loyal to your brand. An integration of all marketing-related communication both inside and outside your business is also great for referral marketing. A customer proudly recommends your brand due to matched expectations and fulfilled promises. An IMC proves that your brand superior than that of your competitors’ and the additional advantages that result from choosing the product and not choosing any other.

  • To Improve Customer Relations

Nurturing long-term relationships with customers is the cornerstone of integrated marketing services communication. A good example for this is a CRM that captures various personal as well as behavioural information of customers. Communicating through CRM demonstrates brand consistency. When there is uniformity in the messages conveyed through various advertising channels, a customer is reassured not only of product quality but also of the after sales service and support. It fosters better relationships with customers as they become used to the corporate culture of your organization. In the service industry, customers come in frequent touch with your employees. This necessitates matching and integration of internal and external means of communication.

  • To Fend-Off Competition

Every business needs an integrated approach in its marketing communication to cultivate uniqueness for its service offerings. To be able to stand apart from the crowd, customer interest needs to be aroused in an organic manner. When the search for a product from a particular brand results in similar products from competing brands, the customer is confused. A brand that sends out a steady and consistent value stands apart from the group and forms a permanent picture in the minds of the customer. Bringing all marketing communications under a single window approach can muster customer confidence and patronage. A customer who believes that a brand is consistent develops loyalty and his lifetime value increases for the business. Thus, an IMC becomes a powerful barrier for competition.

The main advantage associated with integrated marketing services is that it impacts the bottom-line of businesses in a cost-efficient manner. It helps in cultivating better relationship with customers because of harmony and consistency across different marketing communication strategies. Customer education becomes a unified process leading to brand building on a long-term basis.