Many executives, when faced with an economic downturn, look at cutting the marketing budget as a way to save expenses. Measuring the results and effects of marketing communications is an inexact science and cutting back on marketing expenditures is an easy short-term fix. But, how is the organization positioned for the long-term? Its in tough economic times that a sound investment in marketing is most important, as long as youre getting the right return-on-investment. One way to accomplish this is through the use of an integrated marketing communications strategy. Integrated marketing communications, or IMC, is a common thread that flows through every piece of marketing communication or material that is produced for your organization. IMC is a method for controlling and influencing all messages sent to your consumers, and potential consumers. It is a strategy for reinforcing a consistent positioning image (how you are viewed by your customers when compared to the competition) through all of your communication tools.
Some steps to keep in mind when applying an IMC strategy include
Marketing communication goals need to be specific and have quantified objectives (example: we will add 100 customers to our database this month)
Define target groups for your services and define integrated messages for each (example: who is the target customer and how should the product be positioned?)
Select the appropriate communications vehicles to reach each audience effectively (example: a new service for schools may include a media kit, direct mail campaign, and telemarketing, all integrated with the same message)
Integrated marketing communications strategies help organizations get the most for their communications investments. To get started, take a look at your organizations Website, brochures, press releases and other communications vehicles. Are they consistent in message and style? If they are, you are on the right road.
For more on “Using an Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy to Get Better Leverage From Your Communications Investment,” click here for this article by Jason Burkhart in the September, 2003, OPEN MINDS, The Behavioral Health & Social Service Industry Analyst. Mr. Burkhart outlines specific principles to keep in mind when applying the IMC concept and suggests ways to measure the results of your communication initiatives. This article is free for the next thirty days for The OPEN MINDS Circle Members.
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Premium Circle members may access Marketing Communications Plans for Non-Profit Organizations: Understanding the Audience is Key by Niels T. Eskelsen, MBA, Consultant, OPEN MINDS. Mr. Eskelsen provides step-by-step guidelines for developing a marketing communication plan for non-profit organizations.
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