Integrated Marketing is Relationship Marketing.
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) works to engage a specific individual, using a specific message through specific media outlets. It's all very specific! The goal is to develop a long-term relationship with your customers by involving them in a two-way exchange of information. Much like you would engage someone in real life through a conversation.
Essentially, IMC is intended to be the overarching coordination of strategy and tactics across multiple different communication disciplines:
- public relations
- stakeholder management, etc.
Numerous different channels may be used in tandem in order to showcase “one voice” and consistent messaging through all disciplines. Traditional channels such as TV, radio and print may be used, as well as the ever-evolving arenas of digital ads and social media. Further, so called “alternative media” may also be used as an additional touch point; things like pens, coffee mugs, shopping bags, athletic gear, t-shirts, and lighting displays may all be used. As long as the potential consumer can see, hear, or feel something, it may be accessible as an alternate or future mode of marketing.
Social media plays a huge role in helping modern day businesses form meaningful bonds and interactions with current and potential consumers. By allowing a broad array of two-way communication, brands engage with stakeholders in a transparent and nearly instantaneous environment via social platforms. This allows loyalty and trust to build between sellers and buyers over time and ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
“The internet has personalized communication efforts between buyer and seller, moving from talking at the target to talking with the target (particularly through social media sites)."*
IMC constitutes a bird’s eye view of all the major communication disciplines but should not be considered a superior discipline over the others. Rather, it should be viewed as a mechanism in which advertising, marketing, and public relations all work together to fulfill the role of total brand management in both the short and long term. One vision, one voice.
*Blakeman, R. (2015). Integrated Marketing Communication: Creative Strategy from Idea to Implementation (2nd Edition). Rowman & Littlefield.