What Is an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan?

Consumers today have moved on in different ways from those of even 10 years ago, as a result of big changes:

  1. The financial collapse of 2008 and subsequent recession in Europe has changed the behaviour of consumers, who are still struggling to recover.
  2. They are more cautious about spending and other financial matters, are scaling back their horizons, see foreign holidays as less attractive and are delaying significant purchases.
  3. The technology revolution of the past two decades has affected the way everyone lives and works. It has forced traditional businesses to completely rethink the way they market and sell their products and services.
  4. While the best ones are benefiting from consumers’ growing technological sophistication by increasing their digital engagement with them, in a fast-moving, noisy, multi-channel world creating messages that consumers notice and act on becomes increasingly difficult.

Marketers are therefore having to work to give them reasons to make a purchase. These major shifts mean that marketing communications have to work faster than ever to change consumer awareness, attitudes and behaviour.

How do you create and develop an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan?

According to leading, Marketing Communication author Chris Fill (2013) marketing communication plans should consist of the following components:

  • Context analysis.
  • Communication objectives.
  • Marketing communication strategy.
  • Co-ordinated communications mix (tools, media and content).
  • Resources (human and financial).
  • Scheduling and implementation.
  • Evaluation and control.
  • Feedback.

Setting Measurements for the Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

For any plan and promotion to be successful, it needs to be:

  • Well planned and executed.
  • Part of an effective integrated promotional mix.
  • Consistent with the values and mission of the organisation.

When attempting to measure effectiveness, we should bear in mind three things:

  1. Are our customers’ needs being satisfied?
  2. How competitive is our chosen market?
  3. What external factors are affecting us?

Role of Market Research in the Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

Marketing research can help with all these questions.

In fact, a developed system of market sensing and a comprehensive marketing information system (MKIS) is needed to constantly evaluate both the marketing effort and IMC campaigns.

The old adage “I know that half of my advertising is wasted: I just don’t know which half” may not be quite as true as it used to be given the wealth of measurement tools and techniques that have grown up around marketing. Promotion is probably the single biggest expenditure the organisation makes, so, however difficult it is, marketers have to at least try to measure its success.

Here are some possible tools for measuring different aspects

  • Personal selling – Sales revenue increases/sales targets met.
  • Public relations – Editorial coverage.
  • Direct marketing – Enquiries generated.
  • Advertising – Brand awareness.
  • Sales promoti