Integrated Marketing Strategy

For your Integrated Marketing Strategy to be effective, start with the audit.

In conducting the marketing organisation audit the McKinsey 7-S model is extremely useful – it provides a framework for analysing seven important aspects of any organisation:

  • structure,
  • systems,
  • strategy,
  • shared values,
  • staffing,
  • skills and style.

The three following elements are particularly important in a marketing organisation context:

  1. Structure – How well is the marketing function structured? Do
    managers have the necessary authority and skills? What does the
    organisation chart tell us?
  2. Systems (functional efficiency) – How good is the flow of communication between company departments and up and down hierarchies
  3. Systems (interface efficiency) – Are there any identifiable problems between marketing and other functions?

Customer Value Propositions

Customer value propositions

If they are to buy a product or service, customers need to understand
the value or benefits ownership can deliver.

Customer perceived value (CPV) is the prospective customer’s evaluation of all the benefits and
costs of an offering compared with those of competitors.

The equation for ‘total customer-delivered value’ is the difference
between the value the customer thinks they are getting, and what it
costs them (in more than pure monetary terms) to get it.

Some organisations seem to have an intuitive grasp of what their target
group needs or wants.

But most need to find out through market
research or direct feedback from customers at the point of sale, via
website surveys or in social media.

What is Integrated Marketing Communication?

Horizontal Integration occurs across the marketing mix and across business functions – for example, production, finance, distribution and communications should work together and be conscious that their decisions and actions send messages to customers.

While different departments such as sales, direct mail and advertising can help each other through Data Integration. This requires a marketing information system that collects and shares relevant data across different departments.

Vertical Integration means marketing and communications objectives must support the higher-level corporate objectives and corporate missions. Check out the Hall Of Fame later for more about missions.

Meanwhile, Internal Integration requires internal marketing – keeping all staff informed and motivated about any new developments from new advertisements, to new corporate identities, new service standards, new strategic partners and so on.

External Integration, on the other hand, requires external partners such as advertising and PR agencies to work closely together to deliver a single seamless solution – a cohesive message – an integrated message.

The many benefits of IMC are examined in the section called, ‘Benefits of IMC’.

Campaign Strategy

Everything starts with the overarching marketing strategy, which drives the communications
strategy (comprising the advertising, creative and media strategies),
and, in turn, the execution of each individual campaign.

Marketers should judge all proposals (from agencies, for example) against the
agreed marketing strategy, which should be set out in a key document
that all parties can refer to.

Marketing strategy – a long-term plan designed to achieve
marketing objectives, and includes all aspects of the 4P
marketing mix.

Marketing communications strategy – a plan designed to achieve
marketing communications objectives (awareness, attitude change,
lead generation, clicks, sales etc).

Strategy is a crucial part of marketing planning and of marketing
communications planning, although it is often neglected by marketers
(and students of marketing) in the rush to get from objectives
to tactics.

The Creative Strategy

The creative strategy sometimes referred to as the copy strategy, is
at the heart of all promotional communication and delivers the tailored

  • Copy strategy may include factors such as the:
    Correct ‘tone of voice’ to be used for particular target groups.
  • Principal benefits of the brand.
  • ‘Reason why’ or supporting evidence underpinning the benefits.
  • Desired brand image.
  • Positioning.

The Media Strategy

Media planning and media buying are different.

  • Media planning – Is about selecting the optimal presence in the
    optimal channels to deliver the best ROI.
  • Media buying – Is about skilful negotiation in order to secure the
    required media plan for minimal cost.

Most media agencies offer both services; some even employ hybrid
media planners/buyers. Increasingly media agencies cover offline
(traditional) and online (digital) planning and buying, albeit via a team
of specialists in each area.

The media strategy involves decisions on media choice, the timing and
duration of the campaign, its intended impact, the targeted coverage of
the target audience, and the frequency with which the consumer needs
to be exposed to the message.

Decisions will have to be made within
budget constraints, of course, but the primary consideration should be
to select the media that are best able to reach the target audience and
communicate the message well. Selecting the most appropriate media
requires analysis of the target audience’s media consumption habits
– whether they are more likely to take notice of Twitter than TV, for
example – and whether the message can be conveyed through audio
only, visual only, or requires both.

The Product Lifecycle

The product lifecycle compares the life of a product, brand or even
an industry to the human cycle of birth, rapid growth, maturity and

It is useful because it prompts us to categorise the stages in
a product’s ‘life’ and apply different strategies to each. In the case of
fashion products or fads, the product lifecycle can be very short. With
long-established products you can sometimes counter an inevitable
decline with a form of recycling. The principal phases are:

  • Development – Here the company is typically investing and earning no income.
  • Introduction – Revenue may grow slowly and the company may still be making a loss.
  • Growth – This is the spurt phase of rapid growth.
  • Maturity – Or ‘saturation’, where growth is minimal or non-existent.
  • Decline – A short-term recovery may be possible.
  • Obsolescence – Or phasing out.

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