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What is Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)?

You may ask yourself what is IMC and should I be interested? 

Integrated Marketing Communications, otherwise known as IMC, is the process of unifying all communication and messaging across various channels.

IMC is important because promotional materials work better together than alone. In this way, your marketing is transmitting one clear idea.

You may have already heard of the marketing mix and how all four P’s (Product, Price, Promotion, Place) are needed to have a well-established marketing effort. Well, IMC falls under the Promotion category, with its own set of communication methods.

Don’t think that an IMC strategy will be easy; it will take consistent work amidst rising challenges. However, the benefits include a competitive advantage over rivals and an increase in sales.

The Benefits of Incorporating IMC

IMC is really about generating faster returns on your marketing mix.

Distributing a clear message through various communication channels helps consumers move through the different stages of the buying process. This is an essential part for the sustainability and ongoing growth of a business. Making it easier for people to buy will lead to an increase in sales.

With IMC you guide consumers in their buying process, and establish a bond between customer and brand. Essentially, the goal here is brand loyalty.

IMC may seem like a relatively new concept for many, but large firms and businesses, such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and American Express, already implement IMC daily. That’s because IMC allows businesses to send clear and cohesive messages to consumers via multiple communication channels. Such action has proven to be successful in many forms.

Sending consistent messaging shows consumers the sincerity and relevance of the brand. Furthermore, the firm also saves money on all of the marketing materials used. The same assets can be used more than once throughout an ongoing campaign. This helps a firm eliminate waste and clutter.

The Challenges of Incorporating IMC

The outcome of implementing IMC to an organization’s communication strategy can be very rewarding. Nonetheless, the implementation of IMC is most often faced with unattended challenges as stated in MMC Learning. For instance, some organizations ignore the importance of interdepartmental communication, thus depriving and compromising the importance of IMC strategies. In some cases, the organization is too large and is faced with communication barriers within departments and management.

Management can most often pose threats to the inclusion of IMC. Internal wars most often arise due to rigid budgets and the opposition of interdepartmental management.  

IMC also creates challenges for creative messages. Creativity is compromised, as the efficiency of the creative is questioned and only the necessary is needed to carry on an ongoing message.  

As technology continues to evolve, some challenges may begin to arise due to new tools being made available. Such tools may include new communication mediums and upgraded social media platforms. IMC strategies may need to be modified as change begins to emerge.

Levels of Integration

It is important to note that IMC is not a one-size-fits-all plan that any organization can use. Each organization is different, with distinct objectives. Luckily, there are various levels of integration that an organization can use to adopt IMC, in relation to their target audience and the message being broadcast. There are five levels of integration that an organization can choose from: Internal, External, Horizontal, Vertical, and Data Integration.

  1. Internal Integration requires internal marketing, with management keeping employees engaged and amused with upcoming projects. 
  2. External Integration requires out of house marketing such as, hiring an agency or a PR firm. The firm then executes strategies to direct a clear an innovative message.
  3. Horizontal Integration brings various departments working on the same task together within the organization, such as the marketing mix. This approach should be considered when developing a product or service.  
  4. Vertical Integration assures that the product or service that is being worked on aligns well with the corporate or company policies and values. 
  5. Data Integration requires a developed product presented to clients. Once a product has been finalized all departments come together to solidify marketing and advertising efforts.

Each approach is unique and is tailored to suit a specific objective, while creating a clear structure towards developing a strategic strategy. Integrated Marketing Communications is a great strategy for any business looking to grow, specifically with a clear message directed to their target audience. In addition, communicating effectively without any noise in between allows the receivers to decode the message clearly. Not only will consumers identify a clear message, the branding of the organization will also be enhanced.

If you would like to continue growing your audience or seek any additional information give us a call!

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