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What is integrated marketing communications?

Business Description

joy Chemicals Limited. The Group's principal activity is to manufacture and sell inorganic chemicals and fertiliser. The Group operates in three segments: Inorganic Chemicals, Fertilisers and Others. The Inorganic Chemicals segment products include soda ash, salt, marine chemicals, caustic soda, cement and bulk chemicals. The Fertilisers segment consists of urea, phosphatic fertilisers and other agricultural inputs. The Others segment consists speciality fertilizers, like Calcium Nitrate and Zinc Sulphate. Bengal. In Mar-2008, the Group acquired General Chemicals Industrial Products Inc.


What is Integrated Marketing Communications or 'IMC'?

IMC is a product of the late twentieth century. Its birth can be traced to practitioner (advertising, direct marketing, and public relations) activities in the late 1980s - as witnessed by articles in the trade literature. Its growth can be traced directly to emergent academic interest, commencing in the early 1990s - spearheaded by the work at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, led by Professor Don Schultz. Since that time, its growth has been meteoric. But, like so many marketing developments, it has been driven by:

These dynamic forces are amply illustrated in the following chapters. But still we ask: just what is IMC? There are a multiplicity of definitions, and hence a multiplicity of understandings, and therefore potential and actual variability in terms of applications. Here we cite just a few. Don Schultz (1993) stated: IMC is the process of developing and implementing various forms of persuasive communication programs with customers and prospects over time. The goal of IMC is to influence or directly affect the behaviour of the selected audience. IMC considers all sources of brand or company contacts which a customer or prospect has with the product or service as potential deliverychannels for future messages. Further, IMC makes use of all forms of communication which are relevant to the customer or prospect, and to which they might be receptive. In sum, the IMC process starts with the customer or prospect and then works back to determine and define the forms and methods through which persuasive communications methods should be developed.

The title of Don's paper included 'maybe the definition is in the point of view?'. He was right, the definition - and by implication - the application is in the point of view of the user or perceiver. The aims of IMC are:

By this stage, IMC has become a strategic business process. It is not just about promotion itself, but about communication. Strategic refers to the overall driving force of the organization. IMC has become part of that driving force according to this definition, or - put another way - it has the potential to become a driving force if a company takes the steps that lead to its implementation. Yet, this book is not about strategy, it is not about a driving force, nor is it entirely focused on customers or prospects. Why is that?

Modern marketing calls for more than developing a good product, pricing it attractively, and making it accessible. Companies must also communicate with present and potential stakeholders as well as the general public. For most companies, the question is not whether to communicate but rather what to say, to whom, and how often. The marketing communications mix consists of advertising, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, personal selling, and direct marketing, although savvy marketers know that communication goes beyond these five methods. The product's styling and price, the package's shape and color, the salesperson's manner and dress, the place's decor—all communicate something to buyers. In fact, every brand contact delivers an impression that can affect a customer's view of the company. Therefore, the entire marketing mix must be integrated to deliver a consistent message and strategic positioning. We first explore effective marketing communications and the communications mix, and then look more closely at advertising, sales promotion, and public relations.


Today JOY SALT a new view of communications as an interactive dialogue between the company and its customers that takes place during the pre-selling, selling, consuming, and post consuming stages. Successful companies are asking not only "How can we reach our Customers?" but, in a break from the past, are also asking "How can our customers reach Us?" Now sellers use a variety of communication platforms to stay in touch with customers, as . Increasingly, it is the newer technologies, such as the Internet, that have encouraged more firms to move from mass communication to more targeted communication and one-to-one dialogue with customers and other stakeholders.

There are eight steps to follow in developing an effective marketing communications

Program for JOY SALT :

  1. Identify the target audience,
  2. Determine the communication objectives,
  3. Design the message,
  4. Select the communication channels,
  5. Establish the total communications budget,
  6. Decide on the communications mix,
  7. Measure the communications' results, and
  8. Manage the integrated marketing Communication process.

Step 1: Identifying the Target Audience

The first step is to identify a clear target audience: potential buyers of the company's products, current users, deciders, or influencers; individuals, groups, particular publics, or the general public. The target audience is a critical influence on the communicator's decisions about what to say, how to say it, when to say it, where to say it, and to whom to say it. Target audience for JOY salt is whole India who use branded salt in kitchen Further analysis helps the company assess the audience's current image of the company, its products, and its competitors. Image is the set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a person holds regarding an object. People's attitudes and actions toward an object such as a product or service are highly conditioned by that object's image. In assessing image, marketers research the audience's familiarity with the product, then they ask respondents who know the product how they feel about it. If most respondents have unfavorable feelings toward the product, the organization needs to overcome a negative image problem, which requires great patienc because images persist long after the organization has changed. Once people have a certain image, they perceive what is consistent with that image. It will take highly disconfirming information to raise doubts and open their minds—but it can be done. Wolverine World Wide of Rockford, Michigan, discovered this when its Hush Puppies brand of casual shoes lost its fashionable image. Then a fashion designer used Hush Puppies dyed in bright colors, changing the product's image from stodgy to avant garde. Once the "new" Hush Puppies were in demand, sales skyrocketed from less than 30,000 to millions of pairs sold in just 2 years.1

Step 2: Determining the Communication Objectives

Knowing the target audience and its perceptions, the marketing communicator can now decide on the desired audience response, seeking a cognitive, affective, or behavioral response. That is, the marketer might want to put something into the consumer's mind, change an attitude, or get the consumer to act. The four best-known models of consumer-response stages are presented All of these models assume that the buyer passes through a cognitive, affective, and behavioral stage, in that order. This "learn-feel-do" sequence is appropriate when the audience has high involvement with a product category that is perceived to have high differentiation, as in purchasing an automobile. An alternative sequence, "do-feellearn," is relevant when the audience has high involvement but perceives little or no differentiation within the product category, as in purchasing aluminum siding. A third sequence, "learn-do-feel," is relevant when the audience has low involvement and perceives little differentiation within the product category, as in purchasing salt. By choosing the right sequence, the marketer can do a better job of planning communications. THE MAIN OBJECTIVE OF JOY SALT TO CREAT BRAND IMAGE IN THE MIND OF CONSUMER SO THAT THEY NEVER SWITH OUR PRODUCT IN FUTURE

Step 3: Designing the Message

Having defined the desired response, the communicator moves to developing an effective message. Ideally, the message should gain attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and elicit action (AIDA model—see the first column of Figure 5-5). In practice, few messages take the target audience all the way from awareness through purchase, but the AIDA framework suggests the desirable qualities of any communication. Formulating the message will require solving four problems: what to say (message content), how to say it logically (message structure), how to say it symbolically (message format), and who should say it (message source).

Message Content

In determining message content, management searches for an appeal, theme, idea, or unique selling proposition. There are three types of appeals:


Message Structure

Message effectiveness depends on structure as well as content. For example, a communicator may think that one-sided presentations that praise a product would be more effective than two-sided arguments that also mention shortcomings. Yet two-sided messages may be more appropriate, especially when some negative association must be overcome. In this spirit, Heinz ran the message "Heinz Ketchup is slow good" and Listerine ran the message "Listerine tastes bad twice a day." Two-sided messages are more effective with more educated audiences and those who are initially opposed. The order in which arguments are presented is also an important part of message structure. In the case of a one-sided message, presenting the strongest argument first has the advantage of establishing attention and interest. This is important in newspapers and other media where the audience often does not attend to the whole message. With a captive audience, however, a climactic presentation might be more effective. In the case of a two-sided message, if the audience is initially opposed, the communicator might start with the other side's argument and conclude with the strongest argument.

Message Format

The communicator must develop a strong message format. In a print ad the communicator has to decide on headline, copy, illustration, and color. For radio, the communicator has to choose words, voice qualities, and vocalizations. If the message is to be carried on television or in person, all of these elements plus body language (nonverbal clues) have to be planned. If the message is carried by the product or its packaging, the communicator has to pay attention to color, texture, scent, size, and shape. Web-based messages have the flexibility to combine aspects of print, radio, and television messages with a variety of special effects and interactive features to attract, retain, and reinforce audience interest.

Message Source

Messages delivered by attractive or popular sources achieve higher attention and recall, which is why advertisers often use celebrities as spokespeople. In particular, messages delivered by highly credible sources are more persuasive, so pharmaceutical companies have doctors testify about product benefits because doctors have high credibility. Three factors that underly source credibility are expertise, trustworthiness, and likability.Expertise is the specialized knowledge the communicator possesses to back the claim. Trustworthiness is related to how objective and honest the source is perceived to be. Friends are trusted more than strangers or salespeople, and people who are not paid to endorse a product are seen as more trustworthy than people who are paid.Likability describes the source's attractiveness; qualities like candor, humor, and naturalness make a source more likable. The most credible source would score high on all three factors.

Step 4: Selecting Communication Channels

Now that the message has been designed, the communicator must select efficient communication channels to carry it. For example, pharmaceutical salespeople can rarely wrest more than 10 minutes' time from a busy physician. Because personal selling is expensive, the industry has added multiple channels: ads in medical journals, direct mail (including audio and videotapes), sampling, telemarketing, Web sites, conferences and teleconferences, and more. All of these channels are used in the hope of building physician preference for particular branded drug products. In general, firms can use two types of communication channels: personal and nonpersonal.

Personal Communication Channels

Personal communication channels involve two or more persons communicating directly with each other face to face, person to audience, over the telephone, or through e-mail. These channels derive their effectiveness through the opportunities for individualizing the presentation and feedback., for example, invites on-line customers to sign up for e-mailed reviews and recommendations from experts in their choice of book, music, toy, and home improvement subjects.

Companies can take several steps to stimulate personal influence channels to work on their behalf:

Non-personal Communication Channels

Non-personal channels include media, atmospheres, and events. Media consist of printmedia (newspapers, magazines, direct mail), broadcast media (radio, television), electronic media (audiotape, videotape, CD-ROM, DVD, Web page), and display media (billboards, signs, posters). Most nonpersonal messages come through paid media. Atmospheres are "packaged environments" that create or reinforce the buyer's leanings toward product purchase. Law offices are decorated with fine rugs and furniture to communicate "stability" and " is colorful and animated to reinforce the brand's upbeat image. Events are occurrences designed to communicate particular messages to target audiences. Tokyo's Mitsukoshi Department Store, for example, arranges special cultural events and arts exhibits in the flagship store to maintain a sophisticated, cultured image in the minds of upscale shoppers. Although personal communication is often more effective, nonpersonal channels affect personal attitudes and behavior through a two-step flow-of-communication process. Ideas often flow from radio, television, print, and Internet sources to opinion leaders and from these to the less media-involved population groups. This two-step flow has several implications. First, the influence of nonpersonal channels on public opin Developing Effective Marketing Communicationsion is mediated by opinion leaders, people whose opinions are sought or who carry their opinions to others. Second, the two-step flow shows that people interact primarily within their own social group and acquire ideas from opinion leaders in their group. Third, two-step communication suggests that marketers using nonpersonal channels should direct messages specifically to opinion leaders and let them carry the message to others. This is why many software makers give opinion leaders a preview of new programs before they are sold to the general public.

Step 5: Establishing the Marketing Communications Budget

Industries and companies vary considerably in how much they spend on promotion; expenditures might amount to 30-50 percent of sales in the cosmetics industry but only 5-10 percent in the industrial-equipment industry, with variations from company to company. How do companies decide on the promotion budget? Here are four common methods: