Integrated Marketing Communications

Integrated Marketing Communications free pdf ebook was written by CRC-T on March 29, 2005 consist of 16 page(s). The pdf file is provided by and available on pdfpedia since December 17, 2011.

section one integrated marketing communications trafalgar square, london. a month of free events, july 2004. 'summer in the square,' coordinated by the greater london ...

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Integrated Marketing Communications pdf

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Integrated Marketing Communications - page 1
0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 1 Section One Integrated Marketing Communications Trafalgar Square, London. A month of free events, July 2004. ‘Summer in the Square,’ coordinated by the Greater London Authority, consisted of a series of events; Bollywood Steps (dance displays), a Children’s Art day, Square perspectives (dancing on a transparent stage), Trafalgar shores (Caribbean dance, seaside puppetry), Masquerade (Nigerian drama), Love in the Square (music performances), the Magic Flute (street opera), and the Norwich Union London Sports Park (athletics displays and coaching).
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Integrated Marketing Communications - page 2
0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 2 The four chapters in this section provide an overview of the communications planning process and the importance of an integrated approach. The aim is to build an understanding of the key stages of the process. Chapter 1 considers the process as a whole and describes the integrated approach to marketing communications, putting into context its application in the events industry and providing a model of event communications planning. The following chapters consider the three key elements of the marketing plan: research and analysis throughout the process; the targeting process and setting of objectives; and the forma- tion of innovative strategies. Marketing Communications Planning Research and Analysis Communication Objectives and Targeting Communications Strategy
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 3 Chapter 1 Marketing Communications Planning Objectives To To To To introduce the concept of integrated marketing communications discuss the need for a marketing communications planning process evaluate the models of communication planning provide an overview of the key stages in the communications planning process Introduction When considering marketing communications within the corporate and marketing strategies of an organization, it is necessary to emphasize the long-term and integrated nature of those communi- cations. This requires the consideration of communication objectives which may not be achieved for several years, such as brand loyalty or attitude change, rather than a simple focus on the short term, e.g. sales figures for the next event. This chapter highlights the long-term nature of devel- oping successful communications plans and stresses the need to utilize and integrate a wide variety of tools, techniques and media within the plan. Integrated marketing communications Communication is the process whereby thoughts are conveyed and meaning is shared between individuals or organizations. A general model of communication is given in Figure 1.1. This model recognizes the possibility of the receiver taking a different meaning from the communication than that intended by the sender due to the encoding/decoding process and the ‘noise’ associated with
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 4 4 Innovative Marketing Communications NOISE distractions clutter Sender e.g. event organizer Encoding e.g. images chosen for posters Message e.g. ‘an exciting event’ Media e.g. billboards Decoding interpretation/ meaning Feedback requests for more information Response awareness, interest Receiver target audience/ others Figure 1.1 Major elements in the communication process. the process. This emphasizes the need for careful planning and control of the communication process, as even highly controllable communication methods, such as personalized direct marketing, need to be carefully monitored to determine their effects on the receiver. Marketing within events relies heavily on communication whether this be in directly informing potential customers of a product offering, in creating a brand image in the marketplace, or through customer feedback and market research. Marketing communications represent the collection of all elements in a brand’s mar- keting mix that facilitate exchanges by establishing shared meanings with the brand’s stakeholders. The brand can refer to an individual product (one event), a group of products (a programme of events) or a wider organizational brand (the event organizer, the location, the sponsor). The stakeholders will consist of a range of groups such as existing and potential customers, employees, sponsors and the local community. When the audience of a marketing communications message decodes or translates the message they can do so on a number of levels. The Wirthlin Report (1999) describes these levels as a ladder from the communicator to the audience. The lowest level consists of rational components, the product’s attributes (e.g. venue, performers,
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 5 Marketing Communications Planning 5 date) and the functional consequences of using the product (e.g. entertainment). The higher levels are the emotional components consisting of psychosocial consequences or personal emotional outcomes (e.g. ‘made me forget my worries’) and personal val- ues or major goals and ideals (e.g. self-esteem, peace of mind, love). Communication that operates on all levels is likely to be more effective in building a longer-term change in attitude and behaviour. A number of factors have led to a move away from the traditional promotions mix for marketing communications (personal selling, advertising, sales promotion and public relations) to the development of the concept of integrated marketing com- munications (IMC). Integrated marketing communications has been defined in a number of ways: a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a com- prehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communications disci- plines . . . . and combines these to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact (Duncan and Everett, 1993). The coordination of all promotional activities to produce a unified, customer-focused pro- motional message (Broderick and Kitchen, 2001). The harmonization of customer-orientated promotional messages (Fill, 2002). All consistent interactions a stakeholder has with an organization (Schultz, 1998). An organization’s unified, coordinated effort to promote a brand concept through the use of multiple communication tools that ‘speak with one voice’ (Shimp, 1997). These definitions illustrate the continuing development of integrated marketing com- munications as a concept. Generally, it appears to be agreed that IMC came to the fore in the 1990s and evolved due to a number of reasons. First, a reduced faith in the effec- tiveness of the mass media and, consequently, the move towards highly targeted com- munication methods and, secondly, due to the greater demands being placed on marketing communication suppliers and the increased need to demonstrate return on investment. Thirdly, there is the need to coordinate and integrate the ever-widening array of communication tools and media available to the marketer (Table 1.1). The complexity of the reality of IMC is clearly demonstrated in Hartley and Pickton’s (1999) model of the ‘mindscape of integrated marketing communications’ and ‘the wheel of integrated marketing communications’ developed by Pickton and Broderick (2001). These models present the marketing communications techniques included within the traditional categories of advertising, sales promotion, public relations and personal selling, but illustrate the requirement for these to overlap and Table 1.1 Comparison of traditional versus IMC perspectives Traditional marketing communications Separate functions: fragmentation Starts with organization (goals, products) Specialist practitioners Fragmented communication programmes Shorter-term objectives Mass audiences Integrated marketing communications Integrated into one strategy: synergy Customer orientated Generalists Consistent communication programmes Relationship/brand building objectives Targeted to stakeholder segments
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 6 6 Innovative Marketing Communications to be used in a number of differing ways. The use of a combination of one-to-one communications and one-to-many communications for both image and brand man- agement as well as customer contact management is a vital aspect of IMC. In recog- nizing the variety of techniques, the numerous potential objectives and differing target audiences plus the overlaps between these, the models illustrate both the potential benefits of IMC and some of the reasons for it not being adopted within many organizations. These barriers to IMC include the difficulties in managing the process and the choice of whether this is done in-house or through an agency. There are also problems in overcoming the mindset of the traditional segmentation of the promotion components and defining the scope of IMC (i.e. does it also include corporate and internal communications). In order to overcome some of these issues, planning models have been developed by a number of authors and these will be considered in the next section. The methods for managing IMC are of lesser importance than the acceptance of the concept that any communications plan needs to consider and use, where appro- priate, a variety of communication tools and that in doing this it is necessary, and beneficial, to ensure consistency of the message (shared core meaning) and comple- mentarity of the methods. Importance of a planning process In order to gain competitive advantage and to ensure added value for the customer, the communication process needs to be planned in a systematic and controlled man- ner. With an ever-increasing choice of communication methods and ways of com- bining these, it is vital that any decisions made are based on accurate, up-to-date and relevant information. The planning of any process allows management to assess the risks and returns of any course of action before deciding upon it. If marketing communications are devel- oped in an ad hoc, fragmented manner, then they will be difficult to monitor in terms of objectives, budget and return. The risks involved, therefore, in investing relatively large amounts of time, expertise and financial resources can be minimized by careful planning and their investment justified by the meeting of clearly defined objectives measured through carefully planned evaluation procedures. A further benefit is that a wrongly chosen communication strategy is more likely to be identified at an early stage if a planning process has been followed. This can then be modified or shelved before more serious damage is done. Similarly, the early identification of problems in implementation can be facilitated by the planning process. An often overlooked benefit of planning is in its cyclical nature. Each new plan- ning cycle benefits from the lessons learnt in the earlier plans, i.e. learning from pre- vious mistakes and successes. This again requires systematic and objective evaluations of the outcomes and process of the previous communications plan. Using such past experiences in a more formalized manner can help to ensure increasing levels of efficiency and effectiveness in any future communications plans. In order to ensure that communications operate at a strategic rather than tactical level within the organization, objectives need to be set for the longer term. The planning process can help ensure that these are set within the constraints of the
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 7 Marketing Communications Planning 7 organization’s resources and the external environment and that they are set for the long, mid and short term. The difficult task of integrating the various aspects of marketing communications and of ensuring a consistent core message to all stakeholder groups can only be achieved through a well-planned communications campaign. The integration, consistency and complementarity needed to gain synergy and hence increased customer value and competitive advantage will only happen if a systematic and well-defined process is followed. There are, of course, some possible drawbacks to a formal communications process. Successful marketing communications, to a large extent, rely on creativity and innovation. An overly formalized or restrictive planning system could be in danger of stifling this creativity in favour of tried and tested methods. The need to pre-test, retest, monitor and evaluate can lengthen the development and implemen- tation time for a campaign and may provide competitors with the information and lead-time to launch counter campaigns to reduce any impact. A planning process needs to be developed, therefore, which does not inhibit creativity and is not overly bureaucratic and formalized. Marketing communications planning Models of communications planning generally tend to be based on the planning framework of situation analysis, objective setting, strategy development, budgeting, implementation and control (Cooper, 1997; Smith et al., 1997; Tucker Knapp, 2001; [**1.1] Fill, 2002). Each model has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, Cooper (1997) clearly demonstrates the cyclical nature of planning and emphasizes the cre- ativity needed within communications planning. However, this model is focused on advertising and therefore does not show the integration and coordination of other communications methods. Fill (2002) provides a useful overview of each of the areas that need to be considered, bringing in marketing research and agencies to the situ- ation analysis and recognizing the levels of objectives (corporate, marketing and communication). This model usefully splits promotional strategies into pull (aimed at end customers), push (aimed at intermediaries) and profile (reaching a range of target groups). The key elements of Fill’s (2002) marketing communications plan- ning framework are: context analysis marketing objectives and positioning marketing communications strategy development of the promotional mix implementation evaluating and monitoring performance. However, as Kitchen (1999) [**1.2] points out there are disadvantages to structured planning in that it can lead to ‘me-too’ strategies, it can encourage seeing customers as targets rather than partners and can give sometimes a dangerous illusion of con- trol. Creativity and intuition need to be provided for within the planning process, as
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 8 8 Innovative Marketing Communications does the recognition that the earlier stages of the plan (formulation of objectives and strategies) are closely related to implementation and control and that the process is not necessarily sequential. The process for event planning (Masterman, 2004) shows the iterative nature of planning which needs to be adopted within the communica- tions plans of event organizations. A non-sequential yet structured process which encompasses all the elements of IMC (consistency, integration and complementarity) and allows for the creativity, intuition and innovativeness of the events industry is the ideal. These qualities may not be easy to combine in one model, but should still underpin the communications process for events organizations. Overview of marketing communications planning Situation analysis The initial stages in any planning cycle are to gain an understanding of the current position and the context within which the plan will operate. This involves the gath- ering, analysis and interpretation of information from a wide range of sources. The most important area to research is the organization’s stakeholders with whom it will be communicating. An in-depth understanding is needed of each group’s cur- rent attitudes to, opinions of and beliefs about the organization, its brands and its events. Knowledge of purchase behaviour and each group’s views of competing products will also be needed. Specific information is required on their reactions to past and future communications campaigns, their media preferences etc. Other areas that need to be researched are competitor activity, the views of inter- mediaries, suppliers and employees and the wider external environment. This includes legal and political changes relating to marketing communications, advances or innovations in communication technology and general social trends which may affect communication preferences. Although often discussed as the first stage, information gathering needs to be ongoing and should inform each aspect of the communications plan. The research into communication specific issues should become part of the organization’s overall marketing information system which will include competitor and market intelli- gence, environmental scanning and wider marketing research as well as data gener- ated internally by the day-to-day operations of the organization. The research needs for events marketing communications are discussed in more depth in Chapter 2. Objective setting Once a thorough understanding of the stakeholders, external environment and the organizational context has been gained, it is then possible to set communications objectives for the campaign. These will often be the first part of a written marketing communications plan and will be used to steer the rest of the process. Communications objectives will be set within the framework of wider marketing objectives of the organization and these in turn will have been set to achieve the corporate objectives. Communication objectives should not include overall sales value, profit margins or market share, but should encompass goals specific to the direct effects of com- munication, e.g. brand awareness, response rates, attitude change, offer take-up, personal recommendations etc.
Integrated Marketing Communications - page 9
0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 9 Marketing Communications Planning 9 The communications plan may include sub-objectives for each stakeholder or target audience and for periods of time within the planning cycle. Separate objectives for each communications method should not be set at this stage, as this presumes the strategic choices yet to be made and jeopardizes the integration of the overall com- munications strategy. The setting of communication objectives is covered in detail in Chapter 3. Targeting Deciding on the audiences, or recipients, of marketing communications needs to be done at an early stage in the planning process. It may be necessary for this to be done both before and after objective setting. As the communications plan is likely to be set within the context of a marketing plan, target groups may well have been identified as part of the overall marketing strategy. If this is the case then these ‘predetermined audiences’ need to be focused on in the research stage and described in detail in the situation analysis. Objectives can then be set for each group already identified. It is then necessary to apply a further breakdown of these groups once the communica- tion objectives have been set. For example, an objective to increase awareness of the interactive aspects of Glastonbury Festival’s website may require the targeting of dis- tinct segments, i.e. past customers, existing customers (those with tickets) and would-be customers (those who could not get tickets), whereas initial targeting in the marketing strategy may have been ‘eighteen to twenty-five-year olds who listen to live music’. Targeting is an essential part of successful communications as it recognizes the preferences and needs of each different group, which can then be reflected in the chosen strategies. These preferences and needs will be widely different between some groups, e.g. sponsors, attendees, local community, but may also vary within groups. For example, the visitors to the Ideal Home Show will include couples, families and organizational buyers and these can be further split into those who live in the UK to those from overseas, or those who attend regularly and first time attendees etc. Identifying target audiences, further segmenting each audience and then specify- ing their characteristics, preferences and behaviour allows communications meth- ods to be tailored to their needs and therefore those methods are likely to be more successful in meeting the objectives. The additional cost involved in creating sepa- rate targeted communications campaigns is far outweighed by the benefits gained in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. Positioning and message strategies In order to ensure the consistency and integration required, it is necessary to deter- mine overarching strategies for positioning and for the communications message. Positioning refers to the image in the mind of the audience of the organization, its brand, its events or its services relative to their image of competing products. The desired position will be developed based on the research undertaken in the situation analysis, the focus of the communication objectives and to some extent predeter- mined from the marketing plan objectives and strategy if these exist. As positioning reflects the perception of the brand by the target audiences, it is important to develop appropriate positioning strategies for each target group. For example, a corporate event organizer will recognize that being perceived as developing the most innova- tive and creative events may be important for some FMCG (fast-moving consumer
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0750663618-ch001.qxd 29/3/05 12:18 Page 10 10 Innovative Marketing Communications goods) clients, whereas being seen as highly reliable with high levels of service may be key for financial sector clients. These specific positioning strategies need to fit within the overall image of the organization and its brand if consistency and synergy are to be achieved. Therefore, an overarching positioning statement is developed and adapted positioning strategies for each target market are fitted within this. Without the overarching strategy the audiences are likely to receive mixed, confusing or at worst conflicting messages. The message strategy is developed from the positioning statement to provide a consistent and repeated image to the target audiences. Again this will be adapted in form and style for each target group, but the overall message will remain the same. The strategic options available will be partly determined by the organization’s competitive position (market leader, challenger, follower or nicher), the product or industry life cycle (introduction, growth, maturity or decline), the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and the external environment. However, the most important determining factor should always be the needs and preferences of stakeholders. Method and media strategies The adaptation of the overall message to meet the needs of each target audience is achieved through the manipulation of the wide variety of communication methods and media available to the marketer. An initial decision to be made is whether or not the methods will involve push or pull strategies or a combination of both. Push strategies are targeted at marketing intermediaries (agents, distributors, brokers) and pull strategies at end customers. Methods involve choices such as stressing the USP (unique selling proposition) of the brand or the brand’s image, creating a resonance with the audience, using rational or emotional appeals. Other choices need to select methods on the scale of one-to-one versus one-to-many communications, interactive versus passive and information based versus image based. The methods of marketing communications have been traditionally grouped into the four categories of advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public rela- tions. However, with the advent of integrated marketing communications and the development of new and innovative methods, these categories have become less useful as many methods overlap and fit into more than one category. Pickton and Broderick’s (2001) ‘Wheel of IMC’ demonstrates this well and clearly shows the wide variety of methods now available. The message and method chosen will, to a large extent, determine which media are appropriate as will the characteristics and preferences of the target audiences. Media choices range from the traditional use of newspapers, sales people, press releases and prize draws to highly interactive websites, product placement in com- puter games, the use of SMS (texting) or ever more attention grabbing promotional events. The important and increasing role of events as a communication method used by other industries is covered in Section 3. Creative combinations of a number of methods and media delivering a consistent message will ensure the success of a communications campaign. The diversity of methods and media available mean that there are unlimited possibilities for creating the new and innovative communications campaigns that are necessary in an increas- ingly overcrowded marketplace. Consumers are becoming ever more cynical and selective in their interest and responses to marketing communications and novelty and subtlety are required to capture and maintain the interest of these audiences
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