Marketing and IMC are two terms that are used frequently when developing the marketing strategy of a company. Marketing is a process carried out by companies to sell products and services and to make sure that the customers are satisfied with the products and services. IMC is the acronym for “Integrated Marketing Communications”, which is an integration of all the marketing tools, methods and approaches used by companies to ensure that a coherent message is presented to the customers that has the greatest influence on the minds of the customers.
The market in the present times is quite competitive and it is important for the marketing department of a company to not only develop a promotional mix, but also to make sure that an integrated marketing communications plan is created. The IMC essentially creates coordination between all the promotional messages that have been created for a product to ensure coherence and uniformity.
In this article, we will discuss the definitions of marketing and integrated marketing communications, after which we will present the differences between the two.
Definitions and explanations
Marketing is a very important process for any business. It includes a range of activities that are carried out by a company to encourage customers to buy their products and services, and then establish relationships with them. In addition, the objective of marketing is to make sure that the customers are fully satisfied with the product offering and continue making purchases from the company in the future.
Before developing a successful marketing strategy, companies first need to comprehend the target market. These are the people that can be served by the company. Most companies decide to segment the market instead of targeting the entire market. After determining the segment of the market to target, the company will be able to formulate its marketing strategy more effectively.
Marketing essentially seeks to comprehend the needs of the target market and make efforts to fulfill those needs in a more effective manner than the competitors. Their aim is to provide products and services to the target market that serves as a solution to their problems.
There are four main components of a marketing strategy, which are also known as its marketing mix. These form the basis of the marketing strategy used by a company for selling its products or services. These four elements are Product, Place, Price and Promotion, also known as the 4Ps of the marketing mix. It is important for businesses to align each of these elements so that they can fulfill the requirements of the target market. If these elements are not consistent with each other, then conflicting messages will be given to customers, which will make them hesitant in purchasing the product.
This is where the integrated marketing communications comes into play, as will be described subsequently.
Integrated marketing communications (IMC)
Once companies have developed a product, they need to make sure that their customers are aware of it. For this reason, companies carry out promotional activities to make their products known to their target market. Promotion connects a business with its customers and tells them what they are offering.
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is part of the present-day promotional activities. IMC essentially brings together the various communication methods and tools used by companies to present a consistent message to the customers and ensure that their behavior and opinions are influenced.
The various messages, approaches and media used by a business to interact with the market and influence the target customers to acknowledge its message and take appropriate action are all part of marketing communications. The different tools used for this purpose are advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and public relations. In integrated marketing communications, all of the communication activities being carried using these different elements are coordinated to ensure that a coherent message is being presented to the customers. It aims to integrate the marketing strategies as a single, unified strategy that creates a connection between the company and its customers.
When companies make sure that the different promotional mediums work in collaboration with each other in an integrated campaign, they can make sure that the reinforced messages are viewed by the target market, which makes the benefits of the products evident. This makes it easier for the customers to make the purchase decision rapidly and remove any confusion that they may have regarding the usefulness of the product.
Difference between marketing and integrated marketing communication (IMC)
Some main points of difference between marketing and integrated marketing communication (IMC) are given below:
Marketing refers to the various activities that are carried out to identify a target market and promote products and services in that market. Integrated marketing communications refers to the integration of the various promotional messages and activities undertaken by a company so as to ensure that a consistent message is delivered to the customers.
Marketing is an entire field and the marketing mix consists of four key elements, which are known as the 4Ps of marketing, i.e. product, price, place and promotion. On the other hand, integrated marketing communications pertains to just the promotional mix. Hence, it can be said that integrated marketing communications is one of the elements of marketing.
The aim of marketing is to create awareness of a brand and generate sales. IMC, on the other hand, aims to integrate the various promotional tools and approaches used by a company to ensure that consistent messages are delivered that creates a more powerful impact on the minds of the consumers.
Marketing vs integrated marketing communication (IMC) – tabular comparison
A comparison of marketing and integrated marketing communication in tabular for is presented below:
|Different activities carried out identify a target market and promote a product
|Integration of all communication tools used by a company
|Wide scope, including all the 4Ps of marketing
|Focuses on only the promotional aspect of marketing
|Create brand awareness and increase sales
|Coordinate the different promotional tools used by a company to offer a coherent message
Conclusion – marketing vs integrated marketing communication (IMC)
In conclusion, it can be asserted that integrated marketing communications is very important in today’s competitive world. It is very important for companies to ensure that their marketing activities are aligned with each other so as to eliminate any confusion that may arise in the minds of consumers. Companies now have a wide variety of tools available with them to interact with their customers because of easy access to the Internet. Hence, it has become very important to ensure that the same message is being delivered across all the tools used to communicate with the customers. This creates greater chances of increasing awareness about the product and generating sales. Hence, IMC plays a vital part in the overall field of marketing.