With our Integrated Communication plan hand-in just around the corner, we decided to look at identifying appropriate SMART communication objectives and how to recommend integrated marketing communication (IMC) plans.

In this blog, we’ll explore the strategies in an integrated communications plan and how it helps raise company profile and brand image.

 

What are Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)?

It has been around for a while and it’s still very valuable, as it ensures that all your messaging is aligned to support the desired brand image. The key point to remember is all internal and external messages should be consistent and aligned to support the brand identity; Brand identity can be developed by using brand building models.

“Integrated marketing communications is an approach to promoting a message through multiple strategies that work together and reinforce one another.” the balance small business

For more information on IMC please check out my blog on Integrated Communications.

 

Aims, Goals, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics …

So, you will need all of them for the plan, but what differentiates them apart? Before you start any plan, knowing this is crucial.

Aim – This is the businesses purpose or desired outcome, they tend to be more general than goals or objectives because they are focused on a bigger long-term result

e.g. Achieve a marketing share of 20% within 3 years of the product launch

Goals – A goal is usually a target that won’t contain the steps needed to get there, but will be more specific than an aim

e.g.  Increase profits by 25% within 1 year

Objectives – These are measurable and there are usually multiple objectives within a marketing plan. Objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-bound). We have a SMART Objective Generator you can try out.

e.g. To increase the monthly website views, coming from organic search, social media, email marketing, and direct traffic, by 10% within the next 12 months

Strategy – This is the ‘What’ that builds out a plan, within the strategy you should answer ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’.

e.g. You might consider writing about the competitive landscape and what you are going to do to achieve a competitive edge or gain more market share

Tactics – These are ‘How’ you will achieve the goals you have set, they are the specific activities that need to be carried out.

e.g. Using social media channels to promote and share relevant content to followers

 

Push Pull and Profile Strategies – The 3P’s

When it comes to marketing communication planning, there are 3 different methods you can base your strategy on, and these are the 3P’s of marketing communication. A push strategy forces the product down into the distribution channel by putting emphasis on product promotion. A pull strategy is used to satisfy corporate promotional goals and involves communication between customer/ consumer to attract them to purchase from retailers and distributors; Businesses use a profile strategy to develop corporate promotional goals.

 

Push Strategy: What

The push strategy aims to get the product to marketing without spending a massive amount on advertising, this is where direct and personal selling is used to acquire customers. Businesses tend to use trade shows for this strategy as a chance to use personal selling against industry figures attending.

Push strategies work best when the purchase decision is low-level and usually unplanned or described as an impulse buy. Also use this strategy if there is a low brand loyalty and there is good substitute/ alternative products available to the consumer. This is a good strategy for consumers who are familiar with the product.

Push Strategy: How

  • Shop displays
  • Packaging design work
  • Arranging stock agreements with retailers/ distributors
  • Direct face-to-face marketing
  • Attending industry trade shows

 

Pull Strategy: What

Unlike the push strategy, pull strategies are softer, promotion heavy and directed towards the end user. Lots of promotional offers are needed to support the campaign. The additional advertising used in this method means the total cost is considered as high.

If product demand is high, then it signifies that a pull strategy would be relevant. Also, if you have clear product differentiators that are based on emotional or real features. For consumers that tend to make brand choice decisions before they go to the shop, and if they have a high brand loyalty then this method is also suitable.

Pull Strategy: How

  • Promotional sale offers
  • Product competitions
  • Sponsorship
  • Free samples
  • Public Relations

Profile Strategy: What

Developing a profile strategy is a little different from the other two methods. It aims to build brand awareness and perception, which is done through positioning and brand identity development. The strategy is about sustaining communication with stakeholders and keeping them in the loop with company updates, often done through monthly newsletters.

Profile Strategy: How

  • Corporate advertising
  • Maintaining a social media presence
  • Sponsorship
  • Company newsletters