Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication with Examples

Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication with Examples

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Feb 14, 2024 17:47 IST

Can you ever imagine a choir singing different notes that don't sync in scale? IMC or Integrated Marketing Communication is like ensuring they harmonise into beautiful music. It means uniting all your marketing messages (website, ads, social media) to tell a clear, consistent story that attracts and resonates with your audience. This is crucial, because a confused choir never sounds good, and neither does a brand with mixed messages!

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IMC or Integrated Marketing Communication as a concept, was introduced roughly around 1989. Previously, marketing communications were primarily one-sided and more fragmented. Fragmentation here refers to inconsistency in terms of communication, leaving customers confused with the business offerings. 

An example of inconsistency would be a print ad that has a different tone than a TV ad from the same brand. If you take the modern-day scenario, think of a B2C brand that creates social media posts with a more jovial and quirky tone while the website has a serious tone and looks like a B2B website. In either case, the target audience is confused, which does not work well for brand building.

Before reading any further, you may want to check out our in-depth blogs on branding and brand marketing

What are Integrated Marketing Communications?

Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC, refers to the combined brand messaging process that includes traditional and online media. It is required to align communications across all touchpoints of the customer journey map. With it, the target audience gets a consistent experience of the brand anywhere. Through IMC, it is possible to meet the marketing objectives of modern businesses today. 

Also, the American Marketing Association defines Integrated Marketing Communication as ‘a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.’

The 6 C's of Integrated Marketing Communication

The Journal of Marketing Management highlights 6 C's which define the success of implementing integrated marketing communications. 

  1. Coverage: How many people are you reaching with your message? Are there overlaps between different communication channels?
  2. Contribution: Is your message working? Is it changing people's minds or actions, even if they haven't seen other parts of your campaign?
  3. Commonality: Does your message sound the same across all channels (e.g., website, social media, ads)? Is your brand image consistent?
  4. Complementarity: Are your different communication channels working together to create a stronger overall impact? Do they tell a unified story?
  5. Robustness: Will your message work for different audiences and situations? Is it flexible enough to adapt?
  6. Cost: How much is it costing you to reach your audience? Are you getting the most value for your money?

Marketing Channels in Integrated Marketing Communications 

So, keeping the target audience in mind along with the budget, marketing goals, and objectives, integrated marketing communications can include the following channels. 

Offline and Online Advertising

Advertising includes print, radio, as well as, digital ads using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. 

Take up Google Ads courses now!

Public Relations

At its core, public relations (PR) involves managing the communication between the organisation and the public. Activities in PR include media events, press releases, and so on. 

Sales Promotion

Contests, giveaways, discounts, etc., are some popular activities. The goals here are short-term. It could be for amassing a larger customer base or driving more sales within a specific period. 

Direct Marketing 

Direct marketing involves activities such as emails, direct mail, etc. 

Choose from the best free email marketing courses 

Event Marketing

Also known as experiential marketing, such promotion is done offline or online in live mode. Some common ones include webinars, workshops, live-streaming events, trade shows, seminars, etc. 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is one big umbrella comprising everything from SEO to social media marketing.

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Top Examples of Integrated Marketing Communications

The examples below show how integrated marketing communications are used upon a single theme. 

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign 

From TV commercials and print ads to social media promotions with personalized packaging, the “Share a Coke” campaign went viral with consistent messaging that encouraged customers to share Coca-Cola with their loved ones. 

Read more about this campaign in our blog on Coca-Cola’s digital marketing strategy 

Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign 

By combining TV commercials, billboards, and social media, Nike promoted the brand’s core message of perseverance and motivation.

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Campaign 

The brand combined TV commercials, social media, and viral videos to promote Old Spice’s products and create a humorous and memorable brand image.

McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” Campaign 

The brand focused on TV commercials, print advertisements, as well as, in-store promotions to create a consistent and recognizable brand slogan.

Apple’s “Think Different” Campaign

Print and TV ads, along with online promotions, have helped Apple showcase itself as a brand as innovative and unique.

Blair Witch Project Movie

Released in 1999, the “Blair Witch Project” utilised a clever integrated marketing campaign. The campaign involved the creation of a website that showed that it was an authentic documentary/’true story’, word-of-mouth marketing, posters of missing students, police reports, etc. This was among the new kind of movie marketing tactics that successfully blurred the lines between fiction and reality. 

Parting Thoughts

When it comes to leveraging integrated marketing communication, your brand messaging becomes consistent and recognisable. It adds a uniqueness that competitors cannot just copy. 

Take up some marketing courses to learn more about such concepts. Or, if you want to explore IMC and incorporate it into your small business brand building, look up courses such as Integrated Marketing Communications: Advertising, Public Relations, Digital Marketing and more on Coursera. 

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio