Ever wondered why Budweiser’s “Wasssup” campaign is one of the most iconic campaigns of the 21st century? Or why Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign is still one of the most memorable marketing campaigns although it was launched as far back as 1987?
If you think integrated marketing communications (IMC) is not such a big deal, think about all the enormous opportunities and bucks you stand to lose, all because your brand’s campaign simply went unnoticed. Thankfully, you wouldn’t lose out if you avoid these top two mistakes.
Mistake No. 1: Thinking one communication channel will do the trick
Gone are the days when only one basic print ad could solve all of the marketer’s problems. The media landscape has gotten extremely fragmented over the last decade, which makes it more difficult to reach your target consumers with your product or service offering. Did you know that according to a Nielsen study, the average American household has more than two television sets? And with the inception of so many television channels, it’s so hard to know exactly what people are watching as well as which channel or television program to advertise on.
The term integrated marketing communications (IMC), which was coined in 1989, was introduced for one basic reason — Integration. It seeks to enable a company to achieve the objectives of a marketing campaign by looking at the strengths of different communication channels and coordinating their use to ensure that only the most cost-effective and efficient mix of channels are used to achieve maximum consumer impact. Examples of IMC components include advertising, public relations, promotions, sales, trade shows/events and personal selling. The whole point of IMC is to ensure that you speak to the right people at the right cost and in the right places.
Mistake No. 2: Thinking everyone is the target of your campaign
If you’ve ever worked in a public relations agency, it’s possible you may have heard a client say: “We want everybody to love/ use our product or service. It’s for everybody, really.” Well, this is really easy to say when a company doesn’t clearly define its target audience for its product or service. When this happens, it becomes difficult to tailor your IMC campaign to catch the attention of those who may really be in need of what you are selling, because in simple terms you don’t “really know who they are.” This reinforces the importance of leveraging on a data-driven approach that reveals salient consumer insights that can be incorporated into the planning of your IMC campaign.
Take Dove’s “Real Beauty Campaign” for example. Its target audience ranged from young adults to middle-aged women between 18 and 35 years old. But it’s not even just that. Through carefully conducted research, Unilever was able to draw relevant insights into how these women feel and behave at these ages when it comes to the subject of beauty. This led to the campaign increasing its sales from $2.5bn to over $4bn over the period.
Ama Akoto-Boateng is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in communication at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She serves as a 2020–2021 PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee member. In her free time, she enjoys singing, trying out new recipes and going on a road trip. She is passionate about sustainability and public relations, and has been at the forefront of a number of award-winning sustainability initiatives. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.