6 steps to planning integrated marketing communications (IMC)

marketing communication planning

The biggest difference of IMC integrated marketing communication planning process is making the most of the tools in a marketing communication campaign with the same idea, beyond the scope of the message. , becoming a link throughout to ensure that customers can receive diverse products on many communication channels. However, not all Marketers understand the standard integrated marketing communication planning process.

Concepts of marketing communication

What is Marketing?

From the perspective of MarketingTrips, Marketing is the activity of seeking profit through better meeting the needs of customers than competitors.

This concept has included many processes of Marketing activities such as: market research to find out the real needs of customers (insights), product research, price research, distribution and of course including promotional activities (advertising, PR, promotion, direct marketing, personal selling).

marketing communication planning
marketing communication planning

What is a Marketing Communication Plan?

A marketing communication plan usually includes relatively detailed all the content related to the specific directions and activities that the marketing department will do in order to meet the business goals of the brand. .

A comprehensive plan will contain content such as: strategy, tactics, market research, brand positioning, segmentation and target market selection, understanding customer portraits and much more. .

What is IMC?

Every business understands the importance of communication and marketing tools in reaching maximum customers. Therefore, using only a single communication tool for a campaign will not bring the desired effect. And that’s why Integrated Marketing Communications was born.

According to Armstrong & Kotler 2005,

IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) or integrated marketing communication are coordinated and closely linked communication activities aimed at delivering a clear, consistent and persuasive message about several organizations and products of that organization.

It is a combination of all marketing communication tools and resources in a company to influence consumers at a reasonable cost.

There are 5 main tools in IMC including: Advertising (Advertising), Public Relations (PR), Sale / Promotion (Promotion), Direct Marketing (Direct Marketing), Personal Selling (Personal Selling).

Each tool has different strengths and weaknesses, combined with the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) in the Marketing Mix to help businesses achieve their goals.

IMC marketing communication planning process

IMC is gradually becoming the core factor for the success of marketing communication campaigns for businesses. However, in today’s competitive market, what should businesses communicate? How to integrate effectively?

Below is a standard marketing communication planning process (6 steps) given for marketers that you can refer to.

marketing communication planning
marketing communication planning

Step 1: Determine the goals of marketing communication planning

There is an old saying: you must know where you are going before you figure out how to get there, that is, you need to determine your goal before doing anything. And IMC media planning is no exception.

If you are feeling confused, the SMART Model will be an effective suggestion for you in this case.

Specific – specific

Measurable – can be measured

Achievable – attainable

Realistic – realistic

Time-focused – focus on the time element

These goals will help you measure effectiveness and provide a basis for evaluating your communications. However, there is a mandatory requirement that the goal of your plan must meet 2 “immutable” requirements, “Achievable” and “Realistic”. If the goal does not meet these two criteria, be careful in doing it.

Step 2: Identify the main target audience

Target customers are the group of people whose demographic characteristics are suitable for the products and services that the business is targeting. It can be groups of online or real-life objects, have buying habits, specific buying behaviors and, importantly, have the ability to pay and spend money to buy products and services. they need.

Identifying the main target audience will help businesses reach the right customers, save costs and come up with appropriate plans to “conquer” them.

To accurately define your target audience, you can apply some basic principles in Marketing.

Based on research, theory

– Conduct statistics and research from the data collected on a certain range of customers (the number of studies must be large enough to provide general indicators)

– Research and analyze competitors in the same field, from which research on the customer group that you want to target.

Based on practical factors

– Go to the market (market visit)

– Actual observation (in-home visit)

– Live the life of the consumer

– Actual survey of media habit

Psychological research on the needs, wants, desires and fears of users when using a product or service

marketing communication planning
marketing communication planning

Step 3: Consumer Insight

Not an obvious fact, Insight is the tacit truth, interpretation of customer behavior and trends. Exploiting the psychology, habits and preferences of customers can make them feel excited because they are understood. This will stimulate curiosity and desire to experience the product.

Consumer psychology and behavior change day by day, so identifying customer insights requires marketers to have a solid background knowledge and a strong “perceptive” ability. Some of the “guidelines” given for finding this “underground truth” include: Collect – Connect & Dig Deeper – Crafting

Step 4: Big Idea makes a marketing communication plan

Once they have customer insights, marketers need to come up with an idea to solve those problems. If conquering a girl, putting all her mind to getting “a nod” in return, a successful Big idea is when the campaign is implemented and received a lot of nods.

Big Ideas are short, concise key ideas that are relevant to the customer and have the ability to create a connection between the product and the potential customer. A successful Big Idea is an idea that arouses emotions in customers and makes consumers think that this product is essential to them.

Besides the Insights exploited, you can build Big Idea based on:

– Competitor analysis

– Customer Surveys

– Magazine

No matter how it is created, your Big Idea must represent the role of your brand easily and make customers know, like, and remember your brand.

Step 5: IMC integrated marketing communication plan implementation plan

To bring the idea closer to the customer, you need to develop it into a more detailed plan. The elements that need to be established must be able to answer the questions:

– What is the time, cost, and budget for each stage?

– What are the key activities (key hooks) and key communication activities (key messages)?

– What are the auxiliary activities for each stage?

Fully answering the above guiding questions, you can build yourself a detailed and clear plan.

Step 6: Evaluate communication effectiveness

Evaluating the communication effectiveness of the integrated marketing communication plan IMC is one of the equally important steps that many marketers overlook. End the communication campaigns, based on the data collected from customers and implementation costs with the goals and initial expected budget to evaluate the effectiveness. Evaluations include:

– Brand awareness

– Campaign awareness

– Level of memory and understanding of media messages

The impact of the campaign on brand awareness and sentiment

– The impact of the marketing communication planning campaign on the buying behavior of customers (including the rate of customers using products and services and the rate of customers recommending products and services to customers). other)

– Feedback from customers

In addition, it is also necessary to evaluate the opponent’s communication activities on the SOV/SOI index to adjust more appropriate activities in the next period.

Performing well the evaluation of communication effectiveness after each campaign will help businesses save costs and increase communication efficiency.

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By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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