Integrated marketing communication is about collective application of various marketing techniques harmoniously in the marketing of a particular product. This is the most successful marketing method that can be adopted for a product or service. All marketing methods can be made use of in this system most effectively and as demanded by situation. This paper deals with the concept and pros and cons associated with various methods of integrated marketing communication methods. It also tries to apply this method in the marketing of a new product developed.
Integrated marketing communication
There are several channels of communication available for an organization. Most successful strategy to be adopted for making communication successful is to integrate various methods of marketing. This technique is called as integrated marketing communications and in this method all marketing methods work harmoniously and carefully throughout the life of a product. It is also necessary that these channels are maintaining a consistency in its working (Barbara, 2009).
Organizations are to promote their products and services among consumers to survive and to compete in market. With brand promotion consumer awareness will increase and this will lead to an increase of sales providing more profits and revenue to organization. With integrated marketing all channels of communication can be linked together carefully in a way for them to work together harmoniously. All that is to be taken care of is that these channels work together all the time and this consistency maintained every time. Various means of integrated marketing are sales promotion, advertising, direct marketing, personal selling and public relation (Don, Stanley, & Robert, 1993).
Pros and cons: advertising.
Advertising is good in a way that it helps in customer education and helps them to use new products and services for improving their lives. Sales also increase and thus bring profit to companies. Economy is also helped as it provides job for several people. There are some radio and television channels that exist merely due to advertising. It also makes products and services cheaper through sponsoring through ads.
According to critics consumers are paying more prices to products for money spent on advertisement is also added to cost of products. Small companies close down for they cannot compete with large ones through advertisements. Advertisements attracts consumers and forces them to buy products they cannot afford or is not really needed. Thus advertisement increases personal debt. It also increases waste and pollution as unnecessary goods bought will be thrown away for replacement. Children are the biggest target and it is the advertisement that usually causes issues like diabetes and obesity among children (Philip & Patrick, 2004).
Pros and cons: direct marketing.
Direct marketing is very effective in consumer market and is highly scientific. Consumer will get clear picture of features of products and services marketed. Characteristics of the products and services marketed will be straight forward. Sales revenue will be much more in this method than any other marketing methods. Return on investment will be high with this method of marketing.
In this method there is very less control over accounts. Features of products and services must be either known purely to consumers or it must be present trend. This method lacks feedback or control over audience. There is need for multiple media, exposure and messages that are clear impacting for products and services. Customer segmentation is very difficult in this method (Robyn, 2007).
Pros and cons: sales promotion.
Sales promotion is used by companies for achieving short term sales objectives. From the positive side sales promotion encourage consumers to buy products in larger size. Sales promotion helps customers to create an experience and helps the brand of a company to get associated with activities and lifestyles. This is a method to develop customer loyalty and provides them with extra value through extra amount and items. It is one of the best methods to develop brand equity and can be used as a very effective promotional devise for trial inducing and retention of customers. Customers will be able to experience the product directly and at the same time they are offered price reduction as they need not rely on retailers.
Main disadvantage in this system is the high cost and lack of immediate effect. This method will take time to accumulate points. It is also very difficult to make assumption about the number of customers who will redeem really. Consumers will suffer from inventory problems and create pricing. Yet another issue is the need to create shelf space additionally (Dennis, Margit, & Peter, 2006).
Pros and cons: public relations.
With public relations public benefits from information they get. Customers will remain updated about products and services and will help consumers to find the best suited for their needs. If the focus of public relations is on the offer made by the company and what they are capable of providing it becomes very effective and will bring customers.
At times public relations are misleading and at times it is misused. This is when focus of public relations is on competition and is used for degrading competitors. It is also used as propaganda and this is yet another issue. Public relations are to be used for marketing or promoting a company’s products or services and not to degrade others or to provide misleading facts (Don, Stanley, & Robert, 1993).
Pros and cons: personal selling.
Main advantage of personal selling is face to face communication as this helps in greater exchange of information. Response can be easily monitored and personal sales presentation can be developed according to needs of consumers. There is very less chance for distraction of prospect and seller is also involved in decision of purchase. There is research information source and two way interaction with consumers.
Main disadvantage of this system is that it is more costly when considered on time basis. Skills of distributer are analyzed by consumer themselves and company also monitors this other than resume. Reach in this case is very limited and message might be inconsistent. There is chance for conflict between sales force and management. There are some ethical issues also in this method (Robyn, 2007).
Overview of the Product/Service
Medicinal clothing is gaining market globally over past few years. With increasing concern of customers about organic living style, organic clothing has become very popular. Even designer clothing is made using organic cotton and it is this material that is made use of for making medicinal cloths. Medicinal cloths are those that can be worn according to trend and at the same time it is capable of curing several diseases. It is this product that is marketed and this is of great use to those who have less time for health concerns but is suffering from health issues.
Rationale for Choosing Channels
In the marketing of medicinal clothing all the means of integrated marketing will be made use of. This is because all these methods of marketing have their own benefits and greatest benefit can be gained by integrating all these methods together. They can work together better in harmony than in isolated form. Being a new product it is necessary that the product is advertised, marketed directly, establish public relation, and promote sales and personal selling.
When the product matures personal selling can be avoided. This is because consumers of this product will know about it already and there won’t be any need to develop sales presentation according to needs of customer at this stage. Customer will come in search of the product and there won’t be any need of personal selling.
Advertisements will be done more effectively as more consumers will be attracted to this as time passes. All that is needed is to keep them updated about new trends. For that public relations will be of great use. Sales promotion will be conducted seasonally. Customers will be attracted to cotton clothing more during summer than in winter and with sales promotion advantage of season can be taken. Consumers will be experiencing various issues related to over exposure to sun, sweating etc. and all these can be avoided with the help of medicinal clothing. Same is in rainy season and winter when there are chances to get more skin related diseases. Public relations are always helpful as it is the best and most effective method to create awareness among consumers. Direct marketing will also be done occasionally among targeted audience like youth, to make them aware that organic medicinal clothing is healthy and at the same trendy. For this marketing campaigns will be conducted and at the same events like fashion shows can be conducted.
By using integrated marketing methods for marketing medicinal clothing we wish to show that all means of marketing if used together can market a product most effectively. This is the most successful marketing method and is better than choosing a single method of marketing. What is to be done is to apply perfect method during correct time. All that is to be done is to create awareness among consumers about your product and this can be done using all these five methods of marketing. All that matters is the time and method in which you are using these means of marketing.
Communication with target market will be established using personal selling at initial stage and later with the help of sales promotion, direct marketing and advertising. Sales promotion is considered as the most effective method to communicate to a particular target market as it can communicate the message precisely to target consumer. Advertising is for general market and even then it can attract those who are having less time to take care of health but is facing issues. This method will be more beneficial to those suffering from diseases like diabetes. Direct marketing will attract more consumers of middle ages. Though it involves more effort, this method can generate good revenue than any other means. Internet will also be used in marketing and there will be one website for this product. Here consumers will be able to place their orders, check for products, customize according to their needs etc. it will be more consumer oriented and will be made use of more in future with the increase of customer base.
Strategy to Measure the Effectiveness of the Campaign
Several measures are adopted to measure the effectiveness of campaign and all of them are helpful in gauging the effectiveness.
As the first measure it is necessary to know the metric used for measuring effectiveness of campaign. We need to decide whether concentration is on brand awareness, sales, brand perception, profitability or repeat business. It is not advisable to measure all these aspects at once. We are of the opinion that focusing on a particular metric is the best method to measure effectiveness.
As part of this we would like to provide an email address, specific phone number and web address in all the advertisements. Success of a campaign can be measured with the help of response received through these systems. Customers will be asked about their awareness of product or the reason behind purchase of this particular product. This method will be used mainly in online sales and the response even if it is small will help to get a picture of client base of this product. As part of some new product campaign we will introduce redeemable coupons. This will help to know the number of persons participated in that campaign aims to purchase this product. Overall impact of all these methods will be considered along with individual impacts of each campaign measures and the communication efforts will be looked at a broad sense. There will be marketing objectives in annual marketing plan and this will help to direct us in communication effort. Analytical tools based on Internet are also made use of for quantifying campaigning efforts. Above all this what we rely on most is to be creative. What will be focused is to provide customers with useful information. Communicate the information in most effective and easy to understand manner.
Marketing is one of the basic elements in gaining customers for a product. There are several marketing methods and for successfully marketing a product you need to select the most appropriate method at a particular moment of time or for a particular market. Even if you are able to market a product very effectively in initial stage, it is not necessary that the product continues to be a success. For this it is necessary to keep the marketing methods integrated and at the same time measure the effectiveness of methods adopted. Marketing strategies are to be developed in accordance with these feed backs and act accordingly.
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