Integrated Marketing Communication

Topics: [Integrated Marketing] [4 C's vs. 4 P's] [Perception vs. Facts] [Information Processing]


A Model for Integrated Marketing

Integrated Marketing Communication is more than the coordination of a company's outgoing message between different media and the consistency of the message throughout. It is an aggressive marketing plan that captures and uses an extensive amount of customer information in setting and tracking marketing strategy. Steps in an Integrated Marketing system are:

  1. Customer Database
    An essential element to implementing Integrated Marketing that helps to segment and analyze customer buying habits.
  2. Strategies
    Insight from analysis of customer data is used to shape marketing, sales, and communications strategies.
  3. Tactics
    Once the basic strategy is determined the appropriate marketing tactics can be specified which best targets the specific markets.
  4. Evaluate Results
    Customer responses and new information about buying habits are collected and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the strategy and tactics.
  5. Complete the loop; start again at #1.

[ Back to top ] Source: "Sales & Marketing Management" September, 1996

4 P's vs. 4 C's

This section has been influenced by Integrated Marketing Communications by Schultz, Tannenbaum, and Lauterborn.
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Perception vs. Facts

In an age of increasing information overload, the consumer has developed a coping mechanism to deal with the amount of information being received. There is increasing evidence that customers and prospects are basing most of their purchasing decisions on what they perceive to be important or true (or what they think is right or correct) rather than on solid, rational, economically derived information. To the consumer, perception is truth. A perception may not be correct, but it is what they know, and what they know is all they need to know. This new "sound bite" approach to gathering marketing information demands that a marketer's statements about products or services must be clear, concise, consistent, and comprehensible through all forms of communication or the consumer will simply ignore them. Any minor inconsistency that does not match the existing "mind map" and will be ignored. (see Information Processing)

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Information Processing

  Key to effective communication is understanding how consumers process the vast amount of information that comes their way each and every day. To cope, we select only that information that we perceive to be important and ignore the rest. Thus, we limit our span of perception as a way of coping. If the marketing message is to be selected and processed, it must:

  1. consist of sensory and life experiences that can easily be identified and transformed into a unified concept,
  2. have mental relationships to other categorized ideas, and
  3. fit into the categories and mental linkages that people have already created for themselves.

Marketing communication messages that are not recognizable, are not related to each other, conflict with what has already been stored, or are simply unrelated or unimportant to the person will simply not be processed, but ignored. Communication only occurs when the consumer accepts, transforms, and categorizes the message. The storage and retrieval system works on the basis of matching incoming information with what has already been stored in memory. If the information matches or enhances what is already there, then the new information will likely be added to the existing concepts and categories. If it doesn't match, the consumer has to make a choice, either the new information can replace what is already there or the new information can be rejected. If rejected, the consumer would continue to use existing concepts and categories and ignore the new. This is called a "judgment system" in that consumers match or test new information against what they already have and then make a judgment to add to, adapt, or reject the new material. When consumers reject the information or do not add or attach it to what they already have, there is a failure to communicate. In many cases, the failure to communicate is the result of the marketer being unable to match his or her messages or fields of experience with those of the prospect or customer. Consumers use the same information processing approach whether the new data comes from advertising, sales promotions, a salesperson, an article in a newspaper or magazine or from what their neighbor is telling them. The marketer who presents non-integrated messages risks not having any of his or her messages processed because of the conflict that occurs in the consumer's information processing system. If for no other reason that the risk of confusion, marketers must integrate their messages or consumers will simply ignore them.


Chunking and Networks

  Concepts are not isolated units. They are networked together into what we call categories. These groups of concepts are not only made up of chunks of information, but then in turn are also networked together in conceptual relationships. Key to understanding the relationships is understanding the cultural and life experiences that have created the existing network of information chunks that exist in the consumer's head.


Models of Information Processing

Two models of information processing have been proposed:

  1. The replacement model assumes that it is possible for the marketer to "replace" previously stored information chunks with new ideas. What is said does not matter as much as how often and how loud the message has been transmitted. With enough exposure, the new will replace the old.
  2. The accumulation model of information processing assumes that message consistency is critical since the consumer accepts, processes, and stores information about the product or service relative to what has already been mentally accepted. The judgment system (perceptual consistency) prevents consumers from having multiple concepts or categories for the same message. Information that does not fit is rejected and not filed. That being the case, the need for Integrated Marketing Communication is not only needed, but critical to marketing success.

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Transformative Networking connecting change leaders to enable self-organized grassroots change.

Next Steps While still conceptual, transformative networking offers the possibility of leading change through the networking of those already interested or involved in similar initiatives, effectively tearing down existing silos of practice that exist across disciplines and fields of work.  The next step is to develop a proof of concept built on the theoretical underpinnings above, possibly using Google Wave as the collaboration platform.  Included will be identifying the minimal structure and governance required to enable self-organization within the network while not constraining what might emerge.  Join this initiative and help create the future of organizing - networking communities of interest.    

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Last modified: July 19, 2009