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IMC Plan Template

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Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Template
IMC situation analysis
Summarise issues arising from the marketing plan that will directly impact on the
communications strategy.
Company analysis
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Company mission.
Corporate goals.
Issues related to an overriding corporate brand (if one exists).
Budget for the IMC.
Product analysis
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A summary of key product offerings and product life cycle issues.
Existing brand themes, messages and appeals.
Audience analysis
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How closely do they align with the target markets?
Are they the same people, or is there variance?
What do they currently know about you?
What media do they currently access most often?
What is their degree of resistance to you?
Are you trying to influence a negative attitude an audience has toward you?
Audience research – market research in the form of focus groups and surveys that
can help to define and then segment markets in to audiences that can be matched to
various media.
Personality archetypes (also called marketing personas and/or marketing avatars):
are created in order to supposedly clarify the specific behaviours, personality profiles,
purchasing and media consumption habits of selected a typical customer and/or
audience member. The process is said to be useful in developing campaign themes and
appeals and planning which media (both paid and free/viral) the persona/archetype/
avatar will engage with.
Many marketing experts imply that if we create a “pretend” typical customer (or
archetype/avatar) and hypothetically profile their consumption patterns we can predict
and thus influence their future behaviour. Yet this relatively new method of consumer
profiling is dependent on quality research. Forester Research states: “To get the most
value out of persona projects, customer experience professionals should work with
agencies to perform cost-effective ethnographic research… and provide insights into
multichannel behaviors”1
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A word of warning - if you plan to create personas of typical customers – those
personas must relate to the real marketplace. Your carefully crafted persona/archetype/
avatar is near useless unless “he/she” can be recognised (via market research) to exist
in the real world and have a reasonable propensity to both spend, and to choose your
brand over competing offers.
Competitor campaigns
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Include an analysis of your competitor’s communication objectives, target audiences,
creative concepts and messages, media selection and promotional tactics.
Communication objectives
Typical marketing objectives include sales targets, market share (%) and return on investment (ROI)
whcih are not necessarily relevant to setting communication objectives.
IMC plans although typically derived from a marketing plan do not necessarily have “hard”
metrics. In other words, an IMC will often have objectives that are difficult measure:
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Awareness – to create or change levels of awareness in the target audience.
Preference – to influence audience preferences for products and services.
To stimulate sales – there are occasions where communication objectives may be
constructed to stimulate sales.
Communications strategy
Campaign impact and duration
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Is the overall marketing strategy to penetrate the market rapidly?
Or, will you try to build awareness and market share over a longer period of time?
How long will the campaign last and what is the timing of each element?
Creative strategy
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Develop an overall theme, appeal and message concept.
Integration strategies
This new IMC model is based on the rationale that web and new media it seems have been
elevated the role of “quarterback” role in marketing communications. Web and new media are
biased neither to advertising (paid for) nor publicity (free). All forms of marketing communications
are present on the web and the dyad (and battle) between television advertising and web
advertising is no longer relevant. The convergence of all media into “web-like” forms suggests
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that the web is actually media neutral resulting in kind of level playing field that further heightens
the need for an orchestrated, integrated dance.
Some key things to look for include:
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Ensure that brand personality is embedded in all media.
Tangible links between mix elements. There should be no isolated promotional items –
avoid random ill redirected or ill-timed collateral.
All media should be linked, each one dependent on another.
Think new touchpoints, or moments in the day when your target audience experiences
or accesses their preferred media. This is partly the reason for persona/avatar
development as mentioned previously. If you can determine the how (on a daily basis)
the typical audience member interacts with various media by creating an avatar
and then confirming via research – then you have a good chance of determining
touchpoints.
Think existing touchpoints – where existing clients/customers already interact with
you brand, marketing communications and customer facing units such as service
personnel. These existing interactions can and should be incorporated into new
planning a new IMC campaign.
Don’t talk at them – make your messages experiential.
Keep a consistent ‘look and feel’ across all design elements.
Leverage of cross-promotional tie-ins.
Consider the authentic customer relationship management. As much as any
organisation can “befriend” customers, and IMC plan should seek to create or
enhance genuine relationships.
Promotional budget
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Allocate budget for each promotional mix element.
The proportion of the budget allocated to any one promotional element should reflect
how accurately it reaches and impacts the target audience, relative to the other mix
elements.
Consider using the objective-task method, where appropriate budget is allocated to
each promotion al element in order to achieve the stated goal of that element. This is
most often a “ideal” scenario so perhaps get used to senior management never giving
you enough cash to meet a given goal. In other words, “more with less” is normative.
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The promotional mix
Web & Interactive Media - the IMC “quarterback”
Historically the corporate website has tended to defy classification in marketing taxonomies
such as this very template. Is a web a direct marketing device? Is it for public relations? What
about sales? Is it an advertising medium? The answer of course... it’s all those things, but is
a promotional element in itself? We think not... it is very much more than that.
The “newness” of the medium and the fact that the web traverses all of the classic promotional
elements point to its central and media neutral role as the centre of the contemporary IMC
planning.
Advertising
Public
Relations &
Publicity
Direct
Marketing
Sales
Promotion
Web & Interactive
Sales Force
Management
Sponsorship &
Events
Packaging
Viral &
Experiential
Marketing
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Advertising
Advertising objectives
Appeals and executions
Cost estimates
Media plan
New media advertising
Traditional advertising
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Newsprint
Print Magazines
Outdoor advertising
Radio advertising
Television: free-to-air and
cable / pay TV
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!" Pay per click advertising, or
clickable paid for adverts in
the form of text, images or
animations with websites;
Google Adwords,Facebook
adverts,Youtube, MySpace
Public relations (PR) & publicity strategy
PR objectives
Tactics and executions
Cost estimates
Traditional PR
!" Press release distribution to
print journalists
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to print journalists
!" Media events
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!" Press calls
!" Publicity stunts
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New media PR
!" Press release distribution
to online journalists and
bloggers.
!" Digital press kits (EPKs)
distributed to online
journalists and bloggers.
!" Quasi adverts that “go viral”
via Youtube, Facebook etc.
Direct marketing (DM) strategy
DM objectives
Tactics and executions
Cost estimates
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New media DM
Traditional DM
!" Solicited and unsolicited
direct print mail
!" Target lists
!" Printed collateral sent via
post to target list
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!" Solicited and unsolicited
direct email campaigns
!" Solicited and unsolicited
direct SMS campaigns
Sales promotion strategy
Sales promotion objectives Traditional sales promo
Tactics and executions
!" In-store sampling
Cost estimates
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Competitions
Price coupons
Discounts
Loss-leading – where CDs
are priced at discount to
attract customers. A common
tactic used by electrical
goods retailers
New media sales promo
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Online competitions
!" SMS sales promotion
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!" Freemium MP3 model –
where albums and are songs
are given away (as digital
downloads) to encourage
fans to attend gigs or buy
other merchandise that has
greater gross profit margin
Sales force strategy
Sales targets
Sales management tactics
Lead management cycle
Employment costs
Sales commissions
OTE (on target earnings)
New media sales force
Traditional sales force
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Business development
Solution selling
Problem solving
Win-win (as a strategy)
Cloud computing sales lead
management – such as
SalesForce.com
Sponsorship and events
Sponsorship objectives
Complimentary brands
Cost-benefit analysis
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New media sponsorship
Traditional sponsorship
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arrangements
!" Signage
!" Event participation
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collateral
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!" Integration with the website
and social media pages
!" Interaction with SMS
messaging at events typically
linked to competitions, sales
promotion and experiential
marketing events
Packaging
As a brand carrier
Product information
Packaging as the brand
New media packaging
Traditional packaging
!" Nothing but the best
materials and production
values, regardless of
environmental impacts
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!" Integrating RFID (radio
frequency identifcation) for:
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!" - sales promotion via with
bardcode recogniotion by
mobile phones.
!" - auto-resupply via online
shopping
!" Size standardisation for
greatere global shipping
efficiencies
!" Prepackaged individual
meals menas more
packaging waste
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!" Soy and other natural inks
!" Fibre alternatives to plastic
packaging
!" Recycled materials
Viral – Experiential Marketing
As a brand carrier?
Surrepricious or not?
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New media viral
Traditional viral
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Stunts
Events
Street crew
Street promotion
Online viral ads
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!" Global positioning (GPS)
technology and locationbased social networking.
These major proponents
of this technology trend
are Foursqaure, Gowalla
and Google Latitude.
An intersection of social
networking, actual physical
interaction away from the
PC and mobile computing
or mobile communications.
Think of viral marketing with
a twist if GPS!
Implementation
Project timeline
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Calendar of events.
Critical path or Gantt charting techniques.
Listed in priority order are all the tasks, elements and promotional executions set out in
the communications strategy and promotional mix.
Implementation.
Control mechanisms.
Once the campaign has been initiated it must be closely monitored.
Part of this procedure is the use of metrics (measurement tools).
Measuring campaign effectiveness (Metrics)
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Integral to the IMC concept is measurability.
IMC presents an opportunity for marketers to embrace accountability.
Assess the cost-benefit of promotional campaigns.
Use a media monitoring service to collect and collate mentions in the media.
Use online reporting tools and social media metrics to measure effectiveness of online
publicity. Examples include DIGG, Stumbleupon, Facebook page metrics.
Endnotes
1. http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/persona_best_practices_of_interactive_agencies/q/
id/53246/t/2
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About the authors
Mark Beard
Mark has a background in music, arts and entertainment marketing, business-to-business
marketing-communications and higher education. He has worked closely with both start-ups
and established businesses helping to refine and execute a wide range both traditional and new
media marketing communications. He has taught music business, management and marketing
at a number of educational institutes including The Australian Institute of Music, APM Training
Institute and JMC Academy in Sydney and Brisbane.
Mark is the Director of Kreshendo Communications, an arts and entertainment marketing
consultancy. Mark is also a musician and performer with over 15 years’ experience. Mark holds a
Bachelor of Business (Marketing & Tourism) from Charles Sturt University, a Master of Marketing
from The University of New South Wales and a Professional Guitar Player Certificate from the
Musicians Institute, USA.
Connect with Mark on Linkedin - http://au.linkedin.com/in/markjbeard
Ben O’Hara
Ben O’Hara has taught music industry business at a number of institutions across Australia
including the Sydney Institute of TAFE Ultimo, EORA College, and JMC Academy in Sydney
and Melbourne. He is currently the senior educator in Music Business at Box Hill Institute in
Melbourne.
Ben has a broad range of experience in the music industry, having worked in music publishing
and licensing as well as event and artist management. He has also been a performer for over 15
years, and runs his own booking agency, Flower Pot Entertainment Productions, specialising in
children’s and family entertainment. Ben holds a Bachelor Arts in contemporary music (Honors)
from Southern Cross University and a Masters of Business in Arts and Cultural Management from
The University of South Australia.
About TheBiz
Thebiz.com.au is designed to be a “go to” resource for music, entertainment and art managers,
educators and students. Originally designed to support educators using the Music Business
Educational Supplements the site has since expanded to include a variety of new features
including new text books, a regular industry news source and in-depth research papers produced
by the site principals, Mark Beard and Ben O’Hara.
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