Friday, August 22, 2008

IMC Journal | Part 3.1

When the Japanese invented the JIT system, they probably would have never thought of the realms in which the concept could be applied to. And I daresay they could not have possibly known about this good School of Business in Mumbai where the students would adopt it wholeheartedly and adapt it so indigenously that batch after batch it would become the motto of their life here. That said, here I am, with the third instalment of my Journal - Just In Time :)

As this is as good a time as any to recap what the course has been all about, especially since we have a (sinister?) mid term tomorrow, I decided to go back to the very basics - to understand how one can define IMC or Integrated Marketing Communication. Good ol' Wiki to my rescue again - here's what Wikipedia says: Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), according to The American Marketing Association, is “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”

According to the Marketing Power Dictionary, Integrated marketing communication can be defined as a holistic approach to promote buying and selling in the digital economy. This concept includes many online and offline marketing channels.

Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV.

Offline marketing channels are traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mail order, public relations, industry analyst relations billboard, radio, and television."

Another definition from says IMC is "A management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation."

I think these thoughts are more or less in tune with the thoughts exchanged in class for the past 3 - 4 weeks. The increasing communication options of recent years have contributed to clutter and noise in the market. As I wrote in Part 1.1, a market is a platform for exchange of various things between buyers and sellers. It is but common sense that in a cluttered and noisy environment, an optimal exchange is not feasble. This had made it important for marketers (sellers) to integrate their marketing communication and break through the barrier of noise to reach the buyers.

We had also understood that a market can be defined by the 3 C framework of the famous Japanese Strategy Guru - Kenichi Ohmae (learnt this name ironically from one the article's from the reading Tsunami) i.e. Corporation, Customer and Competition. Indeed with ever growing competition it becomes imperative to have a focussed message communicated to the customer. Any message can be of two types - rational or emotional (however the recent Bingo ads have also shown a third type - humour or absurdism) and the type of message would depend on the nature of communication planned / required. To optimally deliver the message to the target customer, the concept of IMC was introduced in 1993.

The AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) Model has been the traditional process that has determined the flow of marketing communications and direct sales efforts by...
1. Create attention;
2. Generate interest;
3. Develop desire;
4. Initiate action.

The IMC way extends AIDA so to speak. Using the PLC of a product or a service, one can determine the type of IMC campaign required i.e. in the Introduction Stage - Pioneering Campaign is needed, in the Growth Stage - Competitive Campaign, in the Maturity Stage of the PLC - Retentive and finally in the Decline stage a Repositioning / Rebranding Campaign is required.

A Pioneering Campaign seeks to kickstart the 'AI' part of AIDA i.e. to Create Attention and Generate Interest - thus starts the upward 'Pain Curve' of a customer at not having the product. As interest transforms into desire the Pain Curve keeps heading north and it reaches its peak at the Point of Purchase (Action) and hereon it bifurcates into a downward (falling) pain curve and (hopefully) rising Pride curve. Thus the campaign Enlisted the customer. But IMC does not stop here - Post Action, a campaign seeks to also Engage, Empower and eventually Enslave the customer.

Another way to understand what type of campaign is to be used is done by using the Ansoff Matrix:

Now if a New Product is to be introduced in an Existing Market (i.e. in case of a Product Development as we saw in with the BMW M5 ad shown in class) or in the reverse case of Market Development (as Coke did when it came into India) or in case of a Diversification (Reliance Infocomm), then a Pioneering Campaign is needed. Similarly to promote an Existing Product in an Existing Market (Market Penetration), a Competitive Campaign is required.

From the point of view of the Media used and the Market, Campaigns can be classified as:

These above classification may also spawn hybrids such as a Continuous Focussed campaign where a campaign has a singular message delivered over a long period of time - for instance the Pulse Polio Campaign.