I came across an interesting point of view on IMC in a paper by Danny Vargas (president of VARCom Solutions) - "Integrated Marketing Communication is a way of looking at the whole marketing process from the viewpoint of the customer."
According to Danny Vargas, an effective IMC process comprises the following steps which I find this similar to our 6M model.:
• Identify the target audiences—This requires awell thought out market segmentation and targeting process which may include secondary and/or primary market research.
• Determine the communications objectives—As stated previously, this can range from generating awareness to countering the competition.
• Design the messaging content—This is an absolutely critical component. Effective messaging can make or break a promotional effort.
• Select the means for communications.
• Define the mix of media, budget and priorities.
• Measure the effectiveness of the efforts.
With this in mind, we understand it is imperative to ensure that the message is delivered to the customer in a form that he desires - effectively underscoring the importance of the media or vehicle of communication and thus Media Planning is a critical cog in the Marketing Strategy of an organization (of the 4 Ps - Media Planning is a part of Promotion process).
Media Planning can be defined as "Process of designing a scheduling plan that shows how advertising time and space in selected media and vehicles contribute to the achievement of marketing objectives in an advertising campaign". Media planning, in general terms, is a tool that allows the advertiser to select the most appropriate media to communicate the message in sufficient frequency towards the maximum number of potential customers at the lowest cost.
At the onset, we need to be clear about the 2 basic terms used in Media Planning...
--> Medium: A medium is a carrier and deliverer of Advertisements. It is a broad general category of carries such as Newspapers, Television, Radio, Internet, Outdoor, Direct Mail, etc.
--> Vehicle: It is a specific carrier within a Media category. So a Zee TV would be the vehicle in the category of TV. Many a time a specific programs or sections within a medium may be termed as a vehicle. For example, a "Kyunki saas bhi…" on Star Plus would be the vehicle in the Television category.
Choosing which media or type of advertising to use is sometimes tricky, especially for small firms with limited budgets and know-how. Large-market television and newspapers are often too expensive for a company that services only a small area (although local newspapers can be used). Magazines, unless local, usually cover too much territory to be cost-efficient for a small firm, although some national publications offer regional or city editions. Metropolitan radio stations present the same problems as TV and metro newspapers; however, in smaller markets, the local radio station and newspaper may sufficiently cover a small firm's audience. That's why it's important to put together a media plan for an IMC campaign.
The three components of a Media Plan are as follows:
1. Defining the marketing problem. Do we know where our business is coming from and where the potential for increased business lies? Do we know which markets offer the greatest opportunity? Do we need to reach everybody or only a select group of consumers? How often is the product used? How much product loyalty exists?
2. Translating the marketing requirements into attainable media objectives. Do we want to reach a lot of people in a wide area (to get the most out of your advertising spend)? Then mass media, like newspaper and radio, might work for us. If our target market is a select group in a defined geographic area, then direct mail could be our best bet.
3. Defining a media solution by formulating media strategies. Certain schedules work best with different media. For example, the rule of thumb is that a print ad must run three times before it gets noticed. Radio advertising is most effective when run at certain times of the day or around certain programs, depending on what market we're trying to reach.
To determine the media expenditure it is best to classify brands as shown below:
A High Premium Brand need not always be profitable - eg: Kingfisher Airlines where as Low Premium Value - High Profitability Brands include Coke & Pepsi. Hitch Hiker Brands are those that ride on upward growth of sector or category like the brands in a men's formal ready to wear category whereas Dead End Brands are those that have Low Profitability & Premium (in terms of Branding Communication) like Lifebuoy Soap. High Road Brands are usually the first movers in a category and obtain leadership position - thus require a Pioneering Campaign where as Low Road Brands are those that exisit in a cluttered space - thus require Competitive and Retentive Campaigns. Also for the latterm cumulative media spend would be high but individual spend need not be much - eg Telecom Service Providers.
To understand the various media and what type of IMC campaign they are suitable for click on the following link:
Hasta La Vista Baby!