Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC is a recent theory and concept that was first introduced in Don Schultz’s book in the 1980s. IMC is a strategic business process used to manage relationships with customers that is essentially meant to drive the brand value. The promotional elements used comprise soft sell and hard sell. The soft sell element consists of advertising, public relations, CSR, interactive marketing that aims to influence customers on the cognition and affection level. While the hard sell consists of personal selling, direct marketing, and sales promotion in order to affect the customers on the conation level.
Stated in simple language, IMC can be interpreted as “a process of managing customer relationships that drive brand value.” More specifically, IMC can be defined as “a cross-functional process from creating and nourishing profitable relationships with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling and influencing all messages sent to these groups and encouraging purposeful dialog with them.”
Actually, the concept of IMC is similar to another concept that is based on communications. Here IMC only plays a role in maximizing the positive messages and minimizing the negative messages from a brand with the goal of creating and encouraging brand relationship to build a long-term relationship. IMC can also be used to build a brand and strengthen it. A positive brand relationship will also generate profits and increase the value of the company’s shareholders.
The brand value that is profitable for a company is using Integrated Marketing Communications strategy that consists of 5 parts including:
• Target Market vs. Target Audience. The target market is who will consume our products, so it should be taken very seriously.
• The target audience is who will become the target of the communication program.
• Message Strategy. It includes concepts, message penetration (approach and appeal), as well as message execution.
• Media Strategy. A combination of using mass, interpersonal, and interactive media.
• Line Elements. It includes soft-sell and hard-sell.
• Budget. Top-down or bottom-up. A top-down or bottom-up approach is superior stock selection to fit into the investment basket that becomes the corporate financial benchmark.