Picture two kids opening a lemonade stand.
Their first day of business is great — they make $20. It may not sound like too much to you, but at a quarter a glass, that’s a good start.
The kids decide to take their profits and use them to get more people aware of what they’re doing. One uses $10 to take out a tiny ad in the local paper while the other prints out flyers.
The newspaper ad talks about their delicious lemonade and how it’s the best in town, well worth the $0.25. The flyers say “Tomorrow — all lemonade half off.”
One approach focuses on the product’s quality while the other rushes to give it away. The next day, half their customers show up because of this fantastic concoction they can’t find anywhere else, while the other half just want some cheap lemonade.
These tactics might have worked for this hypothetical lemonade stand, or they may not have. But the messaging would have been more effective if the two team members coordinated on what they were saying about the product.
When it comes to marketing, you’re going to use more than one channel to spread your message. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ensuring these channels are working toward the same goal, with coordinated messaging.
To ensure consistency, marketing managers will want to engage in integrated marketing communications. In this post, we’ll discuss the concept of integrated marketing communications, why your team should practice it, and compare some of the best software options out there.
What is Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)?
First, a definition: according to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communications (commonly abbreviated as IMC) 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.”
Put more simply, it’s the combination of integrated marketing strategies and channels you use to spread your message to your intended audience.
What platforms are you using to reach your audience, and why??y?? What strategies prove to be most successful in your industry??y?? What strategies can you innovate??e??
Answering these kinds of questions will help you understand what kind of communication strategy you need to implement.
Why Integrated Marketing Communications is Vital to Your Success
Let’s say you’ve just started a business.
You’ve done your research and understand who you’re marketing to and why. You’ve also crafted messaging you believe will be effective when your target audience hears it.
There’s only one problem: you actually have to get that message to your audience via a channel they actually use. You’ll have to engage in digital marketing, content marketing, and build solid brand awareness to increase your chances for success.
You can certainly attempt to execute a marketing campaign using a single channel, but it’s not likely to be very successful. The days of issuing a lone press release and hoping for the best are long over.
You’ll want to reach out to your audience across multiple marketing channels to connect with them most effectively. That means each channel will require its own content.
However, while each channel may require different content, the messaging (and approach) needs to be aligned.
That’s why mastering integrated marketing communications is critical. It forces you to consider what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and how your messages are perceived across all channels.
Employing integrated marketing communications is the difference between a campaign with a clear plan and one that is more likely to wander aimlessly. It helps you focus your efforts and ensure they’re all consistent.
Why You Should Use Integrated Marketing Communications Software
Keeping tabs on various channels is time-consuming when done manually. With the right software platform, you’ll have processes in place to do a lot of that tiresome (but necessary) grunt work for you.
Your integrated marketing communications software should allow you to concentrate more on the substantive work of your marketing campaign and less on the operational side. It will allow you to:
- Review content to ensure optimal lead generation tactics are in place.
- Review and improve how your communications materials support customer relationship management and the overall customer experience.
- Visualize your channels and what you’re planning for each one, as well as how those marketing messages coincide.
- Emphasize consistent brand messaging.
- Schedule content including posts on your social media channels or email marketing materials.
- Optimize the content of your communications for search engine optimization (SEO).
- Stay organized and on task, keeping your team informed of upcoming deadlines and urgent changes to integrated marketing campaigns.
There’s no question that having marketing tools to help you do these things will make your work much easier. But how do you select the right one?
There Are Numerous Options for Integrated Marketing Communications Software
There are plenty of project management tools available to you and your team. The tricky part is finding out which one works best for you.
Each platform has specific strengths. Depending on the working style of your team, some will work better than others.
There are numerous features you’ll want to look out for in an integrated marketing communications software solution, but the one you’ll want to seek out above all else is comprehensiveness. What tool brings together the most marketing capabilities in a way that works best for marketing teams?
You have plenty of options available for you, including Welcome.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular project management tools and how they stack up in comparison to Welcome with regard to integrated marketing communications.
Monday is a popular project management tool. It’s not specifically built for integrated marketing communications, but you can customize it in a way that best supports those goals.
Monday comes loaded with useful project management templates you can deploy in support of your integrated marketing communications efforts.
However, it does not offer a document library, though you can import documents (like communication tools) from other apps you use.
On the other hand, Welcome provides you with the ability to manage and store your documents so you can keep all your communications materials in one central location.
Wrike is yet another project management tool that offers a comprehensive dashboard and the ability to generate customized request forms. This gives other team members the ability to create specified creative requests.
You can also use Wrike for collaboration, which is another key feature for teams looking to integrate their communications.
Wrike’s interface takes a bit of experience to use successfully. It takes some time to get your materials loaded in, whereas Welcome offers a much faster ramp-up speed.
Asana is built for teams with a clear list of tasks to assign. You can use it to create a marketing strategy and then create automated workflows to support it.
Like the other options on this list, Asana also features the ability to communicate and collaborate, which is critical when it comes to ensuring your messaging is aligned. But when it comes to developing marketing communications materials or developing timelines for communication campaigns, it’s not as effective.
In terms of syncing your channels, Asana will help you manage them, as opposed to actually automating tasks like content posting. It’s a good organizational tool, but less focused than Welcome on supporting actual content development and integration.
If you’re a fan of virtual bulletin boards and index cards, Trello is a good tool for general project management purposes. It allows you to build task area-specific boards with cards for each sub-task.
It’s a nice tool to help your team communicate as it has a fairly simple user interface. It’s not ideal for more complex campaigns with a larger number of communication channels to integrate, but it may be useful for smaller campaigns.
Welcome offers the ability to scale up for large organizations or scale down for smaller campaigns, providing more flexibility.
Adobe’s project management platform offers a solid number of features.
It allows you to designate different levels of permission for various users across your enterprise. This is helpful if you want your communications materials to go through a chain of approval or have to interact with external stakeholders.
It does take a significant amount of time to customize this tool to best support your communications efforts. Welcome is much easier to jump into from day one.
The Role Your IMC Software Will Play in Your Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy
The bottom line is that while many of the aforementioned tools offer valuable assets, Welcome provides all of them in the same place. That’s because Welcome was built with marketers and marketing activities in mind.
Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small business, Welcome can work for you.
Other platforms offer some great organizational and operational capabilities, but Welcome can truly support every aspect of your marketing efforts, from strategic planning and content development to campaign measuring and reporting.
Welcome has you covered with the right tools in place to support all marketing solutions. In short, Welcome powers your campaigns by integrating all of your marketing efforts within one platform.
Ready to give it a try? Get started with a free Welcome account today!