The integrated marketing communication channel is complete when the decoder and encoder can decipher the communication codes in the form of images and letters that appeal to a client. Any integrated marketing communication should have a functional model that will cue the mind of a customer towards a product or service. The functional model comprises of elements such as awareness, interest, desire, and action (referred to as the AIDA Model) in advertisement strategy and planning function (Underwood & Klein 2002). This analytical paper supports the argument that there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that truly integrated marketing communication is the exception rather than the rule’. The argument is applied in relation to the advertisement strategy and planning function in the UK market.
Integrated Marketing Communication
Reflectively, a stratified marketing communication plan should integrate the elements in the AIDA Model to easily convince the customer to purchase a product since they form the tenet of consumer behaviour modification (Underwood & Klein 2002). This may be achieved through designing a relevant advertisement, critical public relations exercise, and continuous sales promotion. Besides, it is important to integrate personal selling through referrals and direct marketing (Duncan & Everett 1993). Since the world has become a village, the marketing plan may adopt an appropriate media that appeals to the target audience (Elder & Krishna 2012). In the ideal, there should be a mixture of the traditional marketing channels and the modern marketing channels such as online marketing and social media.
It is important to plan for the integrated marketing communication and create success measurement parameters (Underwood & Klein 2002). The parameter is meant to check goal achievement. Moreover, it is important to integrate the 4P’s of marketing such as price, place, product, and promotion to ensure that the targeted customers notice the competitiveness of a service or good among other alternatives (Luck & Moffat 2009). In addition, the whole plan should be managed within a predetermined budget range, which is derived through the rule-of-thumb and objective-and-task (Winchester 2006).
Marketing strategy is essential before actualising projections from a blueprint. This plan functions on the margins of informed decision-making after a comprehensive research on the viability and sustainability of a product (Duncan & Everett 1993). A properly integrated marketing communication plan should create minimal disturbances in the market and the company (Underwood & Klein 2002). Thus, it is important to establish means and ways to reach the potential market. Advertisements are very manipulative and use tactics that directly and involuntarily appeal to the mind of the target person (Luck & Moffat 2009). Despite ignorance of the same and disbelief in their effects, advertisements remain complex and significant in choice of products.
Usually, advertisements appeal to memory or emotional response. As a result, it creates an intrinsic motivation response that triggers the mind to activate affiliation, self-acceptance, and feign community feeling (Underwood & Klein 2002). In the end, advertisements succeed in appealing to emotions through capitalization on biases and prejudices of people (Elder & Krishna 2012). Therefore, response to an advertisement will originate from bandwagon technique which heaps pressure on the mind to follow the perceived crowd. Reflectively, the success of an integrated marketing communication plan is deeply entrenched in the principles of keeping reliable and professional reputation in exchanging ideas and convincing customers (Luck & Moffat 2009).
Through timely appeal to emotions and self-prejudice, a marketing manager is in a position to realize that the mind is often skewed towards embracing the ‘perceived goodness’ and need to identify with ‘the ideal’ in the packaging of a product or service (Duncan & Everett 1993). These pop-up memories will actively reminisce and provoke an involuntary response when noticed in an advertisement. For instance, a company may succeed in implementing this aspect of ‘jumping the queue’ ahead of other competitors through visible and inducing signs all over the targeted region (Kitchen, Kim, & Shultz 2008). Upon noticing the signs, the mind will perceive them to belong to that company, irrespective of the physical geography at the moment (Elder & Krishna 2012). These advertisement erected signs endeavours to cue the visual mental aspect of a person into a particular brand.
Integrated Marketing Communication in the UK
Integrated marketing communication has become an integral part of the business matrix in the UK. This is especially true for the written media, which has widely been used by companies in the UK to draw attention of the consumer on new or already existing brands in the complex trading arena (Kitchen, Kim, & Shultz 2008). The effects of written media on marketing communication has led to suitability of marketing approaches at times, while at others, the approaches have been praised for their authoritativeness towards informing the public due to inability to integrate different marketing communication tools (Duncan & Everett 1993).
For instance, the Volkswagen UK quarterly magazine about its brands has remained a very effective tool for marketing communication on current modifications, developments and what is new about Volkswagen brands. Written in UK English, the magazine has captured the imagination of the conservative consumers who have continuously subscribed to receive every new copy. Besides, the television advertisements have been christened as the real pride of the UK roads and have actually swayed thousands of customers to purchase the Volkswagen brands. For instance, in 2014, the group realized a sales margin of more than 2 million units following the successful re-branding of the promotional marketing of the brands in online media, television, written media, and social media (Elder & Krishna 2012).
Behaviours and attitudes can be changed through conditioning. Repetition of an act, for instance, through constant advertisement leads to behavioural changes that may be beneficial or detrimental to a company (Underwood & Klein 2002). This indicates how the media can, and has been used to reinforce consumer behaviours. Communication activities, therefore, are taken to represent the official position of the organization on a product or service by the consumers (Duncan & Everett 1993). Communication activities in companies within the UK have led to doubled sales in the last decade since the products are branded and presented in persuasive ways that easily skew the minds of potential buyers (Luck & Moffat 2009).
For instance, the different contents of marketing communication but dealing with similar issues have had an accumulated impact on individual’s perception following the integration of social media as an important medium for relaying advertisements messages within the UK (Elder & Krishna 2012). This means that the more an issue is covered, the more importance is allocated to the issue (Kitchen, Kim, & Shultz 2008). Since the public have been influenced to create frame of reference to base and compare the social communication medium in advertisement, the promotions message are often taken at a face value. This means that the consumers base their opinions on the products on the messages from the producers (Luck & Moffat 2009).
If an automotive company in the UK, for example, came up with a vehicle that does not use the conventional sources of energy, but draw energy from the atmosphere, the information used to advertise such a product would be considered as the guideline for forming opinions by the customers (Elder & Krishna 2012). The same aspect has promoted growth advertisement strategies and planning function within the UK since the social medial communication activities used by companies have led to the general acceptance of the integrated marketing communication model in the market (Elder & Krishna 2012).
Challenges of Practicing IMC in the UK
Although marketing communications have been praised for their long life spans and their ability to be stored for future reference, their use can be detrimental to the organization. This is because of the fact that they can be constant reminders to the public of failures of a company. If an organization uses print or social media to extensively promote a service or product, and that service or product turns out to be substandard or defective, the public would have some restraint in engaging in a business relationship with such a company (Duncan & Everett 1993). For instance, the recall of more than 6,000 Polo models within the UK in the year 2015 due to a defect in the accelerator has affected the credibility of the company.
In fact, the company recorded a drop of 13.5% in sales the year 2015 following this incident. With the evidence of the company’s failure lying around in the form of print or social media, consumers would take a long time in coming to trust such an organization again, especially in the conservative UK market. This means that while written communication acts to add confidence to the buyers about a product or service at times, it can also lead to loss of public confidence with a company or product once inconsistencies are identified by the consumers especially when the business lacks a well built structures and policies as in the case of large corporations (Eagle, Kitchen, & Bulmer 2007).
Recommendations to overcome the IMC challenges in the UK
Essentially, success of a marketing plan depends on proper alignment of a functional team who is responsible for creation of flexible but quantifiable measurement tracking tools for reviewing results periodically. Reflectively, this product team should have essential knowledge in social media and tools used in marketing (Kitchen, Kim, & Shultz 2008). Besides quality in service delivery and customer satisfaction depend on the support team. Therefore, customer retention is achievable through creation of reliable, informed, and passionate support team. In addition, the plan should include a monitoring matrix that maps out potential competitors and identify online weaknesses and strength of clients (Cornelissen & Lock 2000).
In relation to the UK market, companies applying integrated marketing communication eventually need to embrace more traditional media marketing in order to keep growing, especially when targeting clients for a product that has many substitutes. In order to effectively reach such audience, the marketing communication plan must suggest the best advertisement strategies to cover its wide market area to accommodate divergent views and perceptions on different brands (Duncan & Everett 1993). Besides, such a company has to decentralize its marketing strategies to meet the specific demands or consumer behaviour if it decides to implement integrated marketing strategies (Eagle, Kitchen, & Bulmer 2007).
It is necessary to establish a comprehensive integrated marketing communication plan as a prerequisite for sustainable marketing in the short and long term. Basically, the need can be achieved through practical orientation of the marketing plan to include customer needs, product benefits, and the dynamics in the market. As a result, the company will benefit from increased sales and sustainable marketing (Eagle, Kitchen, & Bulmer 2007). The functional model comprises of elements such as awareness, interest, desire, and action to ensure that the marketing strategies of a company operating within the UK match the interests and desires of the target market (Cornelissen & Lock 2000).
The element of awareness is related to brand knowledge or visibility among other alternatives. The element of interest comes after awareness. Interest is developed out of a need for a product or service (Duncan & Everett 1993). This interest may activate the desire to purchase the product to meet the need because of preference. In the end, a customer may take the action of purchasing. Therefore, a stratified marketing communication plan should integrate the above elements to easily convince the customer to purchase a product in the dynamic UK (Cornelissen & Lock 2000).
Proactive management of the entire channel of marketing communication is critical to ensure that the product performance surpasses the traditional approaches that only guaranteed success to some extent (Birdsall & Johnston 2010). To increase credibility and maintain professionalism, the current bomb internet channels used by companies in the UK, for reaching consumers, should be tailored to encompass processes and features that flawlessly facilitate a healthy and lifetime relationship between a business and its clients (Cornelissen & Lock 2000).
Among the best strategies of making an integrated marketing communication exceptional in advertisement strategies and planning function within the UK market is through timely appeal to emotions and need to identify with ‘the ideal’ in the packaging of a product or service. For instance, Tweeter and Facebook fan pages are ideal tools for branding and community following building (Eagle, Kitchen, & Bulmer 2007). This will allow the clients to interact and let users to add content to align to different orientations of the company’s brand (Bergkvist & Rossiter 2008). It will help such companies to reach the targeted customers by skipping or bypassing the traditional gatekeepers.
Marketing communication strategies are important in aligning a company towards the target market in order to achieve optimal sales. Integrated marketing communication results in exceptional performance planning and advertisement strategies in a company. This is because it functions on proper brand alignment, balancing different mediums for passing information, and customer centricity as opposed to just promoting a product in the UK market. From the reflection above, integration of marketing to a product might make the different in the market since customers often have different alternatives when making a decision. This means that excellence in product performance might only arise when the marketing communication strategy is aligned with the factors that influence consumer behaviour. Although a business can excel when any marketing communication strategy is applied, the aspect of sustaining performance make the integrated marketing communication an exception since it guarantees short term and long term product success, especially when it is customised to address the desires of potential customers.
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