Setting objectives for the IMC Program

16th February 2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Setting Goals

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is an approach to brand communications where the different modes work together to create a seamless experience for the customer. Customers are presented with a similar tone and style that reinforce the brand’s core message. The ultimate goal is to make all aspects of marketing communication; advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, personal selling, online communications and social media work together as a unified force, rather than in isolation. This synergy between different marketing elements maximizes their cost effectiveness.

The cost effectiveness of mass media due to fragmentation has forced integrated marketing communications to the forefront of modern marketing. As consumers spend more time online and on mobile devices, the goal for marketing teams should be for all exposures of the brand to tie together so they are more likely to be remembered. Increasingly the strategies of brands cannot be understood by looking solely at their advertising. Instead they can be understood by seeing how all aspects of their communications ecosystem work together and in particular how communications are personalized for each customer and react in real time.

Common IMC Objectives

In addition to considering recent market, consumer and technological shifts, brands must assess their marketing budget and target audience when setting IMC goals. An IMC strategy with a budget of $2 million will be radically different in size, scope and reach than a marketing budget of only $2,000. Thus, smaller businesses with tiny IMC budgets may rely heavily on social media advertising and word-of-mouth networks to increase brand presence and generate new leads, rather than more expensive television and billboard advertising.

Despite varying budgets, product features and benefits, and consumer behaviors, organizations typically set and work towards the following goals when implementing IMC strategies:

  • To develop brand awareness
  • To increase consumer or business demand for a product category
  • To change or influence customer beliefs or attitudes
  • To enhance purchase actions
  • To encourage repeat purchases
  • To build customer traffic to physical stores, websites or other marketing channels
  • To enhance firm/brand image
  • To increase market share
  • To increase sales
  • To reinforce purchase decisions

IMC strategies may seek to achieve one, many or all of these objectives throughout the course of a campaign. Once strategies have been implemented, they are not changed unless major new events occur. Only changes in the marketplace, new competitive forces, or new promotional opportunities should cause companies to alter strategies and reassess IMC goals.

Objectives of Integrated Marketing Communications

  • Provide information: provide necessary information for consumers to help them make buying decision.
  • Create demand for products: to stimulate people to desire what they do not have and inspire them to earn the money to acquire items.
  • Communicate value: convey a product’s benefits in a memorable way
  • Communicate product uniqueness: illustrate their brand’s unique qualities to build preference in their target markets.
  • Close the sale: move buyers to action the first time and reinforce their positive experience
  • Build relationships and loyalty

Objective Setting

  • Setting specific objectives should be an integral part of the promotional planning process. This section discusses the value of objectives and distinguishes among marketing, behavioural, and communication objectives for optimal IMC planning. Value of Objectives
  • Advertising and promotional objectives are needed for reasons such as communication function. Planning and decision making, and measurement and evaluation of results.

Communication Function

  • Many people are involved in the planning and development of an IMC program including client personnel and contracted agencies.
  • The program must be coordinated within the company, inside the ad agency, and between the two. Potential problems can be avoided if all parties have written approved objectives to guide their actions and serve as a common base for discussion.

Planning and Decision Making

  • All phases of a firm’s promotional strategy should be based on the established objectives, including budgeting, creative, and media decisions as well as supportive programs such as direct marketing, public relations/publicity, sales promotion, and/or reseller support.

Measurement and Evaluation of Results

  • Setting specific objective provides a benchmark against which the performance of the promotional campaign can be measured.
  • One characteristic of good objectives is that they are measurable; they specify a method and criteria for determining how well the promotional program is working.

Marketing Objectives

  • Marketing objectives are generally stated in the firm’s marketing plan and are statements of what is to be accomplished by the overall marketing program within a given time period.
  • Marketing objectives are usually defined in terms of specific, measureable outcomes such as sales volume, market share, profit, or return on investment.

Determining a Budget

As with all business activities, marketing budgets help the planning of actual operations by forcing managers to prioritize activities and consider how conditions might change. Marketing also encourages managers to take steps now, so they can deal with problems before they arise. It also helps coordinate the activities of the organization by compelling managers to examine relationships between their own operation and those of other departments, which is a key component of integrated marketing. The essential purposes of budgeting include:

  • To control resources
  • To communicate plans to various responsibility center managers
  • To motivate managers to strive to achieve budget goals
  • To evaluate the performance of managers
  • To provide visibility into the company’s performance

Marketing plans are resource driven and they affect the budget. Therefore, two big budgeting decisions should be resolved up front:

How shall these efforts be funded? For example, 70% will be reallocated through cost reductions by consolidating programs and 30% will come from new funding.

For example, 70% will advance the reputation of the company and 30% will build “steeples” the critical core themes that make a difference, which are usually only built one at a time.

Measuring Success

The final stage of any marketing planning process is to establish targets or standards so that progress can be monitored. Accordingly, it is important to put both quantities and timescales into marketing objectives and corresponding strategies. for example, to capture 20 percent by value of the market within two years.

Continuous monitoring of performance against predetermined targets is of utmost importance. More important is the enforced discipline of a regular formal review. As with forecasts, the best or most realistic planning cycle will revolve around a quarterly review. Best of all at least in terms of the quantifiable aspects of the plans is a quarterly rolling review. This involves planning one full year ahead each new quarter. While this absorbs more planning resources, it also ensures that plans use the latest information. Moreover, both the plans and their implementation tend to be more realistic.

The most important elements of marketing performance which are normally tracked include:

  • Sales Analysis: Sophisticated organizations track sales in terms of “sales variance” the deviation from the target figures which allows an immediate picture of deviations to become evident.
  • Market Share Analysis: Market share is an important metric to track. Though absolute sales might grow in an expanding market, a firm’s share of the market can decrease, which bodes ill for future sales when the market starts to drop. Market share is tracked through parameters including overall market share, segment share, relative share, annual fluctuation rate of market share, and the specific market sharing of customers.
  • Expense Analysis: The key ratio to watch in this area is usually the “marketing expense to sales ratio.” This may be broken down into elements including advertising to sales and sales administration to sales.
  • Financial Analysis: In theory, the “bottom line” of all marketing activities should be net profit. Key ratios include gross contribution to net profit, gross profit to return on investment, and net contribution to profit on sales. There can be considerable benefit in comparing these figures with those achieved by other organizations, especially those in the same industry.