Let’s evaluate the key differences between the evolving IMC definitions to understand how the perception and role of integrated marketing communications has progressed.
Broader than just consumers
The audience is much broader than just consumers. While communicating to consumers obviously remains very important and probably the focus of communication for most firms – firms also need to consider internal marketing communication (employees), current and potential strategic partners, influencers, financiers, the media, lobby groups, and so on.
A more strategic process
It operates at top level and is now considered a key strategic process. The goal of being “integrated" refers to much more than just a tactical coordination of various communication tools, but essentially becoming an organization that integrates marketing into its core operations and central strategy.
Data-driven, measured and provides a financial return
It needs to be evaluated and measured – that is, IMC has become more data-driven. Marketing communication strategy, which is obviously a subset of the overall marketing strategy for the organization, needs to be more analytical, data driven, utilizing marketing experiments – to enable clear decisions to be made (in regards to the media and message strategies) that are based on real consumer behavior.
Long and short-term goals
The end goal of IMC activities is to build both short and long-term value in primarily in terms of ongoing profitability, growth and brand equity.
Therefore, we see the need to trade off short-term and long-term objectives (which can sometimes be in conflict) and we see the basis of profitability and growth stemming from a strong brand equity – where brand equity delivers high brand awareness, price premium, greater market share, stronger customer loyalty and so on.