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11.1 Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and New Media

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand what integrated marketing communications (IMC) are.
  2. Understand why organizations may change their promotional strategies to reach different audiences.

Once they have developed products and services, organizations must communicate the value and benefits of the offerings to both current and potential customers in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets. Integrated marketing communications (IMC)Approach designed to deliver one consistent message to buyers across an organization’s promotions. provide an approach designed to deliver one consistent message to buyers across an organization’s promotions that may span all different types of media—TV, radio, magazines, the Internet, mobile phones, and so forth. For example, Campbell’s Soup Company typically includes the “Mm, mm good” slogan in the print ads it places in newspapers and magazines, in ads on the Internet, and in commercials on television and radio. A company’s ads should communicate a consistent message even if it is trying to reach different audiences. For example, although the messages are very similar, Campbell’s uses two variations of commercials designed to target different consumers. Watch the two YouTube videos below. You’ll notice that the message Campbell’s gets across is consistent. But can you figure out who the two target audiences consist of?

Video Clip

A Meal That’s Always Popular with the Group

(click to see video)

Campbell’s soup provides a good meal.

Video Clip

So Many Possibilities for Enjoying Soup

(click to see video)

Campbell’s soup pleases people of all ages.

Changes in communication technology and instant access to information through tools such as the Internet explain one of the reasons why integrated marketing communications have become so important. Delivering consistent information about a brand or an organization helps establish the brand in the minds of consumers and potential customers. Many consumers and business professionals seek information and connect with other people and businesses from their computers and phones. The work and social environments are changing, with more people having virtual offices and texting on their cell phones or communicating through social media such as Facebook. Text messaging, Internet, cell phones, blogs—the way we communicate continues to change the way companies are doing business and reaching their customers. As a result, organizations have realized they need to change their promotional strategies as well to reach specific audiences.

Figure 11.1

Some consumers feel lost without their cell phones. Phones such as the one pictured provide a source of information for consumers and a new medium for advertisers to deliver information.

Many college students are part of the millennial generation, and it is consumers from this generation (people like you perhaps) who are driving the change toward new communication technologies. As we discussed in Chapter 5 "Market Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning" you might opt to get promotions via mobile marketingMarketing media that is available in different places such as cell phones or on forms of transportation.—say, from stores on your cell phone as you walk by them or via a mobile gaming device that allows you to connect to the Web. Likewise, advertisements on Facebook are becoming more popular as businesses explore social media. For example, when Honda let people on Facebook use the Honda logo to give heart-shaped virtual gifts on Valentine’s Day, over one and a half million people participated in the event and viewed the Honda Fit online in the process. Imagine the brand awareness generated for the Honda Fit.

Figure 11.2

Marketing based on the Internet and wireless technology is popular.

Traditional media (magazines, newspapers, television) now compete with media such as the Internet, texting, and mobile phones; user-generated content such as blogs and YouTube; and out-of-home advertisingBillboards and movable promotions that are displayed in a broad range of public spaces including tray tables on airplanes, the inside of subways, trains, buses, and even in bathroom stalls. such as billboards and movable promotions. You might have noticed that the tray tables on airplanes sometimes have ads on them. You have probably also seen ads on the inside of subway cars, in trains and buses, and even in bathroom stalls. These, too, are examples of out-of-home advertising.

Figure 11.3

The inside walls of many subways provide an opportunity for advertisers to reach commuters with their messages.

As the media landscape changes, the money organizations spend on different types of communication will change as well. Some forecasts indicate that in the next five years companies will increase their expenditures on new media from approximately 16 percent of their total promotional budgets to almost 27 percent of their budgets, or $160 billion by 2012.“PQ Media: New Media Spend to Hit $160B in 2012,” MarketingVOX, March 26, 2008, (accessed December 15, 2009).

Key Takeaway

As the media landscape changes, marketers may change the type of promotions they use in order to reach their target markets. With changing technology and social media (e.g., Facebook), less money is being budgeted for traditional media such as magazines and more money is budgeted for “new media.” Regardless of the type of media used, marketers use integrated marketing communications (IMC) to deliver one consistent message to buyers.

Review Questions

  1. Explain the concept of integrated marketing communications.
  2. How is the media used by organizations changing? What age group is driving the change?
  3. What factors are causing the media landscape to change?