IMC Plan Outline
i. Strengths of the organization
ii. Weaknesses of the organization
iii. Opportunities in the environment (e.g., demographics, political,
legal, technological, social, cultural, economic, ecological)
iv. Threats in the environment (same list as #3 above)
i. Elements of the IMC mix
ii. Copy platform
iii. Creative strategies and executions
b. Creative execution (e.g., storyboards, media kits, videos, websites)
The Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Plan Explanation
An understanding of the IMC mix is essential in putting together an effective and creative IMC plan for Greet the Day. Given an understanding of marketing and how important integration is in a marketing program, you and your group members can put together an IMC plan that will overwhelm the client. In the process of effectively developing and implementing an IMC plan, marketers and communication professionals should always follow the marketing concept. Consumers’ wants and needs (i.e., donors and publics) should always be the main focus of the program. To lose this focus means that the program, although creative or award-winning, will sell no product or service. There are numerous ways to develop an IMC campaign, just as on a directional map there are many routes to the desired destination. There are no perfect outlines to fit every IMC manager’s needs. The flowchart on Page 3 offers some direction.
An organization’s mission statement tells why the organization is in operation or in business, the raison d’etre, if you will. You need to understand this before embarking on the creation of an IMC plan since it will intimately affect the solution you recommend. An organization will feel uncomfortable with what you recommend if it is inconsistent with their stated mission. The vision statement of an organization captures the picture of where the organization sees itself in the future. This is an “idealized organizational self.” This will also intimately affect the solution you recommend because it involves everyone’s input to insure to develop what the organization thinks it wants to provide to its market and customers. The vision instills a goal. It creates excitement and teamwork among those affected by it.
The IMC situational analysis provides a history of the IMC functions and an assessment of the environment in which the IMC professionals must work. Several factors must be considered in the situational analysis. The company or organization for which the IMC plan is being created must be analyzed. The environment in which this organization operates must be understood and detailed. A market and consumer behavior analysis must be completed. Further, you must understand the competitive landscape. Finally, a product or service history and evaluation should be included.
SWOT. The strengths and weaknesses of an organization revolve around resources such as: sales and profitability, mission and vision, organization’s orientation (e.g., risk-taking vs. conservative), finances, technology, human resources, market share, and sales trends. The opportunities and threats in an environment are those forces (e.g., demographics, political, legal, technological, social, cultural, economic, and ecological) that may affect the organization and its IMC execution. We will discuss the secondary and primary sources that you may wish to consult for this section.
Program Elements Marketing
Objectives Evaluation Budget Personal
Promotion PR/Publicity Direct/Interactive Branding Advertising Situational
Market and consumer behavior analysis. This analysis is undertaken to help the IMC professional understand which market areas are key. The data gathered here will also help provide you and your group members with information that facilitates IMC and media planning. Geographics and indexing are popular analyses in the market analysis section of the plan. Two critical sources for you as planners include Sales and Marketing Management’s Survey of Buying Power, which is in physical format at the CSUF library; and, Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI), which CSUF has added to its online resources.
IMC Program Elements
In addition, you will need to complete consumer behavior analysis on the current users (and these could be multiple constituencies). It is necessary to understand who, what, how, when, and why consumers buy/use an organization’s product or service. You should be able to draw a picture of the typical user or customer in order to turn your IMC plan into reality. In comparing the profile with the market that exists in aggregate, you may also find some market opportunities for growth. In this section, you should provide detailed analysis of the potential consumer(s) using demographics (U.S. Census, etc.), psychographics (Claritas, VALS, MRI, etc.), geodemographics (U.S. Census, FirstGov, etc.), and behavioristics (organization’s database, MRI, etc).
Competitive analysis. You need to know who the competition is. Further, you need to know how, why, and when the competition will respond to changes in IMC tactics and executions. This analysis should examine both direct and indirect competition, with an emphasis on direct competition. The following list should help to generate a comprehensive analysis:
1. Direct competition
2. Indirect competition
3. IMC strengths and weaknesses
4. A history of IMC themes used by the competition (including current theme)
5. IMC effectiveness
6. A history of competitive IMC expenditures
7. Hard data on the effectiveness of all past and current IMC programs developed and
executed by the competition
8. Strengths and weaknesses of competitive products, brands, lines, etc.
9. Indications of the acceptance by the trade of any IMC programs, both current and past
10.Specific media placement practices by the main competitors
Resources that are generally
helpful include: Dun & Bradstreet,
The Encyclopedia of Associations, www.brandchannel.com,
The Thomas Register, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the
Product or service history evaluation. This section should answer the question, “What do the consumers want and/or need?” Much data may be found within the organization itself. You need to examine the marketing plan and see how all of the marketing elements fit together, and how value is delivered to the consumer. An effective product analysis will examine:
1. Product or service background
2. Current problems facing the product, brand, or service
3. Past IMC or advertising themes
4. Past IMC budgets
5. Past to present media spending
6. Current slogan, tag line, copy position, and so on.
In addition, you need to thoroughly evaluate the quality of the product, the benefits offered by the product, and its need and want satisfiers. You will need to examine if there have been additions or deletions to the product or service in recent years. Has the organization developed new markets, or found new applications or uses for their product? How do channel intermediaries feel about the product? Is distribution effective? Is the brand name well known? What problems do consumers see with the product? What are the product’s unique benefits or features? How does the organization differentiate its product from the competitions’ products? How do consumers perceive the product?
In other words, what is the brand identity and personality?
The culmination of the situation analysis should be a further definition of the target market and audience.
Objectives are simply goals, things that need to be accomplished, and milestones that need to be reached. Marketing objectives are usually stated in quantitative terms such as sales, profits, market share, or margins and they affect the IMC objectives, which are usually stated in more qualitative terms (this does not mean that they are not measured quantitatively—it’s just that they are precursors to achieving marketing objectives). IMC objectives are usually such things as increasing awareness, changing beliefs or perceptions, changing or reinforcing image, positioning an organization vis-à-vis the competition, increasing desire, or facilitating action (a purchase or behavioral change). Media objectives state the impact that you expect to have on an audience in terms of reach and frequency. Objectives must meet the following criteria: measurability, quantifiability, realism, time-specificity.
Strategies are pathways to achieve the goals. Every good marketing strategy is comprised of an identification of a target market and the pathway to this market. IMC strategies identify the audience and how to reach this audience. IMC strategies must detail a copy platform (to be discussed in class—but briefly, this details the target audience, primary competition, reasons to purchase, and a consumer promise). Media strategies must detail your selection of media vehicles and a schedule that reflects your efforts to reach your target audience.
Tactics are the executionable aspects of the campaign (i.e., who’s going to do what, when, how, etc.).
The plan must have a section on how the IMC campaign is to be evaluated. The evaluative procedure should refer back to the objectives and indicate how they were achieved. Evaluation measures are both pre- and post-test in nature and include copy testing, concept tests, tracking, etc. Clients want some return on their IMC investment, so you must be able to show how the campaign will accomplish the desired ends.
You need to establish what amount of money will be needed to achieve the IMC objectives. Of course, the client may rein in your spending.