Integrated Marketing Communications

Definition of integrated marketing communications

What is IMC?

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is an approach used by organizations to brand and coordinate their communication efforts.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies defines IMC as “a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact. ”

What is the purpose of IMC?

The primary idea behind an IMC strategy is to create a seamless experience for consumers across different aspects of the marketing mix. The brand’s core image and messaging are reinforced as each marketing communication channel works together as parts of a unified whole rather than in isolation.

Tools and channels of IMC

To implement integrated marketing communication, it is essential for the organizations to communicate effectively with the clients.

Integrated marketing communication tools:

Marketing communication mix (Chitty et al., 2014)

1. Advertising
2. Direct marketing
3. Sales promotions
4. Sponshorsiph marketing
5. Marketing public relations (MPR)
6. Personal selling
7. Point-of-purchase communication


Components of a successful IMC Strategy

Customer Focus – Successful marketing strategies start and end with customers.

Co-operation – All departments, example – marketing, sales, customer care, service delivery need to work in close coordination for better results and maximum customer satisfaction.

Database Communication – Employees need to communicate with each other effectively and managers need to share correct information with all related employees.

Leverage – How different marketing channel promotes the brand among target customers. Analyze which channels are the most cost effective

Profitability – IMC is successful when it generates profit. ROI = return of investment.

Case Example: Sonera


Sonera had an IMC advertising campaign that didn’t work out as planned. The campain began by making a mess of their own banner at Helsinki railway station. Next step happened online. The company’s web pages appeared to be a mess of XXXXXXXX-letters.

People and media got interested. The company’s security department told Twitter that there is a malfunction. Customer service promised to find out what the problem was and tell more when it knows more. The company’s communications manager told Helsingin Sanomat that he does not know where is the problem. Taloussanomat was told that there is no security problem.

When the press and people found out this was only an advertising campaign the reaction was anger towards the company. Journalists felt that the communications manager had lied to them.

Marketing should be clearly identified as marketing. If the advertisement appears in a medium that contains news, the ad must be presented in such a way that it can be identified as an advertisement. Marketing must clearly indicate on whose behalf the marketing is carried out. (ICC’s marketing rules)

Case Sonera is a sad example of how IMC can backfire.


Boundless. “Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications.” Boundless Marketing Boundless, 20 Sep. 2016.

CHITTY, W., LUCK, E., BARKER, N., VALOS, M. & SHIMP, T. A. 2014. Integrated marketing communications, South Melbourne, Vic. Cengage Learning, 2014.4th edition.

management study guide “Integrated Marketing Communications”

Talousanomat.”Sonera pahoittelee Xxxxxxx-sähläystään, lupaa parannusta” 21.8.2013


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