What Are Integrated Marketing Communications?
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Inspiration

Come Together Now: Why Integrated Marketing Communications Matter

by Jen Gustavson

4 minute read

We’ve talked at length about the importance of integrating all of your marketing efforts to reduce duplicative work, improve collaboration, and in turn, increase performance.

Simply put: it makes your marketing better.

Download now: free Integrated Marketing ebook

But communication is key — and an integrated marketing strategy without an integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan is only half baked. Here are some ways an integrated marketing communications plan can help you deliver a consistent customer experience across each touchpoint while keeping internal stakeholders on the same page.

The importance of integrated marketing communications

Today’s digitally-savvy consumer expects a seamless experience across every piece of content and point of communication. They expect companies to know what they’re looking for before they’re even looking for it. And they’re smart enough to recognize disjointed experiences when they see them.

Having an integrated marketing communications plan will help to ensure you’re delivering on consumers’ expectations by ensuring:

One brand voice

In a crowded digital landscape where attention times are short, an IMC plan can help you to build trust and nurture your most valuable prospects and customers. Conversely, disjointed experiences dilute the impact of campaigns — and even breed distrust in your audience, so it’s essential to have a consistent voice for which your brand is known throughout all campaigns.

Seamless customer experiences

Managing independent campaigns across email, social, mobile, web, and other channels put marketing teams at risk for wasting time and resources and disrupting a seamless experience. Having an integrated marketing communications plan will quell the production of one-off campaigns and instead help teams to plan and build omnichannel campaigns with consistent messaging.

Internal alignment

It can be difficult to maintain control over your message when there’s poor directional alignment between agency partners or consultants (external), C-suite approvers (internal), cross-channel stakeholders (horizontal) and corporate or legal approvers (vertical). In order to deliver unified, integrated experiences, you need an IMC plan to ensure every piece of your campaign — and every stakeholder — is speaking the same language.

Building a successful integrated marketing communications plan

So how does this all fit into a formal integrated communications process? An effective integrated marketing communications plan requires global campaign planning, local management, collaborative multi-format content creation, and advanced reporting.

Let’s break it down into four key steps:

Step 1: Create focused campaign briefs

The easiest and most impactful way to build an IMC plan starts with gaining alignment and buy-in on shared campaign briefs. Your brief should answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your campaign — what do you want your audience to think, do, and feel as a result of this campaign? Why does your audience need you to tell this story? How will you reach your target audience? What goals are you trying to achieve? And most importantly, what assets do you need to create to deliver value to your audience and meet your goals in the most impactful way possible? Once complete, this brief will act as a single source of truth to help everyone move forward in lockstep.

NewsCred’s Content Marketing Platform allows marketers to write or upload a brief in a centralized location associated with each specific campaign. Request a demo to learn more.

Step 2: Communicate with defined, collaborative workflows

Strategic alignment is one thing, but the execution is quite another. It’s important to have a clear process of communication for each element that is needed to get a campaign off the ground. The easiest way to do this is to have well-defined workflows.

These steps may vary from project to project, or from one type of content to another. Creating flexible workflows will help you manage the production of all the multi-format content that campaigns depend on, from videos and landing pages to presentations, infographics, social ads, and more.

It’s also important to have a system of notification in order that will alert the next stakeholder that it’s their turn to collaborate. Your campaign planning and management tool should have this functionality and should also be easily configured to reflect the way you work (thinking about maximizing communication and collaboration.)

Step 3: Schedule regular checkpoints

Keep lines of communication open amongst campaign stakeholders by setting aside time to meet periodically throughout the planning, building, and execution stages of a campaign. Teams should use this time to ideate, collaborate, and check in on the status of deliverables or to monitor an existing campaign and make changes if need be. This time should also be used to communicate any concerns, roadblocks, or urgent corrections.

Step 4: Deliver full-circle campaign visibility

An integrated communications plan doesn’t end once the campaign goes live — it should close the loop from collaborative ideations and execution to helping communicate business results. Leverage technology to deliver visibility into the efficiency and performance of your integrated campaigns. A robust, centralized platform like NewsCred’s CMP will help to monitor team processes, assess campaign progress, and identify potential bottlenecks in one unified workspace. The result? Your marketing team will have a transparent, documented plan with the supporting data that’s needed to effectively communicate your strategy, process, and results both within the marketing org and the company at large.

Is your marketing org struggling with communications throughout the integrated marketing process? Request a demo to see how NewsCred’s award-winning Content Marketing Platform can help.