Skip to main content

What Is Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)?

Can you recognize a brand by the color scheme of its website, the music in its commercials or its retail experience without ever seeing the brand name or logo? If you can, the brands you are thinking about right now prove the effectiveness of integrated marketing communications(IMC).

Graduates of an online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Integrated Marketing Communication program can use their skills and knowledge to help companies reach audiences, build a customer base and increase revenue.

Integrated Marketing Communications Defined

IMC is about presenting a consistent brand image through multiple channels and touchpoints. But it is more than just advertising on different platforms. As a daily task, it is about aligning brand cues and messaging to constantly reinforce the same themes and ideas no matter what platforms customers use or engage with throughout their journey. From an organizational perspective, it is about continuous communications between marketing and sales teams about campaigns and ensuring that no detail is ever off-brand. As a comprehensive marketing strategy, IMC is about optimizing marketing effectiveness through optimal reach, frequency and coherence to cultivate consumer familiarity and appreciation of your brand.

While specific marketing communication efforts may have unique goals, such as building awareness in a radio ad or generating leads through paid search advertising online, they are united in their presentation of key brand elements. The brand voice, visual identity and consumer experience are consistent. The culmination of such unswerving branding efforts yields a powerful impact in several ways:

Develop Your Brand Identity

IMC ensures that all marketing communications are consistent across all channels, including messaging, branding and tone. This consistency reinforces brand identity and increases brand recognition. Through the cumulative effects of IMC, when a consumer comes across an email or a TV commercial from a retailer with a familiar logo and color scheme, the other brand associations come immediately to mind.

Reach a Wider Audience Through Multiple Channels

There are four main types of marketing channels, each overlapping:

  • Paid marketing channels include TV and radio commercials, influencer marketing and print ads.
  • Free marketing channels include social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube and websites like Product Hunt.
  • Digital marketing channels include organic search (SEO), blogs and online video marketing.
  • Traditional marketing channels include TV and radio, billboards, magazines and direct mail.

Most consumers are exposed to brands through an omnichannel approach, but consumers vary in the channels they like and the time they spend with each. Therefore, using multiple channels optimizes the opportunity for greater reach and frequency of messaging.

Differentiate Brand Messaging and Experiences

By creating a unique brand experience that resonates with customers, businesses can stand out in a crowded market. IMC, in conjunction with personalization, allows brands to tailor messaging to different consumer segments based on their unique needs and preferences, enabling consumers to identify with them in a cluttered marketplace.

Build a Loyal and Trusting Consumer Base

Because consumer experiences across channels and, over time, share key branding attributes, IMC allows for more engaging and interactive marketing experiences, which builds brand loyalty and trust. In conjunction with ongoing data analytics and consumer feedback, IMC provide deeper customer insights and understanding. This understanding can help businesses create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns that resonate with customers.

Limit Marketing Costs and Grow Revenues

By measuring the impact of different marketing channels, businesses can identify the most effective ones and optimize their budgets accordingly. Compared to single-channel campaigns, IMC campaigns are more cost-effective as they allow companies to leverage existing content and assets across multiple channels. Businesses also apply their data analytics and allocate more resources to the most effective channels. An IMC strategy is particularly beneficial for businesses targeting omnichannel shoppers. A recent report showed that omnichannel grocery consumers shop more frequently and spend 20% more than strictly in-store consumers.

Become an Expert in Integrated Marketing Communications

The online M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication program from the University of North Carolina Wilmington equips graduates with a strategic framework for unifying and managing all organizational communication. The program is ideal for recent college graduates who want to develop expertise before entering the workforce, mid-career professionals who aspire to management and executive-level positions and military members or veterans interested in applying their leadership skills in marketing. Graduates of this program can pursue positions such as marketing manager, public relations director, social media manager, digital product manager, business strategy consultant and more and do so in as few as 12 months through this accelerated program.

Learn more about the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s online M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication program.

Related Articles

Request Information

Submit this form, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 855-306-4734

Take the next step

Start your application today!
Or call 855-306-4734 855-306-4734
for help with any questions you may have.