Irrespective of whether you are in B2B or B2C, marketing communications play a vital - how else it could have become one of the 4Ps! Promotion has taken a very important role that many a times other Ps are forgotten or not given equal importance. On a lighter note, read about similar finding in IBM CMO Study
If you studied Marketing 101 or you are in this field, I am sure you could not have missed the phrase - 'Integrated Marketing Communications'. As I understand, IMC is nothing but utilizing all the marketing channels in a comprehensive, mutually complementing fashion at an optimal cost. Gone are the days when print ads or television ads alone were enough; the channels to reach the end user has exploded so much that not only can one ignore other channels but have to be very vigilant in utilizing them.
Thus it essentially revolves around one P of the 4Ps - Promotion.One may think that IMC is all about promotion. However IMC plays its role in branding and also pave way to managing the challenges like marketing expenses accountability, rapid improvements in technology and other developments like increased importance of database, internet and social media marketing.
Major promotional tools include, but not limited to the following:
- Advertising (Good old advertising techniques, role of ad agencies, metrics, media buying etc.)
- Direct Marketing (Database marketing, telemarketing, direct ads, collateral etc.)
- Interactive Marketing (Internet marketing, mutimedia/interactive media)
- Sales Promotions (coupons, discounts, psychology behind influencing buying behavior etc.)
- Public Relations (Publicity, role of PR firms - remember Radia tapes, if you are in India ;) )
- Personal Selling
In a single MBA level course in Marketing Communications, one will get the opportunity to get a flavor of each one of these. There are few universities that offer Masters level courses in IMC alone which deep dive into each one of these. A look into the detailed curiculum of such courses gives you a better understanding of what MC is all about. A couple of courses I came across:
Northwestern University's Masters Program
West Virginia University's Masters Program
A comprehensive list available @ Grad Schools
Limiting IMC to just to promotion won't be fair. It plays an important role in a firm's marketing strategies, branding and pricing. Communications happen at three levels:
- Corporate (The Vision, Mission, Image etc.)
- Product/Services Marketing(4 Ps)
- Marketing Communications
Few important articels that touchbase important concepts in Marketing Communications:
FCB Grid (Foote, Cone and Belding) [A nice illustration available here]
Elaboration Likelihood Model (details)
Rossiter-Percy Model (details)
Concept of Effective Frequency and Effective Reach
Importance of Word of Mouth (a nice article)
A good article on the role of ad agencies in IMC. Understanding the role of ad agencies and how it works is an important take away from this course.
I know, I was not able to clearly articulate what all you will learn in this subject; but hey! my intention is just to give a sneak preview; it is difficult to capture all that you learn in a 30 hours course or a course where you spend 18 months :)
I hope this post helped.... Please provide your comments!