Odds are, your dealership already is practicing IMC, or integrated marketing communication. You’re prepared to air a local television spot, send out a direct mail campaign, as well as run a couple of social campaigns for your most recent sales event. However, do you know the basis behind why you are doing it all? If you do not, hold tight: this may just flip your present marketing plan on its head.
What isn’t and what is IMC?
In the book Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler, it describes integrated marketing communication as ‘the idea by which an organization carefully coordinates and integrates its multiple communication channels to generate a consistent, clear message about the business and its products.’
IMC, for dealers, will mean taking automotive advertising over to the next level by spreading the campaigns amongst digital and traditional channels to develop a cohesive customer experience.
The strategy will reach beyond adding a website address to a direct mail piece or rushing through a dealership’s Twitter handle during the end of a radio advertisement.
To really master integrated marketing communication, one has to tie all of the marketing channels together in order to develop a foolproof knot of effective and organized communication for all campaigns.
If a dealership’s messaging appears unorganized and unfocused, you’ll risk weakening (or never forming) brand loyalty that is customer driven. The audience likely will question making a $30,000 and up investment with you if they think you do not have all your ducks in a row.
In the book The Advertising Concept Book by Pete Barry, ‘It’s the consistency of a campaign which usually strengthens and forges a long relationship between the service/product and a consumer. It’ll create what is referred to as brand loyalty—an extremely powerful tool for marketing.’
While working to implement an integrated and effective strategy for marketing, remember the following four rules (referred to as the 4 C’s):
- Coherence: Different communications are logically connected and adhere to one central idea.
- Consistency: Different messages are supported and reinforced across multiple channels, without being contradictory.
- Continuity: Idea behind messaging is simple and big enough to ensure that communications are connected and consistent over time.
- Complementary: Messages are synergistic, and the value of the campaign than that of each of its parts.
In short, all campaigns should appear consistent across all platforms, and all campaigns should complement the brand.
Consider McDonald’s, an organization whose diverse campaigns will range from promoting a new beverage to spotlighting healthier options for children. Raking in $27.5 billion in revenue per year, they have a huge amount of money invested in integrated marketing communication: all things from their radio advertisements to their website and billboards shouting the same exact message, and all messages advance the same yellow and red, “I’m lovin’ it” image for the brand.
Do not replace a channel; change the mix up
It is smart for a dealership to create a plan which incorporates both digital and traditional marketing forms to completely surround customers with a single message, irrespective of those individuals’ whereabouts and media habits.
Mix your channels up, and check which combination works better for your dealership’s targeted audience. Stick to direct mail, yet attempt to pair your following campaign with an email campaign that is sent to the exact same audience. Or attempt to add social media campaigns, as well as retargeting advertisements to complement radio spots. The choices are endless as it’ll come to integrated marketing communication.
While you ought to seek balance between digital and traditional media, the success of integrated marketing communication does not depend upon how much of the automotive ad budget is committed to one over the other. A dealership’s only objective must be to develop an overall campaign which produces a memorable, fully-executed brand image.
The customer who views your advertisement on television is the same exact customer who’ll view your advertisement on their phone, and again while browsing the Internet. Make it your priority to develop communication which sets up lasting, long-term connections with customers. If you do that, your dealership is going to see the power of integrated marketing.
For more information on digital integration of automotive direct mail contact Aspen Marketing Services at (800) 736-0602.