19: Designing and Managing Integrated Marketing Communications

According to Kotler & Keller (2016), modern marketing is more than just developing a good product, it needs to be priced accordingly and making it accessible. the role of marketing communications is to inform, persuade, and remind consumers about the brands and products that are being sold either through big box retailers or direct to consumer. From a marketing mix standpoint, we look at eight major modes of communication, which inherently drive the business based on the strategy and goals provided. The following are the eight major modes of communication (Kotler & Keller, 2015, p. 501):

1. Advertising: Is any paid form of promotional ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor or media type. For example, ecommerce organizations focus heavily on the following paid media channels: search, display, email, affiliate, and prospecting display campaigns to drive revenue or conversion totals.

2. Sales Promotion: Variety of short-term incentives to encourage trial or purchase of a product or service

3. Events and experiences: Company-sponsored activities and programs designed to create daily or special brand-related interactions with consumers, including sports, arts, entertainment, and cause events as well as less formal activities.

4. Public relations and publicity: Variety of programs directed internally to employees of the company or externally to consumers, other firms, the government, and media to promote or protect a company’s image or its individual product communication

5. Direct Marketing: Use of mail, telephone, email, etc. to communicate directly with or solicit response or dialogue from specific customers and prospects

6. Interactive marketing: Online activities and programs designed to engage customers or prospects and directly or indirectly raise awareness, improve image, or elicit sales of products and services

7. Word-of-mouth Marketing: People-to-people oral, written or electronic communication that relate to the merits of purchasing or using products or services

8. Personal selling: Face-to-face interaction with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making presentations, answering questions, and procuring orders 

Overall, organizations must clearly develop an effective communication strategy that must first identify a target audience. Once the brand identifies their target audience it is now up to the marketer to set communication objectives that include category need, brand awareness, brand attitude, and brand purchase intention (Kotler & Keller, 2015, p. 483). “Companies must allocate the marketing communications budget over the eight major modes of communication – advertising, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, events and experiences, direct marketing, interactive marketing, word-of-mouth, and the sales force. Brands are focused on managing and coordinating the communication process, which is called integrated marketing communications (IMC). IMC is marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan to evaluate the strategic roles of a variety of communications disciplines, and that combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum impact through the seamless integration of discrete messages (Kotler & Keller, 2015, p. 520).

20: Managing Mass Communications

“Advertising can be a cost-effective way to disseminate messages, whether to build a brand preference or to educate people” (Kotler & Keller, 2015, p. 504). The concept of advertising is wide, we must first define a set of objectives in order to achieve the level that is desired. As a marketer, it is important to understand the importance of the five Ms of advertising: mission, money, message, media, and measurement. The five Ms drive the campaign strategy to advertising budget and to post mortem analysis.  One of the big decisions during this process is deciding on the marketing mix and the media services and how to effectively measure performance. From a campaign perspective, it is important to comprehend the amount of reach, frequency, and impact that campaign or advertisement will have. “The media selection is finding the most cost-effective media to deliver the desired number and type of exposures to the target audience” (Kotler & Keller, 2015, p. 511).

21: Managing Digital Communications

There are four main categories of online marketing communications: web sites, search ads, display ads, and email. This means that companies are able to send targeted messages to users while using multiple mediums that incorporate messages across all channels. It is important for organizations to incorporate best practices when developing these channels while integrating social media platforms. According to Kotler and Keller (2015), social media are a means for consumers to share text, images, audio, and video information with each other and with organizations” (p. 620). Social media marketing has grown and will continue to be the outlet that many large and small brands utilize to interact with their consumers. With each one of these programs, we are able to develop campaigns that focus on mobile marketing, which is one of the largest growing ways consumers are viewing media and products.

22: Managing Personal Communications 

“Direct marketing is the use of consumer-direct channels to reach and deliver goods and services to customers without using marketing middlemen” (Kotler & Keller, 2015, p. 536). The goal of direct marketing is being able to reach prospects at the moment they want to either solicit or purchase a product. Successful direct marketers believe in using direct mail, catalog marketing, telemarketing, and other interactive media to drive users to them directly without a media mix in-between.

In addition, brands are using their current customer database and email acquisition campaigns in order to build, maintain and market to their customers. Just as customer database management requires management and development, a strong sales force is also a way to drive partnership revenue and link customers. Sales force development and personal selling are valuable methods of growing organizations and customers by cultivating sales leads throughout the process.

PR Gets Personal

Public relations (PR) has the ability to reach large audiences through media placements and techniques, which is increasingly taking on more of a direct response approach. According to Harris (1994), he has identified five ways in which public relations and direct response marketing work together to achieve very specific marketing objectives; these are (p. 30-32):

1. Build marketplace excitement before media advertising breaks

2. Build a consumer base

3. Build a person-to-person relationship with customers

4. Turn satisfied consumers into advocates

5. Influence the influential

What makes advertising effective?

Effective advertising starts with a strong strategy and a successful ad placement that incorporates three successful ingredients: information, rational stimulus, and emphasis (Krugman, 2000, p. 97).  It’s important to understand that in advertising it does necessarily mean that more reach is more impactful. In many cases, less reach is better as the audience might be more targeted and qualified. According to Krugman (2000), “The effects of advertising on an individual are modest, but they are powerful in the mass and over time. Like erosion caused by shifting tides, little change occurs at any one moment, even though clear-cut effects appear eventually” (p. 103).

Communications and Industrial Selling

“The audience’s feelings about the credibility of the message source help determine the persuasive effectiveness of the message itself” (Levitt, 1996, p. 44-45). Audiences believe that the greater the prestige of the company the more believable the message source and the more likely it will influence their direction. It’s clear that company reputation is an extremely powerful factor in the industrial purchasing process; however, it is important to differentiate between the technical competence and the sophistication of the customer. In essence, the greater the risk the more important it is for a customer to receive a good sales presentation to positively effect the customer’s decision.

Advertising vs. Sales Promotion

According to Low and Mohr (2000), “manufacturers continue to allocate almost 75 percent of their marketing communications budgets to short-term activities” (p. 1). Research shows that the amount budgeted to advertising and promotion relative to sales is positively promoting sales and growth surrounding market share and competitive activity. It’s important to realize that if funds are shifted away from advertising, this could negatively impact revenue targets and/or goals. As brands progress through the product life cycle, managers must allocate appropriate marketing communication budget to advertising, and more to consumer and trade promotions. “The principles of classical brand marketing still apply and brand managers need to appreciate that high profile brands have bigger market shares for longer that brands where the share is created by short-term promotions” (Low & Mohr, 2000, p. 20).


Harris, T. (1994, April). PR gets personal. Direct Marketing, 56(12), 29.

Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2015). Marketing Management (15th ed.). Pearson.

Krugman, H. (1975). What Makes Advertising Effective? Harvard Business Review,96-103. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from

Levitt, T. (1996). Communications and Industrial Selling. Marketing Management, 44-49. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from

Low, G., & Mohr, J. (2000). Advertising vs. sales promotion: A brand management perspective. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 9(6). Retrieved May 23, 2016, from

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