An Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Campaign Plan

The Course Project:
An Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Campaign Plan

The 4 Key Objectives of this Project:
•    Demonstrate a good understanding of a typical marketing problem, through a clear identification of the problem and careful analysis
•    Application of marketing concepts associated with the marketing mix, branding and communications
•    Provision of implementation steps that are sufficiently clear and detailed for effective execution (- would your plan work?)
•    Presentation of your work in clear, compelling and relevant documents

The Course Project
The course project will involve you in developing an integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan for a brand of your choice. Integrating marketing communications entails identifying a brand message and then conveying that brand message through a series of touch points that are relevant to the target customer. The figure presented in the Week 1 lecture captures the steps involved in developing an IMC plan—the brand is the central concern around which the IMC plan is developed. Early in the process, we establish who the customer is, what the customer wants, where the customer is, and then we think about how we will reach the customer in the space they are in, with what message, and which media. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT A MARKETING PLAN OR A BUSINESS PLAN – The IMC plan focuses on what we traditionally refer to as the Promotion P., and what we are now viewing as Communicating the Value.

Select a brand that you feel passionate about – you are going to live with it for the next 2 months. You might select a brand that you can see has an obvious problem that can be helped by an IMC – for example the brand may be organic but nobody that matters knows this – and as this is a growing market there may be considerable growth potential that could be realized with a campaign that creates awareness, interest, desire and gets action. Follow the process presented in the Week 1 lecture carefully. Give extensive thought to your topic proposal this can be downloaded from DocSharing, and complete this in week 1. Use the brand analysis document to gain an understanding of your selected brand. Work on gathering data and map out your ideas for the Week 4 deliverable the Course Project: Outline. The outline should help you determine what you know and where gaps still exist. This document will guide you through to successful completion.

Brand Analysis
Brand Problem:

While Apple is enjoying market dominance in the United States, its growth depends on the production of new and improved technology for emerging and developed markets. Apple has yet to demonstrate true multinational flexibility. Apple needs to open its software to outside hardware to compete in the global market. This control on software and hardware has allowed Android a further reach. Until Apple bends on its strategy, it is going to leave unrealized global opportunity on the table. Unless Apple addresses the needs of middle and bottom of the pyramid markets, scaling, and market penetration will be challenging. Apple needs an array of models from low to high- end to compete in emerging markets.

Current
New
Target Customer
Apple consumers are brand loyal and prefer purchasing Apple products in every category it exists. Demographically, consumers of both genders aged 15 and above, with an income category of middle-level and above are the target customers of Apple.

Product/service offered:
Apple is well known for producing stylish, trendy, technologically advanced, and innovative products which are simple in nature and easy to use.

Competitive advantage:
Vertical integration has given Apple a competitive advantage,

Brand name (e.g. Nike):
Apple

Brand term (e.g. Just do it):
“Change is in the Air.’

Symbol (e.g. Swoosh):
A bitten apple

Functional benefits (basic benefits relating to performance – e.g. Nike – a good quality shoe):

Emotional benefits (benefits that make the customer feel good – e.g. Nike – makes you feel fit and healthy):

Brand concept (essence of the brand – e.g. excellence in performance):

Brand Identity:

Physique – tangible form, sound, smell, color, feel

Personality – character

Relationship – what is exchanged, shared

Culture – the system of values represented by the brand

Reflection – what is the aspired image?

Self-image – what is the image of actual customers?

The Written Report
You should include the following sections in your written report:
Executive Summary
What is Apple known for? – Expensive but quality electronics
What does Apple need to communicate to the consumer? – That Apple offers electronics at a price that ensures, quality and satisfaction, and is worth the cost compared to the competition.

Introduction

IMC Objectives
Market Analysis
Communications Strategy Plans
•    Traditional Media
•    Internet
•    Direct Marketing
•    Sales Promotion
•    Public Relations (PR)
Conclusions

To expand, the content of each section should address the following:

IMC Objectives (Quantify)
Identify the brand and the principle objectives of the campaign and quantify where possible:
•    Attract new customers
•    Retain existing customers
•    Branding objectives
•    Marketing and corporate objectives
The objective of the Apple IMC plan is to expand our branding to reach consumers outside of our average consumer demographic. While apple products are often associated with luxury brands, and high end electronics, our IMC Plan will communicate to current and potential buyers that Apple has and is making efforts to reach consumers of all social statuses.
Market Analysis
A detailed analysis will provide the specific details for decision-making:
•    SWOT
•    Segmentation and Targeting
•    Positioning
•    Product/Service
•    Customer Profile
•    Marketing Channels

Communications Strategy Plans
Listed here are the typical options available that form the communications strategy mix – marketers must think about how they need to match competitors or provide novelty, each strategy requires a specific objective, a media strategy, a media plan, and a budget, these are described more fully below:
•    Traditional Media
•    Internet
•    Direct Marketing
•    Sales Promotion
•    Public Relations (PR)

Communications Schedule
Using a calendar that covers the timeframe of the proposed IMC indicate when the specific elements of the communications strategy mix will occur – including:
•    Launch dates
•    Key events

Budget and Evaluation
Develop a list of the planned communications strategy mix and estimate the costs of each component

To elaborate further on the Communications Strategy Section there are numerous options; marketers should consider a mix of the following depending on the problem being addressed – you may wish to provide additional strategies that you feel are more relevant.

Each communications strategy (e.g. a traditional media campaign involving a print ad in a magazine) requires:
•    Specific Objective
•    Media strategy: Big idea, Message, Copy, Visuals
•    Media Plan: Reach and Frequency
•    Budget: How much will this cost?

Traditional Media
A paid for, mass-mediated, attempt to persuade, use to build brand identity, this is a big investment:
•    Television, Print and Radio

Internet
As advertising became more expensive and the Internet grew – online communications have become a cost effective option with the added benefit of being measurable (closed-loop marketing) – this area has become highly specialized:

•    Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy: Google AdWords
•    Online advertising: Banners, reciprocal links
•    Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram…
•    Website

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing evolved from the catalog business, which involved gathering customer information – this approach is data base driven and is used to send personalized messages either by mail, phone, email or text messages, inviting a direct response. There is an important role for direct marketing in branding as it facilitates relationship building and customer retention. This is becoming integrated into a web campaign. Direct marketing might include:
•    Post cards
•    Personalized mailings
•    Emails concerning special offers
•    Newsletters

Sales Promotion
Alongside traditional advertising, there are many options for communicating with customers and building positive associations with the brand – sales promotion is growing in popularity and can be incorporated into a direct marketing piece such as a postcard or email. Sales promotion is instant demand stimulation, it creates a perception of greater value through contests and samples, it compliments the longer term advertising campaign, it motivates trial use, and encourages larger purchases or stimulates a repeat purchase.  Sales promotion is helpful when launching new products and new product samples can be attached to existing brands.  Problems arise because frequent sales promotions alter price perceptions and encourage consumers to become “deal-prone”. Examples include:

•    Consumers:  Coupons, price-off, gift with purchase, contests, samples, mail sampling, newspaper sampling, on-package sampling, mobile sampling
•    Trade/Business: Training, allowances, incentives, trade shows
•    Internet: New opportunities for contests and trial subscriptions

Public Relations (PR)
PR is a communications function used to promote understanding between an organization and its various stakeholder groups. PR is a critical component of brand building and generates publicity for the brand, helps solidify the public’s opinion of the brand and defines the brand; seamlessly.

Public relations involves:
•    Creating publicity; buzz, viral messages
•    Building media relations
•    Corporate communication (issues management, community relations, government relations, industry relations)
•    Building employee relations
•    Maintaining financial/investor relations
•    Crisis management
•    Image building
•    PR deals with what is difficult to control; but a company can be prepared
•    PR amplifies the effects of other communications strategies

The tools of PR include:
•    Press releases
•    Feature stories
•    Company newsletters
•    Press pack
•    Interviews and press conferences
•    Sponsored events

Your final report should be about 10-15 pages, please use the APA format for your paper and references. Keep in mind that you should use a professional writing style, this should be based on business English, and involve the correct use of marketing terminology. Use tables to summarize your information – a report is more likely to be implemented effectively if it is brief, but sufficiently detailed, clear and relevant. Remember to experiment with the Demand Metric Tools that are included in the Week 6 lecture, these may give you some ideas for organizing your campaign. For each of your communications strategy plans you should identify a specific objective, a media strategy, a media plan, and a budget. You are asked to provide the five typical options that form the communications strategy mix – marketers must think about how they need to match competitors or provide novelty, you may want to substitute a campaign for something different – check this out with your Professor.

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