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Integrated Marketing Communication

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INTRODUCTION

It is important for the business firms to promote their brands among the consumers not only to standout rivals but also to survive in the long run. Promotion of brand enhances awareness of products and services and eventually increases their sales, yielding high profits and revenue for the company. Integrated marketing communication means integrating all the ways of brand promotion for promoting product or service among the target consumers. In integrated marketing communication, all perspectives of marketing communication works together for increasing sales and maximising the cost effectiveness. This report is prepared on food products of Sainsbury which will contain information that can be utilised for an integrated marketing communication.

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Analysis of current market situation of food products in Sainsbury

Situation analysis of products is essential as it analyses the situation which the company can face when it will launch its marketing plan. This includes the following heads:

Getting a handle on market

Sainsbury has to start with a fact packed summary of market which it aims to serve. This will include who will purchase its offerings, whether the number of products is increasing, holding, steady or shrinking. For this, it has to cover the below described points:

  • Customer description- The cited firm has to define its customers in geographic terms, demographic terms (facts such age, gender, race, education level, marital status, income level) and psycho-graphic terms.
  • How customers divide into market segments- Market segments consists of unique groups of consumers who possess the same features (Yeshin, 2012). These features can be gender, age, income, buying pattern etc.
  • Size of market and growth trends- It indicates size and information regarding growth for overall market and for different market segments the cited organisation serves.

Assessing competition

In this part, the firm has to summarise what type of competition it faces and it includes:

  • Direct competitors- These competitors are those firms that the cited company's customers consider when they think about purchasing.
  • Indirect competitors- These competitors are those organisations that go after cited company's customers through several and unanticipated methods.
  • Competitive threats and opportunities- Threats such as new competitors, improved offerings for old rivals and opportunities consists of changes that weakens the competitors or closure of long time rivals.

Forecasting business climate

This is the final step in situation analysis which consists of looking at outside forces which can impact the success of the organization. For instance: changing economic conditions can crimp or enhance abilities of customers to purchase the food products. Some other factors to consider are as follows:

  • Increasing labour or supply costs that can affect the firm's pricing
  • New rules and regulations
  • Emerging new technology that can change how company or its competitors do business
  • Social trends or shifting consumer preferences
  • Regional or industry events or promotions which can affect visibility and interest in company's offerings.

Determination of integrated marketing communication objectives

Integrated marketing communications is a wide marketing concept which focuses on keeping marketing and communication efforts consistent and interconnected. Therefore, any type of messages that Sainsbury delivers through the medium should strengthen a consistent brand image. Effective IMC objectives are particular, measurable, quantified and within a set time frame. These objectives are stated below:

Brand awareness

This is one of the most common and old IMC objectives. Before the cited organisation can sell its food products, it has to build brand awareness among its target market to let it know about the brand and its meaning. A brand awareness objective may be like increasing brand awareness by 10 % within three months.

Favourable attitude

Once the firm establishes brand awareness, the next step is to influence customers to purchase food products. As an IMC objective, persuasion may consist of creating a favourable brand attitude or a high intention to buy among customers. The company can assess general attitudes for its brand before and after marketing campaign to see if it has improved. It can study the aim of customers to buy after the campaign has been done. An attitude goal may be “has 15 percent of market indicate an intention to purchase the product within three months”.

Brand loyalty

Finally, the long term objective of the cited company is to develop and maintain loyal relationships with its customers. It can set IMC objectives for brand loyalty, like increasing customer database by 20 %overall or increasing current customer database revenue by 10 %within five months. The motive of these IMC objectives is to extract more business form the core customers.

Sales objectives

Each of the above discussed IMC objectives are usually referred to as communication objectives, or long term goals. Sales promotions drive business and revenue in the short term. These objectives can be for example, creating a customer base, clearing out excess stock or generating cash flow. Sales objectives are mostly easy to measure which makes them popular among directors who want easy to quantify outcomes.

Establishment and allocation of promotional budget

Establishing objectives is an essential part of planning process, the limitations of budget is also necessary. The objectives must be set according to the budget in Sainsbury.

Budget setting approaches

1.Marginal analysis

As advertising or promotional expenses increase, sales and gross margin also increase to a point, but then they level off. Profits are shown to be an outcome of gross margin less advertising expenses . Using this approach to establish budget, the cited company can continue to spend on advertising or promotional as long as marginal revenues created by those expenditures exceeds the incremental advertising or promotional costs.

2.Top down approaches

In this approach, the budgetary amount is established (generally at the executive level) and then then it is passed down to different departments. These budgets are necessarily predetermined and have no genuine theoretical foundation. Top down methods consists of affordable method, arbitrary allocation, and percentage of sales, competitive parity as well as return on investment.

3.Bottom approaches

The main defect related with the top down methods is that these methods leads to predetermined budget appropriations mostly not connected to objectives and the strategies designed to achieve them. A more effective strategy is to consider the company's communication objectives and budget what is deemed important to accomplish these goals. The objective and task method of budget setting uses a build-up approach including three steps- first is defining the communication objectives to be attained. Second one is determining particular strategies and tasks required to achieve them. And the last one is estimating costs linked with performance of these strategies and tasks. The total budget is based upon the accumulation of these costs.

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Allocation of budget

Once the budget has been appropriated, the next step is to allocate it. Allocation of budget consists of determining which markets, products and/or promotional elements will get which amounts of funds appropriated. Some of the basis for allocating budget are:

  • Allocating to IMC components
  • Client or agency policies
  • Size of the market
  • Potential of the market
  • Market share goals

Justification for choice of budgeting approach and allocation of budget

There are many approaches which are proposed for setting the budgets and to allocate it in effective manner for Sainsbury. These budgeting approaches include marginal analysis which is very effective and beneficial for cited firm as it gives long term benefits and can keep on spending on advertising or promotional as long as marginal revenues created by those expenditures exceeds the incremental advertising or promotional costs. This is very advantageous for the company because through this approach profits are shown to be resultant of gross margin less advertising expenses. The other approach is top down approach under which the amount of budget is determined at the executive level only and then all different departments are informed about that. This approach can prove effective when the organisation wants to make budgets through various methods and not sticking to single method (Deshpande,). However this approach does not have any true theoretical base. The last approach is bottom up approach which is also a good option for the company as it utilises a build up approach. But the main disadvantage of this approach is that methods results in predetermined budget appropriations often not linked to objectives and the strategies developed to accomplish them. After these approaches of budgeting, budget has to be allocated. The foundations used for allocation of budget are effective but more bases can prove good for the cited company.

Development of an integrated marketing communication program

An integrated marketing program uses the similar thematic message in various different type of promotions. The idea behind the message stays consistent whether consumers see a magazine advertisement or company's web page. An integrated marketing communication program may leverage its several promotion sources. Today's companies have more options than ever regarding how and where to promote or advertise products or services. With traditional methods like print advertising, and direct marketing, there are email marketing, web based advertising, multiple social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube along with mobile marketing (Shimp, and Andrews, 2012). For developing an integrated marketing communication in Sainsbury, these tools can be used

Advertising

Advertising is one of the most effective methods to promote a brand. It will help the cited company to reach a broader audience within the shortest possible time limit. Advertisements, in newspaper, television, radio, billboards will help the end users to trust in its brand and also encourage them to buy the food products and remain loyal towards the brand. Advertisements will not only increases the consumption of food products but it will also create brand awareness among the customers. The cited firm is required to assure that the rights message is delivered to the rights customers at the right time. The company has to be careful about the content of the advertisement, as it has to pay for every second.

Direct marketing

Direct marketing enables the firm to communicate directly with the end users. Several tools direct marketing are emails, text messages, catalogues, brochures, promotional letters and so on. Through this method the message can be reached directly to the customers

Digital marketing

Digital media tools should be aligned with company's advertising messages, particularly when target market depends on the internet for information of the food products. These consists of links to firm's website and Facebook pages in its advertisements. Inspiring buyers to visit company's website means finding methods to interact with them once they reach the page, such as acquiring email address (Blakeman, 2014). Creating rapport with them makes social media sites ideal for sharing news about the products, encouraging satisfied customers to chime in and sharing tips and facts related to the offerings of the firm. If cited organisation wants to cater to a large regional or national market, it can go for pay per click ads on Google, Yahoo or Facebook to reach more potential buyers.

Personal selling

This tool is considered as one of the most effective tools for integrated marketing communication. This method takes place when the company or sales representative sells products or services to clients. Personal selling goes a long way in strengthening bond between the firm and the end users.

Monitoring, evaluation and control of the program

It is essential to determine how well the integrated marketing communication program has meet the communication objectives and has helped the cited firm to achieve its overall marketing goals and objectives. It is important for the cited company to not only know how well the promotional program is doing but also why. For instance: Problems in advertising program may be in the nature of the message or in a media plan that has not reached the target market effectively. The firm has to know the reasons for the outcomes in order to take the rights steps to correct the program. This is done to provide managers with regular feedback related to effectiveness of the program which can be taken in use as input of planning process (Thorson, and Moore, 2013). Information on the results attained by the program is used in subsequent promotional planning and development of strategies. Continuous monitoring of performance against predetermined targets is of extreme importance. More important is the enforced discipline of a regular formal revision. Understanding how the cited organisation can evaluate the effectiveness of the program can help it in spending the marketing budget more efficiently. For this purpose it can perform the following described evaluation techniques:

  • Working in Tandem: The first step in building the right method to evaluate the integrated marketing communication program is set goals for promotional messages. These can include increasing sales, creating brand awareness etc.
  • Numbers don't lie: This one of the simplest method to evaluate marketing communication program. In this website traffic statistics are checked.
  • Direct outcomes: These include direct response advertisement that consists of a telephones number or website such as infomercials which gives a toll free number. For this the company can ask people who call in or visit the stores or websites how they heard of the firm.

CONCLUSION

The above report is prepared to reflect integrated marketing communication and its utilisation for Sainsbury company. For this purpose food products of the firm are taken into consideration. The report analyses the current market situation of food products offered by the company. It also highlights the establishment and allocation of promotional budget which includes budgeting approaches such as marginal analysis, top down approach and bottom up approach. Further, the report discusses about development of an integrated marketing communication program which has proved effective for the cited organisation after its proper monitoring, evaluation and control. It is recommended that techniques such as surveys and focus groups can also be taken for evaluating the program.

REFERENCES

  • Barker, R., 2012. Integrated marketing communication. Juta.
  • Blakeman, R., 2014. Integrated marketing communication: creative strategy from idea to implementation. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Deshpande, S., Integrated Marketing Communications. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management.
  • Kitchen, P.J. and Burgmann, I., 2010. Integrated marketing communication. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Morrison, T., 2016. Integrated Marketing Communications.
  • Percy, L., 2014. Strategic integrated marketing communications. Routledge.
  • Shimp, T.A. and Andrews, J.C., 2012. Advertising promotion and other aspects of integrated marketing communications. Cengage Learning.
  • Shimp, T.A., 2010. Integrated Marketing Communication in Adver-tising and Promotion 8e. International Edition. Printed in China.
  • Thorson, E. and Moore, J., 2013. Integrated communication: Synergy of persuasive voices. Psychology Press.
  • Yeshin, T., 2012. Integrated marketing communications. Routledge
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