from Digital Marketing, Content Marketing

What is IMC and How Does it Relate to Inbound Marketing?

By Ryan Potvin
June 2, 2015 - read

integrated marketing communication inbound marketingGone are the days where agencies would create an ad to meet their clients’ demands, throw it on TV, then cross their fingers and hope it would result in some sales. Agencies have also moved on from changing messaging by medium; no longer is it assumed that TV audiences differ from newspaper audiences which again differ from magazine audiences, etc.

These schools of thought are the ways of the past (sorry Don Draper) as marketers and advertisers are making the adjustment to integrated marketing communication (IMC), the way of the future… and by future we mean present: right here, right now.

What is IMC?

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) takes a one message, one voice approach to communications plans. This means that there is consistency of content across a brand’s campaign regardless of the combination of media utilized. IMC is the reason you see a commercial on TV then hear a similar script on the radio and come across it again in a print ad. This consistency helps establish the brand’s image which in turn helps build brand equity assuring people will know, trust, and choose your brand over the competition.

How Does IMC Tie In with Inbound Marketing?

Both IMC and Inbound Marketing start with the customer and work backwards. Rather than making a campaign that attempts to push a product on the masses to meet the client’s needs (the way of the past), agencies are now are trying to first understand the needs very specific target markets or personas before they start a campaign so that they can craft their messaging to speak directly to and really resonate with those who will be consuming it (the way of the present). By starting with the people instead of the product, agencies know the campaign is far more likely to be effective.

How do These Two Ideas Differ?

To be honest, they don’t. In this case IMC is more of an umbrella term for any of the more specific strategies or tactics that fall under it, which is where Inbound Marketing falls. Think of it this way: IMC is like “ice cream,” which is a more general term for the very broad product category and Inbound Marketing is like “Ben & Jerry’s,” which is a more specific part of ice cream. So just like the world of ice cream would be incomplete without Ben & Jerry’s, IMC would be incomplete without Inbound Marketing. Whew, anybody else want a cone now…?

Intrigued by target markets and personas? See how to approach them the right way here!

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Tags: Digital Marketing, Content Marketing