Introduction Integrated marketing communications is a marketing philosophy term that has been around since the late twentieth century (Hutton, 1996). The explosion of the internet and social media has given it more attention among marketing professionals as they try to reach a more technologically sophisticated target audience. The challenge is to keep consistent messaging across multiple marking communications mediums in order to develop and maintain customer loyalty. Integrated marketing communications is aimed at coordinating the various components of a promotional campaign including advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing, social media, promotions, and personal selling. This discussion looks at the communication mediums of radio, social media, and print. The target audience for this discussion is 21 to 29 year olds.
The target market for this discussion are people between the ages of 21 to 29. This age group is referred to as Millennials. Millennials grew up with technology embedded in their lives and exist in a socially-networked world. This generation is now the largest age group, very tolerant of differences and very ethnically diverse (Mangold, & Faulds, 2009). Some argue that although this generation tends to be confident, they can border on entitled and narcissistic (Mangold, & Faulds, 2009). They are generally optimistic but realize they will be less economically successful than their parents (What is Millennials). Fifty percent of Millennials are politically unaffiliated, they have the highest average number of Facebook friends, fifty-five percent have posted a selfie on social media, thirty percent have sexted, and they send an average of fifty text messages a day (What is Millennials). These statistics indicate a very technologically sophisticated target market with frequent access to social media.
There are four types of communication; formal and informal, oral and written, internal and external, and verbal and non-verbal. Formal communication is established by the organization and comes in the form of e-mails, memorandums, formal reports, and other described methods defined by the organization. Informal communication is generally verbal conversation that occurs in break rooms or after meetings. Oral and written communication is the transfer of information either by speaking or by the written word. Internal communication is that communication within an organization not intended for those outside of the organizations. External communication is messaging and marketing to to the target audience. Verbal communication, like oral communication, is information transferred through speaking. Non-verbal communication refers to gestures and expressions communicating a mood or message. Millennials have grown up with technology and are receptive to written communication through e-mail and social media.
The frequent use of social media by this target market requires the integrated marketing communication plan to thoroughly address social media venues. Social media, also referred to as consumer generated media, includes video sharing sites like YouTube, photo sharing sites like Flickr, music sharing sites lick Jamendo, content sharing sites lick Piczo, intellectual property sharing sites like Creative Commons, user sponsored blogs, company sponsored blogs, invitation only social networks like A Small World, business networks like LinkedIn, collaborative websites like Wikipedia, virtual worlds, podcasts, daily news delivery site, open source software, and educational material sharing sites (Kitchen, & Burgmann, 2010). The advertising messaging must be consistent across all these venues in order to achieve customer loyalty. A dedicated social media person or staff should be brought on to monitor daily posts, tweets, and other information posted on the internet. Because the internet is accessible worldwide, marketers need to be conscious of the global market. Mistakes on messaging that may be offensive in one culture can spread rapidly, losing market share in other cultures. Social media can be used to communicate a marketing message, and the consumers communicate to each other regarding the value to the marketing message. This two way, instantaneous messaging can rapidly impact customer loyalty and market infiltration. Despite the proliferation of social media, some other traditional marketing mediums are still effective and should be part of an integrated marketing communication effort.
Radio still reaches ninety-one percent of all Americans over the age of twelve on a daily basis. Even with the explosion of social media, nine of ten Millennials tune into radio weekly. Radio reaches eighty-eight percent of Millennials, who spend over nine hours each week listening to the radio (Why Radio Facts). Radio still provides the highest return on investment for advertisement dollars. A Nielsen Catalina Study Shows a $6 return for every $1 spent on radio advertising (Linton, 2016). There are over 6000 radio stations nationwide offering low cost, twenty-four hours, seven days a week coverage. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, eighty-eight percent of drivers use the radio as their primary in-car entertainment (Why Radio Facts). Most radio stations have evolved to offer their signal over the internet, allowing Millennials to use technology to access their favorite radio stations. Radio offers a format for everyone, various languages, genres, formats make the medium popular among the diverse group that makes up Millennials. An integrating marketing communications plan would do well to have both multiple social media venues and an aggressive radio advertising campaign with consistent messaging.
Printed advertising is defined as anything printed on paper including newspapers, magazines, booklets, flyers, direct mail, booklets, or any other portable printed material (Traditional, 2014). Printed advertising is dying out, replaced by digital advertising. However,
Figure 1 – Digital vs. Traditional Advertising (Traditional, 2014)
direct mailing and many newspapers are still in production. The key to print advertising is circulation. A study done in 2014 indicated, thirty-six percent of Millennials thought digital ads were more effective, however, twenty-eight percent said print ads were equally as effective as digital ads (Traditional, 2014). Figure 1 shows the results of this study. Printed advertising can be a part of an integrated marketing communications plan, when appropriately selected to target Millennial’s reading habits.
Any Integrated marketing communications plan must identify the target audience and utilize multiple communication mediums to infiltrate the market, develop customer base, and maintain customer loyalty. Millennials between the age of 21 and 29 are technologically savvy, diverse, confident, and interact multiple times a day on social media. The integrated marketing communications plan needs a detailed social media campaign, but should also integrate traditional mediums like radio and printed advertising in order to accurately and consistently communicate the company message.
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