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An alternative perspective of integrated marketing communication?

How can integrated marketing communications and advanced technology influence the creation of customer-based brand equity?

The Receiver/Decoding

Integrated marketing communication(IMC) is a communication model that ensures that all forms of communication and messages are well connected to each other. IMC means putting together all promotional tools to work in harmony. Promotion belongs to other Ps of the marketing mix. It should be noted that, if all the communication tools are put together they work better in harmony rather than when they work separately(McQuail & Windahl, 2015). This report aims at identifying the mix of promotional communication tools, understanding the communication process used by Australian medical association to pass information to its new and prospective consumers using an integrated marketing communication program. It will also develop the objectives of using the IMC program in reaching its consumers. And draw illustrations from (Belch et al. (2018) communication model and how it has been applied to the Australian Medical Association.

The receiver/decoding

A receiver is a person whose message is meant to reach or passed to by the sender. The creator of the message (sender) shares his thought to the destination (receiver) through a medium of communication(Swart, 2010). The receiver will then transform the message from the sender into thoughts(Swart, 2010). This happens through the influence of the receivers’ field of experience(Levinson, Lesser & Epstein, 2010). Field of experience is his perceptions, attitudes,and values brought to a communication situation.

A message contains communicated information or that meaning the source want to share with the receiver(Swart, 2010). The sender must put messages across by use of transmittable form to the appropriate channel. The message contains a literal meaning or a conscious and symbolic meaning subconscious(Levinson, Lesser & Epstein, 2010). People who are trained are in semiotics the study of the nature of meaning) and cultural anthropology is used by marketers to understand the meaning subconsciously and consciously(McQuail& Windahl, 2015). In Australian Medical Association, most of the medical errors committed are as a result of lack of communication or failures in communication(Levinson, Lesser & Epstein, 2010). There are errors are experienced in post-discharge(Shen & Bissell, 2013). The errors that result from physicians and patients and healthcare providers who take charge after discharge happens due to lack of communication and leads to suboptimal care transitions(Šeri? & Gil-Saura, 2011). The AMA greatly values communication with its patients, families/caregivers during the discharge process using the following guidelines;

By getting the right information from the patients, family/caregivers in order to enhance patients’ needs, goals, care,and treatment.

Channels

Using the language understood by the patients and the understanding communication impaired patients during the planning of discharge.

Giving understood instruction during discharge in order for the patients to comply with the most critical orders.

Channel is the medium in which communication travels from the sender to the receiver and vice versa. It exists in two forms. Personal channels and non-personal channels. Personal selling involves word of mouth and personal selling(Šeri? & Gil-Saura, 2011). Non-personal channels selling involve broadcast media and print media. AMA gives instruction to patients in both print and electronic form aswell as online platforms like portals(Levinson, Lesser & Epstein, 2010). AMA also hasusedthe internet in communicating with medical students and the physicians in sharing information quickly and teach millions easily(Levinson, Lesser & Epstein, 2010). Social networking helps physicians express themselves freely and enable them to be the active professional online presence(Shen & Bissell, 2013). When online, physicians are supposed to cognizant to patients privacy and confidentiality which should be maintained in all environments(Belech & Blech, 2009). They should also use privacy settings to avoid personal information from being leaked and accessed when using social media for networking(Levinson, Lesser & Epstein, 2010). They are supposed to maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship when online interaction with patients occurs(McQuail& Windahl, 2015). The physicians should maintain the required professional boundaries by being conscious of what is personal and professional content online(Urban& Mothusiwa, 2014).

Noise

The noise is referred to anything that distracts the process of communication. The source of noise includes white noise (signal transformation), situational factors (distractions),clutter (competitive messages), lack of common ground (improper encoding e.g. using a sign, symbol or words that are unfamiliar or different meaning to sender-receiver(Belech & Blech, 2009).

Response refers to a set of reactions the receiver has after seeing, hearing or reading a message. The response may be nonverbal or verbal actions. Feedback is the part of the message recipient’s response that is communicated back to the sender(Belech & Blech, 2009). Feedback takes various forms which help sender to understand and monitors how the message is being encoded and received.

IMC communication objectives include doing the following:

  1. Determining the target market

This means clearly selecting and defining the target audience in order to send messages that are going to be delivered effectively to the right people.

  1. Determining the IMC campaign purpose and objectives

Once the market/audience is defined as the next thing is setting successful marketing campaigns is to define what accomplishment is needed with its IMC efforts(Belech & Blech, 2009). IMC helps to accomplish a number of objectives which many marketing campaigns may not accomplish.

  1. M.A.R.T goals.

Noise

Specific areas to be improved must be targeted

Measurable: when setting goals, they should be measurable i.e. suggesting indicators for progress.

Assignable: select who will be doing it

Realistic: State how realistic is your goal and how it can be achieved with the available time and resources. All activities to be accomplished are well defined by S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T goals ensure effective communication between employees and their managers enabling one directional focus towards results(Urban& Mothusiwa, 2014).

Time-related: when do you want to achieve the result?

  1. Defining the message

Messages campaign can be revisited and redefined to suit the style selected. This will help getting the communication right(Ainin, Parveen, Moghavvemi, Jaafar & Mohd Shuib, 2015).Part of message is a call to action. For instance, as customer continue engaging with the product sales cycle, a need for call to action into web arises to stimulate feedback.

Awareness: paid searchers ads allow clicks to a website and to view the description to products and product comparative reviews (Mapheto, Oni & Matiza, 2014).

Interest: A white paper describing how a product is offering unique solution to a problem in business is downloaded.

Desire: demonstration of productrequest

Action stage: Price quoteproposal request.

  1. Selectingpromotion communications approaches and tools

There are choices that shape marketers to consider marketing communication methods.

Budget: the resources and budget for the marketing campaign that are available to enable the campaign should be determined (Huczynski, Buchanan, & Huczynski, 2013). A large budget will help in sales promotion, mass-market advertising, broader reach etc. small budget may force the organization to rely on the existing in-house labor and tools like a company website, email marketing, social media capabilities etc. Despite the size of the budget, marketers should ensure the biggest impact of advertising and promotional campaign with the available budget(Seric, Saura & Descals, 2011).

Timing: there are IMC approaches and strategies that take longestperiod of time than others. The good examples include Email and web promotionactivities which can be executed rapidly, mostly with in-house resources. Longer lead time is likely to be for conference presentations and events(Šeri? & Gil-Saura, 2011). It is important to choose tools that are able to make the biggest impact in the specified time.

Audience: good use of IMC enables to reach customers at their comfort. The targets’ segment behaviors and the media habits are the guide to marketer’s choice of marketing communication(Barker, 2013). For instance, presence in the media could be chosen as your IMC strategy if your target audience visits particular bloggers, websites, magazines, or social media to get information(Mapheto, Oni & Matiza, 2014).

Response

The kind of messaging to use in each component of IMC using AIDA Model includes;

Public relations: education messaging to prospective customers

Personal selling: stimulating action

Sales promotion: focuses on inducing buying at the point of sale

Direct marketing: provides information that induces prospective customers to want to know more etc.

  1. Determining the promotional mix: the tools required, time to use, and how

After marketers select those methods of communication they have to decide on which tools are useful, time and ways of use(Mapheto, Oni & Matiza, 2014).Promotional mix is so crucial in that it amplifies and reinforces the message (Batra, & Keller, 2016).

  1. Campaign Execution

This provides with the information on how to create marketing plans and communicate effectively.

  1. Results test

This involvestracking and measuring of success done by managers to monitor progress and know areas of adjustment.

In summary, the major communication objectives for AMA include:

  1. To promote and protect the medical profession in Western Australia
  2. To foster and sustain consultation and communication within the medical profession
  • To preserve, maintain, promote and advance the intellectual, philosophical, social, political, economic and legal interest of its members and of the medical profession in general.

The Cognitive response approach. This includes cognitive responses which are that that occurs to people while reading, viewing or hearing a communication(Šeri? & Gil-Saura, 2011). It is a method for examining consumers’ cognitive processing of advertising messages(Barker, 2013). It measures consumers’ cognitive response in terms of hearing, or viewing, or reading communications(Demiray & Sever, 2009). It examines the types of thoughts stimulated by an advertising message(Barker, 2013). Consumers write down or they report through word of mouth their reaction to messages(Seric, Saura & Descals, 2011). In its implementation of medical strategies and reconciliation in the discharge process, AMA uses the following strategies for patients to properly use their medication after they are discharged:

i). All discharge medication, prescription and over the counter drugs are reconciled with those administered during patient’s hospitalization.

2). They also ensure that an accurate list of drugs also those to be discontinued and those to be taken after hospital discharge, with dosage and time for each drug is well communicated to patients(Han, Niyato, Saad, Ba?ar & Hjørungnes, 2012).

3). Patients with complex drugs timetables are encouraged through administration by multidisciplinary teams for reconciliation including pharmacists(Batra, & Keller, 2016).   

4). Medication instructions are clearly stated for the patients, family and caregivers to avoid misuse of drugs.

Elements of Integrated Marketing Communication

Media

A combined campaign uses the full range of media communication to perform specific roles. Advertising is meant to raise awareness of a product and create necessary follow-up(Šeri? & Gil-Saura, 2011).Information on Pressstrengthens advertising by increasing the advertising messages. Direct mail or email would providefollow-up toolsfor the advertising campaign and also offer detailed information to prospects via brochures or links to a website(Demiray& Sever, 2009). Telemarketing and sales support material, such as sales and product guides, help the sales force to follow up the strongest prospects(Batra & Keller, 2016). Newsletters and email campaigns help to maintain contact and build relationships with prospects until they are ready to buy.

IMC Communication Objectives

The consistency of message is one of the most important elements of integrated marketing communication. The copy style and content should be consistent across all media(Seric, Saura & Descals, 2011). Prospect should have the same perception of a product description as well as statement of benefits when they see an advertisement, when reading leaflets, or when called by telemarketing specialist in each of all communications(Urban& Mothusiwa, 2014).

Consistencyin Design

Consistency means having the same colors and other visual elements as well as photographs when reinforcing the important campaign messages.  Design consistency has an added advantage for recycling stardard element and visuals across other advertising media hence help in reducing cost(Šeri?, Gil-Saura& Ruiz-Molina, 2014).

Strengthening/reinforcing

To reinforce is very important in IMC campaigns.  Integrated marketing communication combines all the element of marketing campaign to work together with an aim of  achieving the best result and objectives (Mapheto, Oni& Matiza, 2014).Campaigns like retailer training guide, direct marketing, retailer sales force, etc. are used to reinforce sales through sales through retail networks(Mapheto, Oni& Matiza, 2014).

Arrangement for Sales

Marketing through business-business can be tiresome and complicated as it involves too many decision makers and other stakeholders. Integrated marketing communication act as a bridge between your sales team and make them provide information needed by decision makers at each purchasing stage(Mapheto, Oni & Matiza, 2014). In a typical scenario, the buying team establishes its requirements, prepares a specification and a short list of potential suppliers, evaluates proposals, and makes a final assessment of the most suitable suppliers. An integrated campaign aligns the communication program with the purchasing process at each stage to ensure success.

Conclusions

Integrated marketing communication abbreviated as IMC is the communication model ensuring all forms of communication are put together to produce the most effective results.  The examples ofa model of communication include sender, receiver, message, channel,noise, feedback and the response. Integrated Marketing communication helps small businesses to do better outcomes from campaigns and reduce marketing costs. American Association of Advertising Agencies defines combining tools like sales promotion, social media, advertising, telemarketing, and direct mail is essential for consistency, clarity and maximum communication impact. IMC is majorly reliable due to better results, creativity consistency, cost savings, and customer preference.

References

Ainin, S., Parveen, F., Moghavvemi, S., Jaafar, N. I., & Mohd Shuib, N. L. (2015). Factors influencing the use of social media by SMEs and its performance outcomes. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 115(3), 570-588.

Barker, R. (2013). Strategic integrated communication: An alternative perspective of integrated marketing communication?. Communication, 39(1), 102-121.

Batra, R., & Keller, K. L. (2016). Integrating marketing communications: New findings, new lessons, and new ideas. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 122-145. https://www.ama.org/.../JournalOfMarketing/.../integrating-marketing-communication

Belech, G. E., & Blech, M. A. (2009). Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communication Perspective.

Demiray, U., & Sever, N. S. (2009). The Challenges for Marketing Distance Education in Online Environment: An Intergrated Approach. Online Submission.

Han, Z., Niyato, D., Saad, W., Ba?ar, T., & Hjørungnes, A. (2012). Game theory in wireless and communication networks: theory, models, and applications. Cambridge University Press.

Huczynski, A., Buchanan, D. A., & Huczynski, A. A. (2013). Organizational behaviour (p. 82). London: Pearson.

Mapheto, L. M., Oni, O. A., & Matiza, T. (2014). The Utilisation of Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies by Small Retailers in Mankweng, South Africa. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(15), 111. https://www.researchgate.net/.../272708503_The_Utilisation_of_Integrated_Marketin...

McQuail, D., & Windahl, S. (2015). Communication models for the study of mass communications. Routledge.

Šeri?, M., & Gil-Saura, I. (2011). Integrated marketing communications and information and communication technology in the hotel sector: An analysis of their use and development in Dalmatian first-class and luxury hotels. Journal of Retail & Leisure Property, 9(5), 401-414. https://www.researchgate.net/.../263324942_Integrated_marketing_communications

Seric, M., Saura, I. G., & Descals, A. M. (2011, January). New marketing and Communication Levinson, W., Lesser, C. S., & Epstein, R. M. (2010). Developing physician communication skills for patient-centered care. Health Affairs, 29(7), 1310-1318.Management efforts in the hotel sector: The case of high-quality hotels of Dalmatia. In Challenges of Europe: International Conference Proceedings (p. 743). Sveuciliste u Splitu.

Šeri?, M., Gil-Saura, I., & Ruiz-Molina, M. E. (2014). How can integrated marketing communications and advanced technology influence the creation of customer-based brand equity? Evidence from the hospitality industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 39, 144-156. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/.../79b1b8e36234aa2d1b28305b677ad13d5066.pd

Shen, B., & Bissell, K. (2013). Social media, social me: A content analysis of beauty companies’ use of Facebook in marketing and branding. Journal of Promotion Management, 19(5), 629-651. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10496491.2013.829160

Swart, Y. (2010). An integrated crisis communication framework for strategic crisis communication with the media: a case study on a financial services provider (Doctoral dissertation).

Urban, B., & Mothusiwa, M. (2014). Planning flexibility and entrepreneurial orientation: A focus on SME performance and the influence of environmental perceptions. Management Dynamics: Journal of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists, 23(1), 58-73. https://journals.co.za/content/mandyn/23/1/EJC15258

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