Three 2011 IMC Wishes

My One Wish for 2011 is that IMC Practitioners Become More Strategic

When I started writing this final blog of the year, I intended to forecast 2011 Integrated Marketing Communications trends.  The more I wrote, the more a realized that these weren’t trends at all, but rather the direction I’d like to see Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) head.  With that in mind, and in the spirit of the season, here are my three wishes for IMC in 2011.

Wish #1: Be More Strategic – My good friend Brian Fuller, an EE Times editor and the author of the “Greeley’s Ghost”, blog refers to it as the “leads ghetto.”  It’s the place where every B2B IMC discussion seems to land.  And yet leads are only part of the IMC challenge.  And so in 2011, I would like IMC discussions to become more strategic, discussing how the practice can influence all levels of the purchase decision hierarchy … awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, purchase and buyer assurance. 

Wish #2: Recognize that Social Media is a Media – The blogosphere, on-line marketing publications, and the Internet have become a cornucopia of  social media articles.  Most of these have been “how to” tactics.  Some have focused on how to measure results.  Nearly all have predicted dire consequences for companies who “don’t get it.”  Few, if any, point out that Social Media is just that … another media.  Social Media is not the end-all and be-all.  It hasn’t and won’t kill print, network television, direct mail, trade shows, or any other media.  Televising didn’t kill radio, newspapers, or magazines and social media, the “television” of the 21st Century, won’t either. 

What social media offers is more choices for a target audience.  Social media must, indeed, be a part of any IMC plan.  But it emphasizes the need for more insightful segmentation in order to maximize its total effectiveness.

Wish #3: Upgrade Print Advertising’s Role – Time, Inc. points out that readership has increased for virtually all of its magazine titles.  Conversation within the electronics industry advertising community is that, while print pages have shrunk, it not because of shrinking readership but rather re-allocated budgets. Anecdotal discussion with a well-respected newsletter editor revealed that her “20-Something” aged children are turning to print, especially the paper version of The Economist  and The Wall Street Journal.

It is time for the IMC management community to recognize that a significant influential portion of a target market wants print.  Given this situation, huge influence and huge differentiation can accrue to the strategic thinker who realizes that print is a media that should also be part of a strategic IMC program.

This past year has been very interesting.  The economy has whole has emerged from its doldrums.  Marketing spending increased. The outlook for 2011 is that economy will continue to expand and so too will marketing spend.  While that is good news,  it places upon the IMC community the need to maximize this investment by being more strategic in its approach to generate the results management will come to expect from its increased investment.

Here’s hoping for a successful 2011 for all of you.

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About businesspracticum

Chuck Byers is the Managing Director of Business Practicum & Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University
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One Response to Three 2011 IMC Wishes

  1. Jeff Sheehan says:

    A great post that reinforces what I have been recently saying to groups that I have been speaking to. There is a definite need for developing a comprehensive strategy before undertaking any marketing campaign, even if Social Media is part of it. Social Media is a Media and not a cure-all. Furthermore, it is not the killer of the 4P’s of Marketing. The 4P’s are still alive and well. Print is not dead, but evolving.

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