6 Steps in the IMC Planning Process

You might be surprised at just how many businesses and organizations I talk with that do not have an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy in place. From B2B to B2C, large to small, an IMC strategy is as essential as a business plan.

There are typically six steps in the IMC planning process. Each are important in their own right and can be applied to practically any business or organization, no matter the size or industry. While your plan might utilize each marketing communications function differently, the overall idea remains the same.

Below are the major steps to keep in mind when developing your IMC strategy.

Step 1: Know your target audience
As a general rule, there is no “general audience”. You always want to communicate with a specific audience to make the most effective use of your resources.

Segmenting specific audiences into groups based on characteristics will help you identify who are most likely to purchase or utilize your products and services.

Step 2: Develop a situation analysis
Commonly referred to as a SWOT Analysis, this is basically a structured method of evaluating the internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats that can impact your brand.

A situation analysis can provide much insight into both internal and external conditions that can lead to a more effective marketing communications strategy.

Step 3: Determining marketing communication objectives
In this step, you basically want to document what you want to accomplish with your IMC strategy. Objectives should be measurable if you truly want to map your campaign’s effectiveness at the end of your plan’s term.

Step 4: Determining your budget
Having a realistic idea on what you have to work with is important as it will shape the tactics you develop in the next step. Once you determine your overall budget, you will want to come back to this after completing step five to further refine your budget allocations.

Step 5: Strategies and tactics
Looking back at the objectives you created in step three, you will want to develop strategies which are ideas on how you will accomplish those objectives. Tactics are specific actions on how you plan to execute a strategy.

Step 6: Evaluation and measurement
Almost as important as the plan as a whole, you want to outline a method of how you will evaluate the effectiveness of your IMC strategy. Sometimes elements of your plan will not work. It’s important to know what did or didn’t, try to understand why, and make note for future planning.

The more focused on how you will utilize your resources for promoting your business, the more you will understand where you money is going and how it’s performing. An IMC strategy is important for any business or organization.

If you would like to learn more about how you can benefit from a professional IMC strategy, please call SRJ at 214-528-5775. We’d love to work with you.