Businesses communicate with their customers and prospects in many different ways. These range from the personal face-to-face sales or service call to the less personal print advertising. Each time a person sees our or hears your messages he or she forms an impression of your business. This impression can reenforce an existing image, establish a new opinion or create confusion.
Obviously, you want to establish and to reinforce a positive image of your company or brand every time you communicate with your audience. The confusion comes when one message is inconsistent with the rest. For example, a print advertising campaign that communicates that you offer higher quality and higher service can conflict with a web site that gives the impression of lower prices with limited services. Similarly, the messages delivered by your sales people should be consistent with those provided by your direct mail.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is defined as customer centric, data driven method of communicating with the customers. IMC is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost. This management concept is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.
4 P’s vs. 4 C’s
- Not PRODUCT, but CONSUMER
You have to understand what the consumers’ wants and needs are. Times have changed and you can no longer sell whatever you can make. The product characteristics have to match the specifics of what someone wants to buy. And part of what the consumer is buying is the personal “buying experience.”
- Not PRICE, but COST
Understand the consumer’s cost to satisfy the want or need. The product price may be only one part of the consumer’s cost structure. Often it is the cost of time to drive somewhere, the cost of conscience of what you buy, the cost of guilt for not treating the kids, the investment a consumer is willing to make to avoid risk, etc.
- Not PLACE, but CONVENIENCE
As above, turn the standard logic around. Think convenience of the buying experience and then relate that to a delivery mechanism. Consider all possible definitions of “convenience” as it relates to satisfying the consumer’s wants and needs. Convenience may include aspects of the physical or virtual location, access ease, transaction service time, and hours of availability.
- Not PROMOTION, but COMMUNICATION
Communicate,many mediums working together to present a unified message with a feedback mechanism to make the communication two-way. And be sure to include an understanding of non-traditional mediums, such as word of mouth and how it can influence your position in the consumer’s mind. How many ways can a customer hear (or see) the same message through the course of the day, each message reinforcing the earlier images? 
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