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Business Observer Monday, Jun. 19, 2006 16 years ago

Lou Lasday: Multiple Messages

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A successful advertising campaign should be diverse. Repetition creates a reputation.
by: Adam Hughes Staff Writer

Lou Lasday: Multiple Messages

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." That shop worn phrase is actually the latest breakthrough in strategic thinking as it relates to the development of integrated marketing communications. Its measurement is the new wave to skyrocket performance of your next Gulf Coast advertising campaign. IMC, as it is known, is the next generation thinking being advanced at the first tier of top graduate business schools. Writing in the soon-to-be-published epic scholarly reference, "The Handbook of Advertising," University of California Professor Prasad Naik suggests that marketing professionals should talk IMC, not just A.D.S. (advertising).

Utilize a proactive initiative for integrated marketing communications. As a Gulf Coast entrepreneur, you'll want to focus on much more than the actual advertising involved in your next promotional campaign. Let your creative and media team do that. Give them your clearest thinking, your expectations, your budget and your trust. Then get out of the way. Your function is to understand the strategies and the joint effects of the integration.

Alternate Media

IMC is much more than simply using multiple media concurrently as in an academic model. There, the effectiveness of each activity does not depend upon any other activity. With the initiative of IMC, the effectiveness of each activity directly depends upon all other communication activities used in concert with each other.

It sounds simple. It really is. Integration is about how all the elements in the entire marketing communications spectrum work together, rather than how they work independently. Think of your advertisement as your starting pitcher out on the playing field. Without IMC, he's the only one on the field; no team, no one covering the bases, or aiding his individual star performance. He's freestanding and alone.

It's geometric

The whole point is that with strategic integration, a total geometric effect takes place. You'll be able to measure the total effect of several marketing activities at one time. It's like a full team working together with players supporting each other.

Before IMC, your thinking may have been to break out the impact of the various component parts that went into the program. Were more telephone calls generated from message Ad "A" or Ad "B"? Can we isolate the reader response from the low-income audience of the daily metro newspaper? How about the high-income audience of the business weekly? Did the direct mailing bring more response than the media ad if the cost is the same; or less, or more?

As a senior manager, your post-buy analysis may be provided to you. Your broader leadership need is to understand and champion the concept of IMC. As in baseball, you'll instruct and educate your team to make certain all the bases are covered. The breakout statistics of hits, runs and errors are certainly vital, but the ultimate success of the event is determined by the combined effort.

So, the next time you consider running a few ads, support your investment to insure its success. Support the team with your short list on integrated marketing communications. Think handouts, senior level telemarketing, Web site custom links, faxing to established prospects, personal mailing notes, announcement cards, e-mail with permission, publicity, banners, signage, invitations, events and more.

Don't just run the ad. Run the campaign. Cover all the bases. Then, in the words of 20th Century philosopher Yogi Berra, "When all is said and done, there's nothing left to say or do."

Lou Lasday, an independent marketing advisor residing on Longboat Key, creates action-oriented marketing initiatives for Gulf Coast emerging companies. He can be reached at [email protected].

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