Are you looking for ways to give your Amazon FBA business a competitive edge, increase customer awareness, and encourage repeat business? If so, you need to incorporate Integrated Marketing Communications in your marketing plans.
Jeff Bezos himself leveraged this strategy to improve Amazon’s brand image.
One of the most challenging and fascinating aspects in marketing is the creation of communications messages. Effective Integrated Marketing Communication is both a science and an art, which can have a huge impact on the future of your Amazon FBA business. Many memorable TV commercials and outdoor campaigns have driven the sales of countless products and services, and transformed the companies who own them from humble beginnings to great success!
On the other hand, there have also been catchy TV commercials that say how they would love to have you as a valued customer. But guess what? The moment you pick up the phone in response to their ad you’re immediately shuffled over to someone who seems completely detached and unconcerned about your needs. This makes you wonder if they ever watch their own ads on TV. When a company’s actions and promises are not aligned with each other, the results can be disastrous.
The driving force behind Integrated Marketing Communication is the “one-sight, one-sound” principle. While that’s only one aspect of the entire concept of Integrated Marketing Communication, it is the part that is most visible and oftentimes the only basis consumers and the general public use when judging the value of your company or brand.
If you fail at making every aspect of your marketing campaign work as one cohesive whole, you open yourself vulnerable to a lot of things such as the possibility of having your best efforts shot down by some misinformed employee.
Read on and discover how you can effectively use Integrated Marketing Communications, like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos did, to build and strengthen your brand as well as your relationship with customers and other stakeholders.
Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept that ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together. At its most basic level it means integrating all the Amazon promotional tools to work together in harmony with each other.
At the very core of IMC is synergy. It is important therefore that all communications tools sound off consistently as one unified voice all the time, and work together in harmony rather than in isolation. When you have achieved a truly synergistic marketing communications system, the total outcome will be greater than if each individual component worked independently of each other.
To enhance synergy, you have to look beyond just the basic communications tools and explore other levels of integration. They include Vertical, Horizontal, External, Internal, and Data integration. Here is how they help to strengthen Integrated Communications.
Vertical Integration occurs when marketing and communications objectives are in alignment with your company’s higher level objectives and missions.
Horizontal Integration means incorporating objectives across various business functions and the marketing mix. This means production, communication, distribution and finance should work hand-in-hand and be aware of what messages their actions and decisions send to customers.
Data Integration enables advertising, sales, direct mails and other similar departments to help each other out. To achieve data integration, what you can do is employ a marketing information system that collects and communicates pertinent data across various departments.
Internal Integration focuses on keeping all staff motivated and up to date with regard to new developments in service standards, corporate identities, advertisements, strategic partners, etc.
External Integration, on the other hand, requires that the company work closely with external partners such as advertising and PR agencies in order to deliver a single, streamlined, cohesive and integrated solution.
For many small businesses, marketing communications planning involves little more than assessing how much the firm can afford to spend, allocating it across some media and then checking for improvements in sales levels. The main benefit of a well-planned marketing communications campaign is it avoids wasting valuable company resources.
The process begins by looking at your company’s overall marketing strategy, your positioning strategy and your intended target audience.
Answer these questions:
- What are you trying to achieve in the marketplace?
- What role does marketing communications play?
If you are trying to reposition your brand or change consumer attitudes, then advertising is likely to play an important role in your campaign, but it must be integrated with the other marketing mix elements. Objectives need to be set for the IMC campaign—they must be measurable.
Only after you have completed this stage should you begin to think about what you are going to say and how and where you are going to say it (the promotional mix message). A budget for the campaign needs to be determined. Once you got the campaign running, it is of paramount importance that you keep a close watch for any changes on your budget needs and evaluate how effective your current budget is in accomplishing what you want.
Here are the key promotional mix tools you will need in your campaign:
- Personal selling
- Direct marketing
- Internet marketing
- Sales promotion
Advertising is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to continue or take some new action. The desired result, in general, is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering. Advertising can also work to reassure employees and other stakeholders that a company is viable or successful.
- Aids the sales effort by legitimizing your brand or products
- Develops awareness by reaching a wide audience quickly
- Advertising’s repetitive nature means a concept can be effectively communicated, resulting in powerful brand positioning
- Impersonal. It lacks the flexibility required to address questions or inquiries
- Minimal and restricted capability to close a sale
Personal selling is oral communication with prospective buyers with the intention of making a sale. It is one of the oldest forms of promotion, and involves the use of a sales force to support a push strategy (encouraging intermediaries to buy the product) or a pull strategy (where the role of the sales force may be limited to supporting retailers and providing after-sales service).
- Interactive. It’s a two-way communication process that allows the sales team to respond directly and promptly to customer questions and concerns
- Adaptable. The sales message can be customized to meet the needs of the customer
- Good way of getting across large amounts of technical or complex product information
- Provides an opportunity to build good long-term relationships because of its personal nature.
- Provides the opportunity to close the sale
- Sales calls are costly
- The face-to-face sales meeting gives the sales force chance to demonstrate the product
We’ve come to the end of Part 1. In Part 2, we will continue with a discussion on direct marketing, and how to leverage this approach to your best advantage.