Integrated marketing refers to the combined total effort of a company to inform, persuade, or remind customers directly or indirectly about the products and brands of the company.
Marketing communications are carried out by a company using the following six modes of communications which constitute its communication mix.
- Advertising: This refers to any paid form of communication through a medium of mass communication.
- Sales promotion: This refers to any short term incentive to encourage trial purchase or any other specific customer action.
- Events and experiences:Company sponsored events or activities that create special experiences for the company.
- Public Relations and publicity: Like advertising this form of communication also makes use of mass media to spread information designed to promote and protect image and reputation of company and its product. However these are more in form of news and other non-paid communications.
- Direct marketing: Communicating with individual customers through means of one-to-one distance communication such as mail, telephone, e-mail and Internet selling system.
- Personal selling: Primarily face-to-face interaction with one or more prospective customer. This includes personal selling activities such as making presentations, handling objections, and closing sales.
The marketing communication system of most big companies incorporate all these types of communication methods. Take for example an automobile companies. They release advertisement in newspapers, special auto journals, TV and hoardings.
They also organize sales promotions campaigns in which customers are offered special deals such as reduced price or additional guarantee and free servicing for purchases made within a specified period. Auto companies also run program of demonstrating their products which encourage prospective customers to test drive the vehicles creating physical experience of driving their vehicles.
We also see so many articles and news items about auto companies and their products appearing in various mediums of mass communication. All efforts of a company to influence such communications constitutes their public relation and publicity program.
Auto companies frequently also engage in direct marketing, especially to convince their existing customer to use car servicing and facilities authorized or operated by the company.
The company also provides information about their products on company's Internet selling sites. These site enable the customer to choose and configure a product they want to buy, get information on the prices and available financing scheme, and contact information of nearest dealer able to supply the car.
Finally the auto companies have a large network of dealership that performs the personal selling function.