5 Jun 2012

Marketing 101: Capturing Consumers Attention – An Integrated Approach

Three words: Integrated Marketing Communications 

The average attention span at present is 5 minutes long; 10 years ago it was 12 
minutes. That is a drastic change. In this day and age it is a challenge to keep 
consumers attention due to the distractions that are present on a daily basis. 
Information is compact sized and easy to access with the help of the internet and 
social media, in a way making it easy for advertisers to put out messages, however at 
the same time making it harder to actually deliver the message to the consumer at the 
other end and change their behaviour to a positive action towards the brand, as so 
many similar messages are being broadcasted on an hourly basis. The solution 
however, is not as complicated as it may seem; Integrated Marketing 
Communications (IMC) opens the doors to the use of both traditional and non- 
traditional methods of communication, and is totally consumer centric. It is more than 
just a regular advertising campaign. It aims to focus on a more holistic approach to 
communication and focuses on consistency of the message as well as making full use 
of the complimentary media surrounding the message. It is important to cut through 
the noise by having a cut through strategy to enhance the message to make it crystal 
clear and consistent to stand out amongst competitors. 
Though IMC channels can include a combination of advertising, public relations, call 
centres, purchase points (to name a few), there is a huge shift in using more channels 
available on the World Wide Web. This is done by basing majority of the campaign 
around the new media landscape, as it is the cheapest and most effective method of 
communication, engagement and interaction. 
In order to engage the consumer, it is important that the campaign is interactive and 
consumer driven, these can be both controlled (website, online placements, media 
management) and through word of mouth (blogs, Twitter, comments on Facebook 
pages, press, managing PR). Word of mouth and creating ‘talk’ around a brand is a 
large aspect of IMC as it acts as a big influencer towards making the final purchase 
decision.  

Taking Apple’s success as an example; Apple focuses on a lot of different channels 
for communication and in this day and age, all the campaigns that Apple launches are 
IMC based. Apple’s iPod campaign is a great example of a cut through strategy - 
selling the product as an accessory rather than its price, whilst everyone else was busy 
focusing on the latter. Their campaign was set to target teens by using music that the 
age group listened to, as well as through the use of bright funky colours and visuals 
that the age group was attracted to. The iPod was portrayed as an ‘IT’ accessory. 
There was a hype created around the product, even though there were many similar 
devices out at the same time. The iPod campaign went viral, and was on many 
websites, as well as the Apple website which acted as the main platform for 
information with the ability to order online and personalise the device as well. Apple 
brought to the market more value, innovation, style and increased methods of 
interacting with digital media. Apple sent a consistent message that aligned with 
every aspect of their communication. In order to achieve this status of a fashion 
accessory and must have item, Apple teamed up with numerous companies to 
promote it excessively – they would partner with cell phone vendors, rock bands, 
radio broadcasters, Myspace, and Facebook, to name a few. With the growing 
popularity of Myspace, Apple set up profiles for the iPod where people could 
download free desktop backgrounds, screen savers, custom playlists which worked 
with iTunes Apple’s audio software that integrates with the iPod.  

Smaller businesses also leveraged on IMC, especially in the world of ecommerce. An 
example of this is Starlettos (www.starlettos.com.au), which is an accessory for 
women to fit on their stiletto tips for garden parties to prevent the tip from being 
ruined. They have a user friendly website, an interactive Facebook page where they 
ask participants to get involved and post pictures  - they have had great success and 
feedback with this and their campaigns have generated a lot of word of mouth and        
customer empowerment. They also sent their products out to bloggers who have 
blogged and tweeted about what a helpful product this is.  

Although IMC requires a lot of attention to detail and effort in ensuring that all 
channels and messages are perfectly linked together, the outcome is very beneficial. It 
creates a competitive advantage and boosts sales, increases customer empowerment 
and profit whilst saving money, time and stress. The idea is not to create noise and 
focus on every single communication channel present, which will in turn be unhelpful 
in delivering the message. Instead it follows a carefully thought out path and uses 
channels that will make the message stronger and more credible for consumers. 

By. A xxxx

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