The IMC Plan
An IMC plan is a blueprint of the complete marketing communications program for a brand. It is a formal document that evaluates the background of the brand and presents a set of guidelines and an action program for the advertising and promotions campaign. The planning model is shown in Figure 1-4 in the text. The IMC plan for this project will be for the Irish market and will cover one calendar year.
The Client and the Product
The product may be a new product or service, or an existing brand with an established track record. Each group is required to submit a list of three products or services it would like to work on in our first seminar, and we will agree your final selection.
Table of Contents
A short statement (maximum: one-half page) that presents the basic principles underlying the approach used in attacking this assignment. The agency philosophy statement should clearly indicate the standards and beliefs that guide the agency in its work.
A cogent summary (maximum: two pages) of exactly what your IMC plan involves. Among the items to include are:
- Major target audiences
- Time period of the plan
- Campaign objectives
- Campaign theme/slogan
- Overall budget total
- Budget breakdown (dollars and percentages) by each major IMC element and each medium
- Summary of media used (Media flowchart)
- Evaluation program
The Executive Summary may be arranged in any fashion, but it has to pack a wallop. Remember, the basic purpose of the Executive Summary is to inform top officials at the client organization exactly what you are proposing -- in one or two pages. Be precise. Be complete. Organizing the Executive Summary (as well as other sections of the promotion campaign plan) in a bullet-type format is one effective way to present your material.
Review of Marketing Plan
A description of the industry in which your product competes, its size, growth, current trends and developments, and any key factors necessary for an understanding of the setting. Also, a snapshot of your company, including a very brief history, the firm`s present status, product lines, sales history, target markets, current marketing mix, and other factors making the company what it is today.
Product Review/Buyer Analysis
A description of the product or service that is the focus of your campaign plan. Emphasis should be on the product`s sales history, market share, strengths, weaknesses, key benefits, brand image, positioning, perceptual map and other factors important for an understanding of the product`s or service`s performance and place among its category competitors. In addition, there should be identification of the various market segments and the user profile for the product, as well as a description of the consumer decision process for the product and the important factors influencing brand selection. Who buys the product or service? Who is the decider? The influencer? What are the demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioural factors that influence the buying decision? Is buying behaviour characterized by extended or limited problem solving? Is the product/brand a high-involvement or low-involvement purchase? In short, what are the key factors that influence buyer behaviour for this product or service?
Promotional Program Situation Analysis
Review of Existing/Past Programs
- Detailed Review of Previous and Current Promotion Programs for the Product or Service, including Budgets, Promotion Mix, Share of Voice, Message Strategies, and Media Strategies
Identification of the important direct and indirect competitors for the product. For each competitor, focus should be on factors such as sales, market share, growth, key benefits, positioning, advertising and promotion budget, promotion program mix, message and media strategies, and an overall assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
A SWOT summarises the environment in terms of strengths, weaknesses (internal), and opportunities, threats (external). An evaluation of the SWOT provides the basis for strategy development.
Marketing goals are what are to be accomplished by the overall marketing program. The situation analysis is the foundation for the marketing goals. They are defined in terms of one or some combination of the following:
· Sales Volume
· Market Share
· Sales Revenue
· Return on Investment
Marketing goals and communications objectives are not the same. Marketing goals establish a framework for the determination of communications objectives.
Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
Which of the market segments will be the target market for this campaign? What will be our positioning strategy?
Communications Objectives & Budget Request
What are the objectives of our campaign as they relate to brand awareness, knowledge and interest, favorable attitudes and image, and purchase intentions?
· Awareness Objectives : used when most of the target audience is unaware of the product, service or brand or when awareness levels need to be increased
· Knowledge Objectives : used when the target audience has awareness, but knows little beyond that
· Liking Objectives : used when the target audience knows the company and its product, but does not look favorably on it
· Preference Objectives : used when the target audience is aware of the product, knows about it, and likes it – but does not prefer it to other brands
· Conviction Objectives : used when the target audience may prefer the product but is not convinced that it is the best choice for them
· Purchase (i.e., Action ) Objectives : used when the target audience has conviction but still hasn`t purchased the product
( You may choose to use another hierarchy discussed in the text if it better fits the needs of your client .)
Campaign Objectives ()
· increase awareness among golfers by 10% that Crackerjack irons have the highest consumer satisfaction ratings of all major brands, in a three-month time period
· increase trial of Crackerjack irons among golfers 35-49 by 3% in three-month time period
· create the understanding among 5% of target audience that Crackerjack`s Big Blaster driver allows the golfer to hit the ball farther with greater accuracy
How much money do we need to spend to achieve our campaign objectives? What budgeting method will be employed? (The budget number at this point is a single aggregate figure, not broken down by individual promotion program element.)
Integrated Marketing Communications Program
Identification of the major program elements of the IMC campaign, the relative emphasis to be placed on each (including a tentative percentage allocation of the budget), the specific objectives for each element, and the rationale for the recommended mix. Attention should be given to the objectives of the advertising, sales promotion, public relations, Internet/interactive, direct marketing, and personal selling components of the IMC campaign.
Specific Media Objectives/Mix
Identification of the reach, frequency, and message weights sought. What will be the geographical allocation of the media budget and why? Which media will be used and why? What scheduling pattern will be employed? All of this should be accompanied by a concise media rationale statement as to the potential efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed media plan. A media plan flow chart should be included.
Measuring IMC Program Effectiveness
Identification of the particulars of the monitoring, evaluation, and control efforts that will be employed to appraise the effectiveness of all IMC program elements used. What is to be tested? When are the tests to occur? Where? Explain how the testing is to take place, including the specific methods and techniques to be used.
This section is a summary of all costs of the campaign (e.g., media, production, sales promotion, direct marketing, public relations, sponsorship, endorsements, measurement and evaluation expenditures, and more). The budget should show both dollar and percent-of-total expenditures.
Summary of key dates for various activities (e.g., date for client approval of creative strategy, dates for production materials, dates for tracking studies).
In most cases, this is a very important section of the plan. It will include information and material which have potential value to your client and which have not been fully presented in the text of your plan. Examples: industry data, market data, questionnaires, competitors` advertisements. This section can be a valuable resource for your client.