Monday, November 17, 2008

Integrated Marketing Communications; Organizational Synergy (Blog 7)

Since I was a child, the idea of "working as a team" has always been a staple of my upbringing. In school, I was encouraged to work in group projects. In sports, I was encouraged to be a team player. Even when I got into trouble, it was usually in a group situation. Why then in the last century has this same concept not been practiced throughout every aspect of an organization? Instead, a lot of work cultures empower individualism and reward those who who are better than their fellow employee. To me, this runs counter-productive to our teachings as a society about the value of teamwork. However, numerous organizations have realized this fundamental flaw of individualism at numerous levels within their organization and adopted the concept of integrated marketing communications (IMC) accordingly.

IMC as defined by Laura Lake, a nine year marketing veteran, as "a management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation" ( ). This allows organizations to work more effectively and efficiently. Traditionally, in marketing you always hear about the "four p's" - product, price, place, and promotion. In a global market where online commerce and constant communication runs rampant this outdated concept simply does not cut it anymore. IMC, on the other hand, can be seen as the "four c's" - consumer, cost, convenience, and communiation ( ). No longer can organizations allow their departments to work individually, but rather they need to make them work concurrently.

What does this mean specifically for the PR professional? That's simple. It means that your job may have become more complex, but I believe that it is now made more rewarding. That's because instead of "stepping on the marketing team's toes" you are now part of that marketing team. You are an extension of their eyes, ears, and mouth. There is no more competition - your success is their own and vice versa. However, this does mean that the role of the PR practitioner is expanded. Being a part of an integrated team, there are more ropes to learn but less hoops to jump through. IMC provides a way for the PR professional to engage their public(s) in ways that before were never possible. IMC is synonymous with organizational synergy and a well tuned machine that runs runs more efficiently is more likely to succeed.

That's Business 101.

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