Friday, May 21, 2010

Integrated Marketing Communications

In my continued efforts to learn about the advertising industry, I read a great textbook called Advertising and Promotion, An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. There are far too many topics to summarize here, so I'll cover my main take-aways.

The book covered the integrated marketing planning process and aspects of the promotional mix, including: advertising, direct marketing, interactive and internet marketing, sales promotion, publicity and public relations, and personal selling. The book was well-written, interesting, and included up-to-date anecdotes and stories. It definitely reinforced much of what I learned in brand management and other marketing classes, particularly the marketing planning process. It was a great overview text.

A couple of the things I found most interesting (major take-aways):
  • Companies spend an unbelievable amount on advertising and promotion. If you add it all up, companies spend in excess of $1 trillion. U.S. media expenditures alone exceed $500B (as of 2009 it was $504B).
  • Despite the fragmentation of media, the majority of spending is still done on television (38%) in the U.S. Advertisers still feel that the combination of visual and auditory experience that can be delivered in that medium conveys their message the best. But the internet is fast growing, now having about 9.5% ($48B) in spending. Much of those gains are coming at the expense of newspapers (26%) and magazines (12%) and to a lesser extent radio (7.8%).
  • Targeting has become both easier and more difficult. With the fragmentation of media, there are more avenues for marketers to reach niche segments (e.g. think of all the niche cable TV channels available now compared to the three or four networks available 30 years ago). But, that also makes the job more challenging for marketers. You can target down to specific DMA's via TV, radio, and even the internet (via location). But its the media buyers that have to figure out what to buy where. It requires media buyers to deal with a lot of information. This is where many of the demand-side platforms are coming in like Invite Media (just acquired by Google), Lucid Media (who just raised $4.5M), or Marin Software (just raised $11M).
  • Measurement is incredibly imprecise. Measurement systems like Nielsen or Arbitron leave a lot to be desired and many marketers debate what should be measured in the first place - exposure, recall, recognition, purchase intent, etc. There are a variety of tests that can be done to help refine messages and media selection (e.g. both laboratory and field methods), but measuring efficacy is pretty difficult. How many exposures are necessary? Are you reaching your target audience? Which media work best? Best practice is to measure based on your objectives, use multiple measures, use a consumer response model, and use both pre- and post-tests.
There is a lot of information available on measurement out there worth looking into more. Particularly on the internet and interactive side. Here's a list to follow-up:
  • www.iab.net - Consortium of advertisers and providers outline guidelines and definitions of measurements for interactive media.
  • Sources of measurement data:
  • - Arbitron
  • - MRI and SMRB
  • - Ad analyzer
  • - Audit Bureau of Circulations
  • - Interactive Advertising Bureau
  • - eMarketer
  • - Nielsen Net Ratings
  • - Jupiter Research

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