Integrated Marketing Communications - New Channel of Marketing

Integrated Marketing Communications - New Channel of Marketing

Integrated Marketing Communications well known as IMC is a strategic marketing process specifically designed to ensure that all campaigns like paid advertising, public relations, promotion, owned assets, and social media are unified across all channels to execute the specific goals. Integrated Marketing Communications, IMC, is not a new philosophy, rather a newly relied on requirement. As colleges and universities are coming into their reporting and evaluation phases of their IMC plans they should start to see the pay-offs (some measurable, others not) of the commitment and success of their branding campaigns. As the web continues to become a higher priority, branding will be stretched to accommodate new avenues (social networks, You Tube videos, Google Earth, etc...). Support will be needed to facilitate these opportunities. Marketing + Math + Technology: Data quality, quantity and accessibility mean that math is everywhere. Leaders are more likely to have the metrics and capabilities to judge the effects of new media.

Analytics will determine the success of marketing strategies. These tools are becoming easier to use and more adaptable. CRM technologies are focusing on analytics out-of-the-box in addition to customizable reports. Free tools, such as Google Analytics and the upcoming Microsoft Analytics package, will support web-based strategies. Online surveys and other volunteer-driven measurement applications will increase in reliance. Marketers will not only need to determine the message, they will also have to determine how to measure the effectiveness. The Network Effect: Digital media requires a far higher level of collaboration and coordination across all players. Nearly 60% of survey respondents believe creative, strategic and media capabilities should be rebounded--but there is no consensus as to which type of agency should lead.

Many campuses have a decentralized web development structure. One area runs the main pages and each department is in charge of their own domain. At times this can be efficient (imagine one department running every site), but it also opens up the door for individual, competing marketing messages. Collaboration amongst campus constituents encourages stronger branding. It also allows the "experts" of each department an opportunity to contribute his or her resources. Work together and for one another.

Showing off your campus

Each campus marketer has an arsenal of great campus photos. These usually include panoramic views of the campus in early fall, when all the leaves have turned colors or a nice spring day with flowers in bloom.

Although these photos have their place, they aren't real. They are staged, taken at the right time with the sun in the right place. They involve the correct mix of students playing Frisbee, or reading under the perfect tree.

In today's world of user-generated content, our prospective students want the "real" campus photos. These are the photos taken by real students, showing real student activities.

I know what you are saying, we have these in our student blogs. We're good to go. And you're correct, this is a great place for the photos. But do they make for a compelling tour of campus?

A few photos of campus with real students is great, but can you piece them together to make a virtual tour? Many universities have created great online campus maps. Many of these maps are 3D images, with interactive buildings — click on the buildings and a popup shows you a "staged" photo with a description.

However, a more powerful option would be a way to combine real student photos with the campus map, and let prospective students check it out. That's what Google is trying to do with the geotagging features built into Picasa, Google Earth and Google Street View. And these tools are becoming easier to use.

Check out This site takes advantage of the Google APIs to geotag user-generated panoramic photos. The photos are displayed in Flash, a better alternative to Quicktime VR. Imagine your campus online in panoramic view, a great project for current photography students. Showing this off to potential students at the beginning stages of their search process would be an excellent way to bring your campus to them.

Or you could geotag your own photos and upload them to Panoramio so other can see the campus through Google Earth.

The three keys are: student-generated photos, mapped photos (for future-proofing, use geotagging) and an interface available everywhere (your site, or a mapping site).

Try it out, the possibilities are endless. If you have done something like this on your campus, let me know by leaving a comment. I would love to check it out.