Since the advent of social media, professional communicators have had to collaborate in order to engage audiences, promote products and ultimately, make a profit for their enterprise.
Today, integrated marketing communications is the go-to PR practice for large enterprises operating in a global and often frenzied market, and can make all the difference to campaign success.
What is IMC and why is it important?
Integrated Marketing Communications – commonly referred to as IMC – is a cooperative communications framework merging PR, marketing, and other sales strategies in order to optimise and improve a brand’s overall message.
Not only is it beneficial to consumer engagement and client relations, but it also ensures branded messages remain consistent across multiple platforms – including advertising, print media, social media and internal communications like newsletters and other in-house publications.
Before PR professionals can implement a successful IMC strategy, however, they need to master some of the key skills marketers use every day – including research and data analysis, competitor analysis, content marketing as well as social media marketing.
With a marketer’s skillset and an appreciation for the work their marketing counterparts do every day, PR professionals will be able to implement new and integrated strategies in order to boost the profitability of their brand or enterprise.
Research and data analysis
Research and data analysis skills enable you to explore different markets, examine audiences, and identify industry or consumer trends before your campaign or product goes to market. For marketing professionals, research is crucial because it lays the foundations for large claims.
To keep up with your marketing team, you’ll need to learn how to dig deep into data and other resources in order to find insights relevant to your brand. While most research starts with a list of links from a search engine, don’t be afraid to delve further into online libraries as well as Government databases and reports. There’s a sea of information online, and having the ability to find relevant data will pay huge dividends later on.
The ability to monitor, measure and analyse competitor activity are other key marketing skills you’ll want to develop for a successful campaign.
As a PR professional, you should already know your competitor’s media strengths and share-of-voice. However, you’ll also want to track your competitor’s marketing and advertising activity to know as much about their communications strategy as possible.
To do this, you’ll need to examine their previous campaigns and other promotional activity – including on and offline ads, eDMs as well as industry events. In time, you’ll begin to notice trends and behaviours, which you can then use to your advantage.
The ability to create a variety of content suitable for a range of audiences is something PR professionals do every day. In a marketing context, this is referred to as content marketing or content creation, and not only includes copy, but also visuals, graphics and videography.
To extend your content creation skills – and be on par with your marketing counterparts – you’ll need to master the craft of photography, videography and graphic design, or at the very least understand how these elements work alongside copy to deliver a message.
Social Media Marketing
Today, the ability to create content, measure campaigns and gather insights on social media is crucial to brand success. Once you’ve mastered the skills associated with content marketing, you’ll need to learn how to effectively deliver this content via social media, and then monitor your activity to report your findings to the C-suite.
Take some time to learn each social platform’s algorithm and find out how to make the most of organic – or unsponsored – content. You can also use monitoring software like Meltwater to track online conversations, industry trends and competitor activity in real-time – building insights into how your message is being received and how you stack up against your competitors.
With these skills, and an understanding of how your marketing team operates, you’ll be able to implement an integrated communications framework within your organisation and build successful campaigns that not only engage consumers, but drive results.
About the author:
Mimrah Mahmood is the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, where he helps numerous organisations break down media data (social, print and other), to create meaningful insights; build progressive and scientific frameworks to track efforts in PR and marketing; build road-maps to improve communications plans; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is a proud advocate of better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications. You can connect with Mimrah on LinkedIn
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