IMC — alive and well in the new age of b2b marketing

I’ve been hearing some discussion recently among CMOs that b2b integrated marketing communications (IMC) is no longer as relevant as it used to be.

That it‘s great for communicating to prospects at the top end of the sales funnel (creating awareness for your brand.) But when it comes to helping sales sell, it doesn’t function as well at the bottom part of the proverbial funnel.

Flip the funnel

Perhaps one reason for this is our communications channels are not at all what they used to be. And at the same time, messages, brand promises and even brands themselves are being segmented, fragmented and pulverized until they disappear. All because there are now more choices for b2b customers and prospects to get information than there are coffee nomenclatures at Starbucks.

I don’t believe for one minute that IMC in b2b is less relevant today than it was just a few short years ago. In fact, with the plethora of new communications channels, marketing automation tools, the need to prove ROI and the need to get sales and marketing working together, its relevancy is stronger than ever.

Expand the funnel

It seems to me that the big challenge for CMOs today is actually taking advantage of and utilizing an expanded IMC approach that takes in every contact point along the sales path, instead of allowing the different marketing groups in their organization, their agencies and other communications vendors to act independently and in silos.

All communications – from introducing the brand to providing sales with the communications tools to help close the sale to ongoing customer communications needs tight integration.

This shifting marketing world creates all sorts of opportunities for IMC to play a much more effective and efficient role in delivering measurable business results, whether you implement automation technologies or not.

Redefine and remake the funnel

Tightly integrated IMC can move your prospects through each stage of the purchase process and beyond to not only create sales, new customers, more profitable relationships, but also brand advocates.

True integrated marketing communications is a process of dialogue, interaction and learning with the purpose of providing value to customers and prospects and cultivating long-term, reciprocal relationships with them once they have come out the bottom end of the sales funnel.

At least that’s what I think.

Check out the Mobium e-Book Goosing for more information on why IMC is critical in today’s highly fragmented and over-saturated media channel world.

Photo credit:

flickr.com/photos/haynes

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