A communication campaign is a large and complex exercise that involves the cooperation of all decision makers in an organization. The communication campaign aims at attaining the set objectives of an organization. It employs an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) technique that focuses on Public Relations and Social Media Optimization. The communication campaign co-ordinates all product promotional measures such as advertisement and sales promotions (Armstrong & Kotler, 2013). The promotional measures reinforce each other to provide consistency, clarity and a visible impact on the sales.
Generally, the communication campaign focuses on scoring the set objective, reaching the right audience, performing the necessary actions, and evaluating the success of the campaign. Therefore, this paper gives a detailed analysis of the IMC concepts, and thereafter, creates and plans a communication campaign for promoting the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding.
Concepts of the Integrated Market Communication (IMC)
An integrated Market communication is an approach that ensures unification of all communication channels within an organization (Duncan & Clarke, 2006). Various forms of IMC include data integration, vertical IMC, horizontal IMC, external IMC, and internal IMC. Horizontal IMC occurs across different departments of an organization. (Trattner & Kappe, 2013). The sales department, mailing department, and the advertising department share data, thus promoting data integration. Vertical integration ensures co-ordination of communication between the highly ranked managers and the lowly ranked employees. Internal integration ensures that all employees are aware of product developments, advertisement developments, strategy developments and any new service standards (Kerr, 2012). External integration allows close incorporation external partners who promote and advertise products and services.
Business and Marketing Techniques
An integrated market communication merges different aspects of business and marketing techniques. It merges the inside activities that determine the product with the outside activities that influence sales. A critical analysis of the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding would involve studying the following marketing techniques.
- Organizational culture: The organizational culture of Collina d’Oro Hotel focuses on attaining the set mission and vision of being the most outstanding hotel. To achieve this vision, communication, attitude, and behaviors of the employees matter greatly. Well-behaved employees who are willing to serve customers to their satisfaction raise the standards of the hotel and make it gain a competitive advantage over its competitors.
- Market mix strategy: Market mix strategy of Collina d’Oro Hotel would consider the product, price, promotion, and place. Consideration of the product means taking care of all the visible aspects of the product. The quality, packaging, the brand, size, and the different varieties of the product greatly influence the decision of the customers (Fill, 2013). The Collina d’Oro Hotel must ensure that its products are unique, quality, packaged in the right size and in the most attractive way to attain the trust of the customer (Muntinga, Moorman, & Smit, 2011). Pricing is a very important aspect of consideration, where, Collina d’Oro Hotel should set reasonable prices for their commodities. Promotions are also important aspects in publicizing the product. The hotel could organize contests occasionally, offer free samples, lunch coupons, discounts, and allowances. The place considers the distribution aspects of the product and services. Collina d’Oro Hotel could have customers desiring their products and hotel services elsewhere. The Collina d’Oro Hotel should define their coverage area.
- Advertisement: Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding would focus on mass advertisement using the radio or television. Outdoor advertising would be in form of billboards while online advertising should involve preparing a well-organized website for the hotel. Online marketing plays a crucial role in promoting sells and creating new customers. E-commerce and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), email, and mobile marketing are the best advertisement and marketing opportunities for Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding.
- Corporate social responsibility: Other than all the mentioned marketing strategies, the Collina d’Oro Hotel has to take part in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Involvement in charitable events, volunteer activities, and charitable activities is one way that the public will identify its CSR. It is one way of upgrading public relations and winning the trust of customers.
Benefits and Opportunities of Integrated Market Communication
The integrated market communication has various benefits and limitations. Some of the benefits that would offer opportunities for Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding include:
- Creation of a competitive advantage: As discussed before, IMS fosters the organizational culture aspect in a business. A set of hardworking, well-behaved, and disciplined employees in a hotel will serve customers to their satisfaction and win their loyalty to the hotel. This creates a strong competitive advantage.
- Boosted sales: Employment of the product mix strategy of setting reasonable prices, having promotions, and selling quality products wherever required will boost sales, thus high profits.
- Creation of loyal bond with customers: IMC fosters effective communication with customers. Through this, and other specialized services, the hotel builds a strong relationship with customers. This exercise consolidates the image of the hotel and creates a loyal bond with the customers.
- Boosted web advertisement: With a website, the Collina d’Oro Hotel would share images, describe their products and services, and encourage comments. Positive comments stretch across users thus creating an avenue of awareness and arousal for more customers. The customers would desire to visit the hotel and experience their products and services. The web enables customers to obtain timely information of the promotions, special offers, new adjustments, and post their orders (Chiang & Chung-Hsien, 2011). This process promotes consistency and credibility of communication between the hotel and the customers.
Limitations of IMC
Any exercise has some limitations. The limitations of the IMC exercise include:
- Confusing messages: Confusion could occur and a customer would receive un-integrated message. The confusion would lead to anxiety and frustration. Even though it could be a mere mistake, customers would start distrusting the hotel. A misquotation of a price would bring in distrusts while a misquoted date brings in confusion and frustration.
- Resistant to change: The employees and customers could be resistant to embrace change leading to conflicts. Vertical integration could be difficult because top managers would feel obsessed with other chores other than keeping in touch with low-scaled employees. Battles may arise between managers with self-interests who resist the proposal of having their decisions influenced or determined by another person, which lead to internal power battles.
- Restricted creativity: The IMC regulations can cancel out promotions that do not meet the required standards. However, some of the promotions that do not meet the IMC standards would help greatly in improving the marketing and communication strategy. The IMC regulations could only embrace rampant creativity while disregarding slow creativity, which is equally important.
- Conflict of short term and long-term objectives: As IMC is sensitive time, short-term sales promotion action would conflict with a long-term advertisement campaign intended to nurture a brand for a longer period. In the same way, a short-term pricing strategy would conflict with a long-term market mix strategy.
- Lack of expertise skills in IMC: Many organizations lack necessary skills to embrace an effective IMC. The application of insufficient knowledge has negligible impact on improvement of sales. The managers would thus feel like IMC is not effective and thus disregard it. The lack of comprehensive knowledge, integrated with ignorance, and lack of commitment makes managers conclude that IMC is very ineffective.
The Communication Campaign Plan
For an effective IMC, it is necessary to create and plan a communication campaign. Creating and planning a communication campaign is a tactical exercise that considers the objective of the campaign, the target audience, the necessary communication channels, timing, and evaluation of success among other aspects. According to Evans (2010), the set objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and they should occur within a specified time (SMART). The communication campaign for the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding summarizes as below.
- Objective: The main objective of the communication campaign is to make the target audience aware of the existence of the Collina d’Oro Hotel. The campaign aims at delivering the message that the Collina d’Oro Hotel is one of the best hotels in town, which provides quality products and services at a reasonable price at the customers’ place of choice.
- Target audience: The Collina d’Oro Hotel targets the whole population in town, with special focus on offices in town. While the entire population would be one-time customers, the office workers turn out to be loyal customers who need quality products and services on a daily basis.
- Communication tools: The Collina d’Oro Hotel employs media relations, special publications, publicity, and direct communication. The media relations, press releases, radio call shows, the specialized magazines and newspaper will presents a PR campaign (Michael & Hensel, 2010). Very attractive leaflets showing the Collina d’Oro Hotel, its surrounding, the products and services will be hand delivered to the target audience by marketing agents. Creation of the website for the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding allows interested customers to access all the necessary information about the hotel, an exercise that aims at reaching all potential customers. Finally, conferences, visits to trade fairs and public events will foster direct communication about the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding.
Communication Campaign Schedule
As stated, timing is a very important aspect and the Collina d’Oro Hotel communication campaign will subdivide its activities into four stages, namely, the preparatory stage, the introductory stage, the final stage, and the post-introductory stage.
- Preparatory stage: This stage will take a period of six months. The main activities will include launching of the campaign, provision of information concerning the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding and setting up the hotel website.
- Introductory stage: This stage will take a period of nine months. The main activities will comprise educational and informative procedures.
- Final stage: This final stage will take three months and will comprise of a variety of activities including an informative campaign to inform the public of the Collina d’Oro Hotel and its surrounding, its products and services, and promotional activities of the products and services.
- Post-introduction stage: This stage takes six months and the effects of the communication campaign are analyzed. An increase in the number of customers increases the demand for the Collina d’Oro Hotel products and services, and thus implies that the communication campaign is worthwhile. Otherwise, if the sales remain at the same level, with no new stream of customers, it means that the communication campaign is ineffective.
The campaign and partners involved
The whole campaign would take approximately two years. The various procedures described in each stage will aim at promoting public awareness. The main participants will comprise of major stakeholders of the company, donors, internal and external managers, and all employees. If the communication campaign turns to be effective, more of the same campaign will follow afterwards. However, if it the campaign turns sour, the associated problems are identified and immediate action taken.
Understanding the benefits associated with the change is the first step of embracing a change. Managers should understand all the benefits on IMC. Thereafter, simple integration should start from very simple steps of encouraging and cultivating the spirit of integration. The low-scaled employees should learn to develop a way of communicating freely with bosses. On the other hand, bosses should humble themselves and listen to low-scaled employees.
Integrated communication aims at minimizing the stresses that customers undergo to obtain a product and service. The Collina d’Oro Hotel should ensure that its customers are as comfortable as possible. A 24-hour customer care service would help in reducing such stresses (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). Integrated market communication is a tedious exercise, but its advantages outweigh the tediousness. Thus, IMC is worthwhile in every business, especially in the hotel industry.
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