A Baby Boomer with a Household Income between $75K and $100K Walks into a Bar…

A Baby Boomer with a Household Income between $75K and $100K Walks into a Bar…

No matter how hard I try, I cannot tell a good joke. I usually start to giggle before I reach the punch line. On the rare occasion when I don’t crack up, I forget the punch line altogether!

A number of factors need to align for an effective joke. First of all, your joke should actually be funny. Your delivery must have appropriate timing and tone. Your audience is also key factor too. Are they in a good mood? Will they actually “get” your joke?

It’s a combination of art and science — and when it works, you know right away!

Using Integrated Marketing Communications effectively is like telling a joke — because your message, voice, and ultimate success revolve around your audience.

What is Integrated Marketing Communications?

It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but as a recent graduate of the Master’s program in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, I’ll give you my definition. Integrated Marketing Communications is a data-driven, consumer-centric approach to marketing with one core goal: to communicate a consistent and compelling brand message to a target audience.

It always surprises me how much strategy is necessary for something as seemingly simple as communicating a singular idea to a specific audience. Here are the key steps:

1)     Identify your target audience. It can be tricky! First of all, you have a limited budget and it’s generally wise to use your budget to reach a carefully chosen segment. Knowing that, should you hone in on your dependable Loyalists? Or is there a better opportunity with your “Light” purchasers? Remember, your decision needs to be justified with data!

2)     Learn all you can about your target. What keeps them up at night? What motivates them? Are they left-handed? What makes them unique? Go deep here, and develop insights about what makes your target audience tick.

3)     Dig for insights. Once you really know your audience and their idiosyncrasies, is there an insight about them that you can connect to your brand? For example, maybe your target audience gets stressed during the holiday season. Design a campaign that communicates how your brand can help ease some of that stress.

4)     Connect the message and the media. Use what you’ve learned and execute your campaign across the channels that your target audience uses most. Most importantly, deliver a consistent message across all media. It’s easier said than done, trust me!

My last word of caution here: Even if you follow each step of the Integrated Marketing Communications process to a T, the connection still has the potential to miss.

Having said that, would I bet on an Integrated Marketing Communications approach over a Mass Communications strategy? Every. Single. Time.

When you tell a joke, you can’t be sure how it will go over until you’ve actually delivered it. But if you know it’s a great gag, you can deliver it well, and you tell it to the right audience, you can have the confidence that you’ll get big laughs.

The same is true with Integrated Marketing Communications. With the right message, the right media and the right audience, you can count on extraordinary results. And that’s no joke.

Elizabeth’s interest in research began at age 14 when her household was selected as a Nielsen Family. She’s been fascinated by ratings and measurement ever since!