Online Considerations for Integrated Marketing Communications

      In the consideration of integrated marketing communications (IMC) there are myriad components, including the company’s mission and vision statements, traditional marketing philosophies, advertising, direct and digital marketing, sales and customer support, PR, trade shows, and the overall approach to corporate social responsibility (Wikipedia, 2015). It is best to reflect on the adage which states, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” when giving weight to which is most important, however. All components of IMC should be optimized throughout the implementation process in an effort to facilitate maximized desirable outcomes (Yeshin, 1999).

      Nevertheless, discussion of some of the highlights of IMC is warranted. This post will examine the process of online marketing, since it represents the most recent innovation in IMC.

      A prime consideration of any marketing plan is the focus on and understanding of the consumer, particularly what they may expect and desire when making purchases. Feedback is essential for an understanding of what factors may motivate individual customers during the purchasing process (Yeshin, 1999). Social media offers an unprecedented opportunity for consumers to voice their opinions in a simplified manner. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become destinations for both companies and buyers in this respect, since each offer easily facilitated conversation. Data mining is another benefit to participants, since so much information is readily available to both parties from within the portals.

      However, there is a downside to social media, that being unless it is used as intended, i.e. an interactive forum, it tends to do more harm than good. Responsibility must be taken by any company embracing use of the technology; this means responding to fan posts, and doing so in a timely manner.

      ‘Interactive’ indicates a two-way communication. As an example, during real world conversation a second party reacts to the initial statements made by the first, typically by making a statement or even asking a question. If the initiator is silent and says nothing, that person may then be perceived as ignoring the comments or questions, and considered acting rudely by doing so.

      The same is true in social media. If there is no company response to comments or questions posted within the forum, fans might feel ignored, and the resultant ill will that may be generated can be most damaging, causing more harm than good. A commitment to social media usage must be total and complete, including funding the resources necessary to provide professional staffing to monitor and respond on a consistent basis. Secondary to budget considerations, this apparently is greatly ignored by much of industry, and becomes problematic (Karr, 2014).

      Websites have additionally become a mainstay of online marketing. Visitors can discover products and services, gain a wide range of intelligence about general and specific information about the company, and make purchases directly from the site without need for traveling to traditional bricks and mortar stores. Companies know immediately how many potential and actual shoppers call upon the site, as well as attaining a wide range of customer demographic data (Schneider, 2011). This is a particular advancement over traditional methods of intelligence gathering, such as customer response surveys, since the understanding acquired is of a greater detail, as well as being more accurate.

      Disadvantages to online business must also be contemplated. Security and copyright issues give rise for concern. Since the Web is ubiquitous, the possibility of intellectual property theft is global. Hackers from around the world may find the business’s online presence to be an inviting target, and if so may reduce or even eliminate access by customers to the virtual storefront.

      Yet of critical concern is the targeted audience. Potential buyers may be flooded with advertisements which may decrease sensitivity to brands and their associated products and services. Optimized SEO is necessary to provide customers an easy way to find an online presence through search engines. While ready-made Websites are abundant, these may not correctly provide an appropriate brand image (O’Farrell, 2015).

      Blogs also offer furtherance in IMC by virtue of their interactivity. Companies can disseminate news about new and planned product offerings, social responsibility efforts, and so forth. Readers can leave comments which allow for the opportunity of conversation between both seller and buyer, giving consumers the opportunity to learn more about the company and the company insight into customer desires. This information may be shared across the social media, thus offering benefit again for all concerned (Schneider, 2011).

      Problems with blogs must also be recognized. They are often seen as substandard and effortless publicity maneuvers, demand relentless upkeep, distribute private information, and must be deemed credible. Content marketing endeavors must be managed routinely and can need resource funding to do so effectively (Corporate Blogging, 2010).

      Information dissemination is the raison d’etre of IMC. Online marketing efforts allow this procedure to be enabled as never before in the history of product and service promotion.

Works Cited

Corporate Blogging. (2010). Corporate Blogging: Advantages and Disadvantages of Business Blogging .
      Retrieved February 21, 2015, from Corporate Blogging:       of.html

Karr, D. (2014). Your Lack of Responsiveness is Destroying Your Social Media Strategy |       Marketing Tech
      Blog. Retrieved February 21, 2015, from Marketing Tech Blog:

Moutinho, L., & Chien, C. S. (2008). Problems in Marketing. Los Angeles: SAGE       Publications Ltd.

O’Farrell, R. (2015). The Disadvantages of Businesses on the Web | Retrieved       February 21,
      2015, from       web-4040.html

Schneider, G. P. (2011). Electronic Commerce. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Wikipedia. (2015). Integrated marketing communications – Wikipedia, the free       encyclopedia. Retrieved
      February 20, 2015, from Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia:

Yeshin, T. (1999). Integrated Marketing Communications. Jordan Hill, GBR: Routledge.

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What Social Media Needs Is A Few Good Heretics

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,

And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.
– S. Foss
The Calf-Path


Heretic [n. her-i-tik ] – anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine or principle.


Social media marketing is in desperate need of heretics. Far too many industry professionals follow along familiar trails of sameness. The biggest problem? A majority acceptance of the notion that social media education is unnecessary, or even detrimental.

Oh, goody. Stringer is on a rant about SM education again. What else is on?

Perhaps so, but frankly, I’ve grown both weary and tired to the point of exhaustion of the pundits and their endless, mindless litany of, “there is no need.” There is in fact great need. Consider:
•The range of salaries for social media marketing managers is $25K to $75K, with a median of $45K.
•The majority of those working in this field, 66%, are women, the most classically underserved demographic in terms of earnings.
•There are currently 3 graduate programs in social media available today, and one undergraduate program. All are available online.

Since it’s inception and until recently, social media marketing management has been captained by individuals of divergent backgrounds, none having been academically trained specifically. This has been necessary since until just a couple of years ago, there were no training programs available. This is not to say they haven’t produced high-quality output, nor behaved in anything less than the highest professional standards.

But adspend has trended ever increasingly upward, with high expectations to reach the double-digit billions of dollars within the next few years. This fact generates two important considerations:
1. Business can hardly be expected to invest such astronomical sums without a desire for standardized training in the field.
2. The resultant relative increase that can logically be anticipated in pay grade can scarcely be justified for the same reason.

Many decry the rationale for SMM education with claims that the field is changing too quickly. This statement is oxymoronic – it is because of the rapid changes occurring that makes the need for specifically degreed personnel so critical. Individuals educated with scientific methodology and cutting edge didactics are the best equipped to deal with these changes.

Let’s take another look at the most crucial factor, that of women being the majority of workers. Most of these are working moms, whose families are dependent on their sole support. A median salary of only $45,000 per year does little to alleviate the pressures of personal economic demand, with even less room for niceties such as an occasional nice dinner out, and forget about a vacation. Most already have an undergraduate degree, and all currently available advanced degree programs can be completed in 18 months. Funding is readily available in the form of student loans, which can be paid back in only a few years given the commiserate increase in earnings. All of the programs are delivered via the Web, allowing for attendance whenever there is an hour or so of free time, even if that is at the end of the day, just before bed.

To persist in stating there is no need for a formal SMM education, that the job can be done without it, only stymies the possibility that earnings will ever rise above a minimum. It is snacking on their own young. Everyone works hard, and for long hours, and the idea of putting something else to do on the daily schedule plate will understandably be met with groans and a jaundiced eye. Yet to stubbornly insist on following the calf-paths of those who shout there is no need is ludicrous.

Social media education is an established fact of life. It isn’t going away, and it isn’t a fad. It is the future of the industry. The time is now to either get on board the bus, or get run over by it.

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Bullmoosing The Social Marketplace

In today’s business world, effective social media management has become a cornerstone of successful marketing strategies and campaigns. Much attention is given by enterprise to an established presence on Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networking sites. Web 2.0 applications such as blogging and webinars are widely used to broadcast marketing content. eMail continues to prove itself an efficient operational method of individual targeting.

The benefits of social media to business are both myriad and well documented (Stewart, 2013). In her article, Stewart lists the number one advantage as being customer engagement; the ability to receive input directly from buyers. This sort of readily available marketing research is invaluable data, and is mined with minimal effort. Consumer participation and contributions may offer surgically precise insight into product and service desirability, with resulting increases in sales and customer satisfaction (Buyer Persona Institute, 2013).

Yet companies continue to ignore these leads in favor of outmoded customary methodologies, as has been indicated recently by the Occupy movement (Browne & Nutfall, 2013). This is a dynamic whose precedent can be traced back to the 1950’s, when corporate executives extensively believed they could dictate what the marketplace would buy. It was during that time cartoonist Al Capp, architect of the comic strip Li’l Abner, created a caricature named General Bashington T. Bullmoose, “the epitome of a mercenary, cold-blooded capitalist tyrant tycoon.” (Wikipedia, 2013)

Bullmoose’s admonition that, “What’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA,” a reflection of previous General Motors president Charles E. Wilson’s sentiments expressed in congressional testimony, only ever-so-slightly over exaggerates the nature of the problem of a refusal to listen to customer input over social media channels. It was as I was preparing to write this article that my wife, Annelle, astutely considered that the active verb tense describing this condition could be termed, “bullmoosing,” the social marketplace, which is to say ignoring the vital information that might very well spell out the difference between success and failure for many marketing ventures.

Bullmoosing is carried out at the peril of companies. The recent lessons illustrated by angry Middle East protestors demonstrate the danger of a refusal to deliberate the wishes of constituents (Greenfield & Braun, 2013). While it is doubtful consumers will take the streets in violent demonstration, they can and will refuse to support heavily funded marketing campaigns, which in the end can spell disaster for bottom line profits and investment returns.

Recent research suggests billions are being spent in social media advertising dollars, positioning marketing messages in channels such as Facebook and Twitter (Palermo, 2013). Over 88,000 open social media management positions are currently being listed on Websites (SimplyHired, 2013). In light of such heavy speculations, bullmoosing targeted audiences seems to make little, if any, sense.

In today’s business world, effective social media management has become a cornerstone of successful marketing strategies and campaigns. Yet the predilection to continue the bullmoosing of the social marketplace stands as an ongoing threat to the future of marketing efforts for many companies.

Works Cited

Browne, J., & Nutfall, R. (2013, December 4). Beyond corporate social responsibility: Integrated external engagement | McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from McKinsey & Company:
Buyer Persona Institute. (2013, December 4). What is a Buyer Persona? | Buyer Persona Institute. Retrieved from Buyer Persona Institute:
Greenfield, D., & Braun, B. (2013, December 4). Jordan Ignores Domestic Discontent at its Own Peril. Retrieved from Atlantic Council:
Palermo, E. (2013, December 4). Social Media Advertising Budgets Rise in 2013. Retrieved from Business News Daily:
SimplyHired. (2013, December 4). Social Media Manager Jobs | Job Search with SimplyHired. Retrieved from SimplyHired:
Stewart, K. (2013, December 4). Top 5 ways your company can benefit from social media – The Business Journals. Retrieved from The Business Journals:
Wikipedia. (2013, December 4). Li’l Abner – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:’l_Abner

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Coming soon!

Hello readers,

This is just a note to apologize for the lack of posts for a while. I’ve spent almost all of my time and energies for the past couple of years tightly focused on attempting to (finally) finish my undergrad degree. Sadly, this blog, as well as much of the bulk of the Grannelle social media campaign (e.g. Twitter), has suffered from neglect as a result.

However, I am happy to report that I’m finally close to doing having accomplished the Herculean task of matriculation. With a bit of luck, I’ll earn a BS in Marketing Management by the end of 2013. While my plans are to enter grad school (MBA in Internet Marketing) soon after, I also hope to once again start my blogging efforts at that time.

I wish to thank the occasional readers that have continued to stop by, and I look forward to publishing new content about the ever evolving fields of social media and other Web 2.0 technologies as they relate to professional marketing.

Stay tuned!

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