Mini-MBA: Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Curriculum

The IMC Imperative

In this digital age, various media types have burst onto the scene to provide more cost-effective and targeted methods to engage with audiences. Efficient and effective delivery of consistent and powerful brand messages requires inter-organization and cross-platform alignment. This session will establish why IMC should not be considered an option, but an imperative.

Through thought-provoking lecture, interactive discussion, and case study examples, participants will gain an understanding of why IMC is critical to future success. This module will also provide an overview of the concepts that will be delivered throughout the course.

Key Takeaways:

  • How the changing media landscape is impacting marketing
  • Strategic platforms and aligning the marketing mix
  • Why no channel or department lives in a silo
  • Business planning and organizational structure implications
  • The importance and the necessity for having an integrated marketing communications plan
  • Tying marketing strategy to business objectives

Market Research

As business professionals seek to gather consumer insight and market intelligence within a fragmented media environment, the critical challenge becomes how to balance traditional metrics with contemporary analytics.

Quantitative research [QT] asks the questions and qualitative research [QL] questions the answers. Good business decisions need both types of metrics to determine not only the value of products, ideas, and services, but also which factors pull consumers toward – or push them away from – media, social media, products, ideas, and services.

Key Takeaways:

  • Assessing the need, roles and opportunity of research within your organization
  • Types of QT and QL research methods, and when to apply them
  • Media, new media, and marketing platform research tools for tracking and analysis
  • The specifics of planning for QL research and the power of effective questions
  • How research informs strategic decision-making, as evidenced through case studies

The Communications Development Process

Today’s marketing executives have several tools in their arsenals to develop a comprehensive integrated marketing communications strategy. But what is the most effective way to develop that strategy?

Through exploration of best practices in strategic planning, this module will enable participants to generate a compelling, relevant brand strategy, outline content guidelines/requirements, and create processes that result in the delivery of consistent and cohesive marketing tactics.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to develop and utilize various types of briefs (including brand strategy, digital marketing, social marketing, and channel-specific briefs)
  • Core principles of brand leadership and tips for staying “on brand”
  • Tools to ensure that the various tactics are executed efficiently and effectively across multiple channels

Getting the Most from Your Media Budget

How can you insure that you’re maximizing your media dollars? From creating media strategies to executing media plans and buys, this module will pinpoint key items on which to focus so that you can feel confident that your media programs are contributing optimally to brand results.

In this session, we will cover critical terms, address how various media contribute to plan effectiveness, identify core elements of media strategies, and outline the basics of sound media plans and buys. The discussion will encompass traditional and new media, direct and branding efforts, as well as B2B and B2C campaigns.

Key Takeaways:

  • How a media strategy differs from and complements creative and marketing strategies
  • What constitutes strong media strategies and plans
  • How to encourage the best results from agencies and media companies
  • Aligning media initiatives to overall integrated marketing programs
  • How to deal with the changing media landscape

Advanced Marketing & Media Platforms

Digital media enables marketers to truly reach the target consumer at the right place, at the right time, and with the right message. Given these capabilities, marketers recognize that consumers expect a seamless and authentic experience whether they begin their shopping journey on a search engine or their favorite social media site. Although this task can seem daunting – especially in an ever-evolving digital landscape, avoiding media innovation does not decrease risk; it adds to it.

This module will address how you can welcome innovation to execute and manage brand strategies using modern marketing tactics.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why new media and marketing platforms require clearly defined objectives and KPIs
  • The role of behavioral targeting, data, and automation in optimizing and informing future integrated marketing initiatives
  • The implications of using data intelligence for mass customization
  • How to deal with important industry issues related to ad fraud and impression delivery

Marketing in the Digital Age: From Archetypes to Neuromarketing

The fast-paced world of marketing changes on a continuous basis, and with such a high rate of innovation, it can be challenging to keep up with all of the latest tools, tactics, and technologies, as well as to separate the necessary from the “noise”.

From storytelling and content marketing to neuromarketing, native advertising, and beyond, we’ll dissect the most important marketing trends and how to strategically apply them to your integrated marketing plans.  

Key Takeaways:  

  • Identifying the difference between a “shiny object” marketing tactic and a strategic communications choice
  • What's trending, what’s useful, and why
  • Why storytelling is the rule, not the exception

Alignment for Success

IMC refers not only to integrating multiple media channels into your marketing strategy, but also to integrating the various parties who are creating and sharing brand messages across this multitude of channels. Unifying and aligning the thinking and output of internal departments (such as PR, sales, and customer service) as well as external partners (for example, agencies) is critical to maximizing IMC results.

Marketers must optimize strategic planning and empower partners to deliver results through measurable tactics. This module will focus on goal setting and measurement tools to properly manage expectations for all partners in the face of competing priorities, agendas, and cross-organizational politics.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why alignment of both internal and external resources is critical to IMC success
  • Best practices for selecting and working with advertising agencies in the modern marketing environment
  • Driving and supporting collaborative behaviors
  • Ways to ensure that partnerships remain healthy, productive, and strong

Understanding Your Brand & Applying IMC

Can you summarize your brand in one word? Would others at your company use the same word? Answering these two questions is critical to the ability to bring IMC to life.

During this interactive work session, you will create an action plan that identifies and begins to solve for gaps in your brand’s ability to create an IMC program at your company. Additionally, we’ll identify the steps needed to craft a compelling brand story and unify the appropriate marketing communications tools to send the consumer a consistent message.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to turn a product into a brand
  • The 10 challenges that inhibit IMC results
  • A 7-step model for delivering successful IMC
  • Articulating brand value

Global & Diversity Marketing

With the array of options through which to target and engage prospective consumers, marketers recognize that it’s no longer possible to speak to all prospects in the same way – a concept that is particularly critical in a multicultural, global marketplace.

How can you engage your diverse audiences in a relevant manner, both domestically and internationally? This module of the program will provide the foundation to plan and execute marketing communications in a way that supports the often-cited phrase, “Think global, act local.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Trends in global media and local media to address diversity, ethnicity, and cultures
  • How stereotypes, trends and emerging segments can influence marketing messages, and the precautions marketers should take to avoid stereotyping
  • Ethical issues involved in marketing to American subcultures
  • Tips for optimizing the creative process to ensure that your messages translate to target segments

Brand Design & Packaging

Effective communication strategies consider the science behind consumer engagement and shopper behavior. As a result, successful design strategy, packaging development, and execution are some of the most valuable disciplines to building brand distinctiveness and long-term sustainability.

This module will cover the many facets of branding design and packaging as the brand vehicle, including discussion of:

  • Design Thinking principles and design development processes
  • How and why consumers select products
  • How a multi-sensory approach can contribute to brand distinctiveness, product attribute communications, and shopper engagement

Program Overview

For an overview of our Mini-MBA: Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program plus program benefits and outcomes, please click here.