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Task - Write a report that is a 12-month integrated marketing communication plan (IMC) to promote a non-profit organisation (NPO) also known as a charity. The plan needs to contain background information, market information, a brief overview of your creative strategy, the media strategy, the proposed budget and conclusions and recommendations.

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Answer -

Executive summary

The main purpose of this report is to provide a 12 months integrated marketing communication (IMC) plan for promoting the brand, Blackmore. The IMC plan includes marketing objectives, specific target market, creative marketing strategy, media strategy and media budget. Blackmore is a vitamin and dietary supplements company which encourages people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Company's commitment for developing diverse range of products of high quality which is supported by scientific results and traditional belief reveals its IMC engagements. With an effective IMC plan, it will be able to create brand awareness and improve marketing strategies and can response towards the unmet market needs and thus, can leverage competitive advantage in market.

Background of market and brand

Overview of the company

Blackmores Australia is a health supplement company which the produces, sales and market health related product for human and animals. In this context, it is involved in the production of more than 250 herbals, vitamin, and mineral nutrients supplements (White, 2017). It was founded in the year 1932 and its headquarter is located in Sydney, Australia. At present, there are 1400 employees from 17 markets of Asia Pacific and Australia are engaged with the company. It is an ASX 200 publicly-listed firm having $2.5 billion as market capitalization (WANG, 2018). The sales for Natural Health Products in 2018 is 601.14 million AUD (Boucher, 2019). It is Australia's topmost natural health brand because of its high-quality product. The associated brands with Blackmore BioCeuticals, Blackmore institute, Isowhey, Oriental botanicals, Fusion health, and paw. For most of the health professionals and health conscious consumers, Blackmore is considered as their first preference and a trusted source.

Market objectives

The primary objective of Blackmore is to become the leading natural medicine brand in Australia an Asian region, through its breakthrough innovation along with maintaining quality and sustainability (Braun, 2015). It strives to improve quality of life, and enhance community wellness, and prevent the occurrence of disease. Being a health supplement company, Blackmores relies on the hospitality of the natural environment. It follows those practices which affirm environmental sustainability. Sustainability has become an integral part of its business objective. In order to incorporate sustainability in the business practices and operations, it focuses on addressing the four basic sustainability commitments, (i) responsible facilities management, (ii) industry leadership, (iii) sustainable supply chain management, (iv) people and the community (Winterhalter, Zeschky, Neumann, & Gassmann, 2017). In this approach of sustainability, it aims to maintain a transparent relationship with the stakeholders, suppliers, customers, and employees. Apart from sustainability, it has always maintained the product quality to set the safety and health standards as its top priority (Karaca-Mandic, Abraham, & Simon, 2015). In this context, it also aims to create a qualitative product by gaining insight into their customers on the basis of its science-based innovation. To develop a high-quality product, it has employed a dedicated and experienced team comprising of chemists, naturopaths, pharmacists, and scientists. It believes that producing better health products is an act of social justice, which is further transferred hand in hand by educating medical professionals and employees about the use of natural medicines (Luxton, Reid, & Mavondo, 2015). It prefers to formulate those products which are supported by both tradition and science for providing health benefits to customers. Furthermore, it also emphasizes on innovation in its products line, and invest huge money towards the research and development department. In the year 2018, more than 70 for clinical trials, scholarly activities, and research projects were financed by Blackmore (Winterhalter, et al. 2017).

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Target Market

The current consumer profile of Blackmore reflects that the company is successful in interacting with its target customers for the market penetration (Luxton, et al. 2015). A better penetration in the target market will help in boosting sales revenue and brand name. The primary target customer from the company includes full-time healthcare professionals whose age ranges from 30 to 55 years (Boucher, 2019). Furthermore, young and middle-aged customer service is proactive and attentive towards their well-being and health. These customers represent majority of market segments and hence, the brand tries to fulfil their requirement by providing them with healthy supplements. The company is also targeting the families of these customers and aims to increase the distribution of products such as baby care products, old age products, and pet products (Boucher, 2019). In this way, it can secure market dominance by gradually catering its product for the different age groups of customers. The target market can be segmented on the basis of geographic, income, behavioural, and psychographic level. On the basis of geographic location, most of the groceries, pharmacies and health food stores urban location search Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane prefer Blackmore for Health supplements. Those families with high disposable income can afford to pay for health supplement products. Blackmore remains in the high price range and thus target these customers who have a more stable income to fulfil their health requirements (Winterhalter, et al. 2017). Female customers also a major part of their target market. In most of the families, the women buy household amenities and targeting these customers adds to its market sales. According Byun, et al (2017), on the basis of behavioural segmentation, most of the families in urban locations give more priority to a healthy lifestyle by consuming health supplements, despite of high prices (Winterhalter, et al. 2017). Psychologically, customer's preference for the health care product on the basis of their emotions, beliefs, interests, and personality, Blackmore can target the specific market.

Creative strategy

Marketing strategy is defined as a process for any organization to present its resources on its greatest opportunities to achieve competitive advantage and increase sales. According to XX et al (Byun, Song, & Kim, 2017), if the marketing strategy used by the company is a unique and different approach, then most of the customers are attracted to it. In the present scenario of Blackmore, mock up can act as one such unique strategy, which can drive the attention of customers of all age groups. Mock up acts as a tool to promote the product by creating its model or prototype and give the customer an overall idea of the same (Byun et al, 2017). The images created by the mock up tool seems to be very colourful and attractive. It serves as a direct connection to the customers without any transparency, where the products are marketed and sold without any kind of false information. In this way, it can be able to keep alive people's interest and they are able to give their feedback based on visual impact. Using Mock up, the brand will be able to represent the unique selling point (USP) to the customers. The USP of Blackmores is its combination of traditional belief and scientific results in its different products, which makes it different from its competitors (Winterhalter, et al. 2017). It has employed traditional naturopathic experts and scientific researchers to work together for the final product design.

Mock ups can be used in different forms, such as, hero image mock up, and offline marketing mock up. Blackmore can use the hero mock up images on online media such as Facebook, Twitter and user-generated content (UGC). On the contrary offline marketing mock up can be used through posters, and flyers (Boucher, 2019). Since it is a health supplement brand, it should post images related to a healthy lifestyle. Some of these kinds of images include healthy recipes images, exercise images, and yoga images. Instead of displaying only the images of specific products, it should post innovative images related to health benefits. In this way, the company will be able to attract more customers by letting them know the basic health benefits. UGC is one of the best media for mock up strategy of Blackmore and targets specific customers. The existing customers who are already benefited from this product will post product images and their experiences on an online platform, which acts as a marketing strategy for the company. The company can place UGC page on its website, where the customers can share their experience through images of the product, feedback or reviews.

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Media strategy

Strategic promotion tool

There are various forms of strategic promotion tools which can be used by Blackmore, such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. Promotion through advertising involves the decision across media, money, mission, message, and measurement. Advertising on social media platforms is one of the cheapest medium for brand promotion rather than traditional media advertising. In the sales promotion tool, it can provide offers such as "buy one get one free", free trial, and "free" product with another brand. This promotion activity is most effective for those customers who are brand switchers and fence sitters (Karaca-Mandic, Abraham, & Simon, 2015). Marketing Public Relations (MPR) is another tool to promote product branding activities by creating stories in media. Direct marketing is the most effective form of marketing the feedback of customers is identified through face-to-face promotion activities.

Types of media

Media refers to a medium which helps in communicating product information to the people. There are basically three types of media that can be used by Blackmore, that are, print media, broadcast media, interactive media and out of home media. Print media includes newspapers, journals, magazines, flyers, banners, posters, and newsletters and is the cheapest form of media (Karaca-Mandic, et al. 2015). Broadcast media include television and radio as the common assets and is costlier than print media (Lidstone, & MacLennan, 2017). The interactive media comprise of social networking websites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (Castelló, Etter, & Årup Nielsen, 2016). These online sites use text and graphics for sharing user's information and photo of the product. Finally, Blackmore can also use out-of-home media to drive the attention of a mass of people in a specific locality. Billboard is one of the best examples of out-of-home media. Unlike the traditional out of home approach, Blackmore should choose mobile out-of-home media or event media, place-based media for marketing its product. In this context, Blackmore can hire celebrities as the brand ambassador. Advertisement of the product with the celebrities in the newspapers, banners, posters, and television will drive customer attention and encourage them to buy the product (Effing, & Spil, 2016).

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Type of schedule

Media scheduling should be of the highest priority in the advertising program for Blackmore. Media scheduling is decided upon two factors, (i) the time to advertise, (ii) the direction or space for advertisement (Castelló et al 2016). Basically, there are three media scheduling strategies, continuous advertising, fighting advertising, and pulsing advertising (Lidstone et al. 2017). In continuous advertising, the message is advertised throughout a stipulated in a uniform order. In fighting advertising, the product is advertised at specific intervals for some period. This form of scheduling is used by companies who market seasonal products. In Pulsing advertising schedule, advertisement broadcast at low weight level at a certain period and in remaining time it advertises regularly with heavier activities. Blackmore selling daily use health supplement products, should follow the continuous advertising scheduling.

Flowchart

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Media Budget

Planning the media budget is one of the vital steps in the integrated marketing communication plan. An effective media budget plan helps in creating an efficient marketing campaign. It is critical for the company to assure the business objective and media placements are aligned in parallel to each other. Furthermore, it should also ensure that the investments in marketing strategy are assigned in such a way that will create maximum value for the brand. For planning an effective media budget, Blackmore should follow some steps:

  • Establishing strategic goal - In this approach the budget will be distributed in building brand awareness, educating customers about "point of differentiation", and attracting to brands eCommerce site (Ashley, C., & Tuten, T. (2015).
  • Budget consideration - While allocating the budget, some common factors should be considered, such as customer habits, customer segmentation, Public relation, marketing objectives, and events.
  • Planning the timeline - budget timeline should be planned because it ensures marketing objectives and aware of the accounting department for the future bill. In this way, Blackmore can create curiousness among customers for its future product, before it hits the market. The budget timeline is needed to be recorded in the media investment management system so that the accounting team and media planners are able to view it. Based on the updated budget timeline, the accounting team will plan accordingly the monthly budget by considering the purchase order number. Lastly, they will reconcile the changed plan with the actual invoices (Effing, et al, 2016).
  • Establishment of messaging and creative assets - After the development of a marketing objective, the creative team should focus on creative assets according to the media plan. The creative team of Blackmore should come up with fascinating and amazing Omni channel materials to gain success.
  • Budget approval - prior to money spending on the advertisement, it is ethical to ask permission from the budget owner. In order to maintain accountability, one should audit trail of approval, and inform each member of the team. In this way, any confusion regarding the media budget can be avoided (Lidstone et al. 2017).
  • Media planning - Upon approval of the media budget, it is required to send RFPs to respective media vendors, aligning placement to the budget lines, establishing KPIs, and tracking purchase orders.

In the case of Blackmore, the media budget to be spent on brand awareness (15%), product differentiation (25%) and acquisition (60%) out of the total planned budget.

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Conclusion and recommendations

Despite the fact that Blackmore is one of the leading health supplement brands in Australia, it should periodically evaluate and strengthen the marketing strategy. The Swisse is one of the biggest competitors of Blackmore which sells similar product lines. Thus, to gain a competitive advantage, the company needs to follow some recommendations:

  • The brand should focus on growing its core product which is pharmacy and health food products. In this context, it should encourage its research team to discover new more effective medicines and other health supplement products for human beings and pets.
  • To create brand awareness, it can also conduct free health check-up campaigns in different locations, especially the rural areas. This approach will help the company to increase its customer base from the rural location, who are unaware of the product.
  • To maintain a competitive edge, it should improve the operational efficiencies and supply chain (Ashley, et al. 2015). This can be achieved by leveraging advanced technology into its production system. In conjunction with this, it can also start a home delivery service with an easy access facility. In this way, the busy customers and elderly people can easily get the product at their doorstep, which would make it more customer-friendly.
  • With the increase in globalization, it should thrive to expand the market, apart from Australia and Asia. This can be achieved by developing a partnership with other leading brands in other countries. This approach will help to gain customers trust and confidence in the new market (Ashley, et al. 2015).
  • In order to synthesize and increase the knowledge of customers related to modern science and traditional Ayurveda, it should conduct events as a brand promotion strategy. Such events should promote the brand as a natural, efficacious and safe solution to all health problems and groom

In conclusion, the present report has outlined numerous brand promotion strategies by taking the case example of Blackmore. In this context, marketing objective, target market, creative marketing strategy, media strategy, and media budget has been discussed. The brand is yet to expand its product line, which further requires strong product awareness strategies. It is learned that a well-planned media strategy and media budget can make a successful market the product.

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