The aim of integrated marketing communications (IMC) is to create a ‘synergy of persuasive voices’ where the message is consistent and each persuasive tool is used to best effect. In the arts, we’re good at getting people to attend, visit and participate in our organisations’ activities. That’s important, of course, but do our communications coordinate to achieve our organisations’ wider goals or are we just delivering a series of separate campaigns?
A campaign focuses on one point in the decision-making process. In the arts we tend to assume that everyone is a latent attender, visitor or participant so our communications simply seek to persuade someone to choose this cultural activity rather than that one. Instead, IMC sets out to influence every stage of the decision. So, not very many marks out of ten for the arts sector, then. Why do many of us find strategic communications so hard to achieve? The most important factor in IMC is that communication objectives fit with marketing objectives and that they in turn fit with our organisation-wide objectives.