Integrated marketing communications in the high-tech industry

My name is Alina Nicolae. I am a freshly graduated master student from KU Leuven, with a major in International Business and Management. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be one of the “storytellers” at Pyramidion. For the next two months, I will be carrying out marketing research into the benefits of using an integrated marketing communications approach for a new high technology product launch. When the research is complete, we will publish our findings online.

Integrated marketing communications and customer centricity

I could not agree more with the digital analyst from Altimeter Group Brian Solis when saying that “Customer centricity is a culture of putting the customer at the center of everything you do”. Everybody wants to be customer centric, but the actual implementation differs from company to company. Let’s find out together through my research what customer centricity means for Pyramidion’s customer.

What is IMC?

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is not only promotion or communication but addresses broader challenges at the company level. It has a more pronounced character than traditional marketing and its strategic focus is on managing communications assets to achieve strategic goals. Integrated marketing is more customer oriented than business oriented. For companies facing challenges or looking for new opportunities, integrated marketing can be a very effective way to achieve company goals and objectives.

Essentially, there are two major differences between traditional marketing and integrated marketing: orientation and strategic thinking.

 

Orientation is best addressed by reviewing the four ‘P’s’: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion of the marketing mix.

Traditional marketing focuses primarily on serving the needs of companies and shareholders, not the customer’s needs. The company has the power over their products or services, as well as prices and promotion.
The four ‘P’s’ can be changed by a new paradigm – the four ‘C’s’: Customer, Cost, Convenience and Communication. Although the four ‘P’s’ and the four ‘C’s’ may seem similar and may even address the same four categories, as shown in Table 1, they require a different approach and thought process. 

 

The four ‘P’s’ of traditional marketing The four ‘C’s’ of integrated marketing
Product Client / Consumer
Price Cost
Placement Convenience
Promotion Communication

                                                                                      Table 1 – Traditional marketing vs IMC

The second difference relates to strategic thinking. Integrated marketing requires strategic thinking based on realistic assessment of the problems and opportunities. In addition, an integrated marketing approach requires that the strategic plan recognizes a realistic assessment of assets, time, budget and people.

IMC strategies in new high-tech product launch

The question at the center of this research project is how customer centricity approach (i.e. having a close interaction with customers and being responsive to their feedback) can achieve higher levels of IMC in the high-tech industry.

I will be using a qualitative case research methodology, drawing on multiple sources of evidence. These will include interviews with key contacts and documentary data concerning the theoretical approach, including related literature in IMC covering new product launches and high technology marketing.

The study contributes to the integrated marketing communications research field as well as to the continued success of Pyramidion in several important respects. First, it focuses on IMC usage among firms in different industries. Second, it takes a genuinely refreshing view on studying IMC strategies by focusing on the usage of IMC as part of the new high technology product launch strategy.

This research paper is based on interviews with Pyramidion customers who are active in the high-tech industry, that operates in different fields of business yet providing similar innovation to the same market.

Practical implications

Regardless of the type of organization, whether service or product‐oriented, business‐to‐consumer or business‐to‐business, they can all achieve and benefit from higher levels of IMC. It is no longer enough to have the best product, what matters most is customer‐centricity.