Integrated Marketing Communications is an academic sounding phrase that really just means you need to make sure the people across your entire organization are all working towards the same end. Now I’m sure specialists in the field will argue that it is much more than that and they will give you examples and layers and a bunch of stuff that sounds pretty smart. However, it is my belief that if your “people” are all working in the same direction and have a common understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, as an organization, everything else will follow nicely.
So, below is my interpretation (or what I like to call plain English) of our University’s strategic plan and how we, as communications professionals, fit into it.
- Bring in more money and not just any money. Money that is flexible and that you can count on. So that means not money from tuition and student fees and not money given out by the state. So, that leaves more money from super rich people (Thank you!) and money from corporate/government sponsorships or what we like to call Industry Partnering.
- Increase the percent of incoming students with high GPA’s and SAT scores. Since we really don’t know what will make a high achieving student once they get here. We try and do our best guessing by looking at those who have done well academically so far. In general we want all the smart kids to come here.
- I won’t go into a lot of detail about this last one, because the importance should be well understood by anyone in the field. Increase the percentage of students and faculty that come from under represented populations.
So, if we (the university) did all of those things we would generally consider ourselves successful. Well, marketing communications only plays a small role in these strategic goals. Economics, athletics, geography and hundreds of other employees of the university have just as much or more of an influence over these items as we do.
Which brings us back to the concept of IMC. We have a responsibility as communicators to do the best that we possibly can. If you don’t agree with that statement then you suck and don’t belong here. We have an obligation to the institution we work for. If we don’t focus our efforts in an integrated way the university will continue to function and it might even thrive. However, it won’t reach a its potential. If your car has one flat tire it will still drive, but you won’t be winning any races.
My call to our loyal readership is to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish and don’t be content with that. Make sure others around you know and have a similar understanding.