Integrated marketing communication provides a seamless and comprehensive delivery of information to consumers. Hendrix and Hayes (2010) discusses the prevalence of integrated marketing since the 1990s and its usefulness in complying with the perceptions of consumers. In this way, integrated marketing communication is consumer-centric and relationship driven. An award-winning case study of Pfizer Animal Health, MGH, and TagTeam Global by the Public Relations Society of America (2009) demonstrates the utility of integrated marketing concepts.
Pfizer developed a canine weightloss medication, Slentrol®, in 2007, and relied on the collaborative efforts of MGH and TagTeam Global to launch the marketing efforts in 2008. Slentrol® is the first-in-class drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat canine obesity. The comprehensive effort resulted opening conversations between veterinarians across the country and approximately 200,000 dog owners, increasing dog obesity awareness, and, ultimately, lead to a 42% gain in Slentrol® sales.
Hendrix and Hayes (2010) describe how a SWOT analysis would be extremely useful when preparing for an integrated marketing effort. They stress that leveraging strengths and acknowledging weaknesses honestly allows the firm the ability to maximize market-share while maintaining vigilance against external threats. According to the Public Relations Society of America (2009), the primary research, conducted primarily by Pfizer, helped to define the market. MGH and TagTeam Global furthered this research with anecdotal evidence provided by friends, family, and colleagues and surveys directed to veterinarians, which helped to define the degree of understanding that most people have of the health risks of obese dogs. MGH and TagTeam Global also performed secondary research to help to define the messaging in a way that would resonate with dog owners.
The objectives of integrated marketing communications is, by definition, comprehensive. In the case study, the objectives included increasing a focus on canine obesity, educate dog owners to the dangers and risks of canine obesity, motivate dog owners to seek treatment if their dogs were perceived to be obese, and to increase sales of Slentrol® (Public Relations Society of America, 2009). To meet these objectives, a public outreach event, the National Canine Weight Check, was designed to allow dog owners to visit a participating veterinarian during an entire month for a weight assessment free of charge (Public Relations Society of America, 2009).
The Public Relations Society of America (2009) case study demonstrates a varied use of media and consumer word-of-mouth communication to raise awareness of canine obesity. MGH and TagTeam Global also created a website dedicated to provide education about canine obesity and recruited a number of veterinarians to participate in the outreach. These veterinarians were provided with advice on how to broach the topic as well as the necessary equipment to perform the free weight assessment. Again, they relied heavily on the previous research in order to communicate most effectively with dog owners based on the vernacular present on canine websites and discussion boards. This was a very strategic use of available communication tools.
The National Canine Weight Check is lauded as attracting over 200,000 dog owners to participating veterinarians to discuss the risks and options concerning their overweight dogs, Pfizer enjoyed a 42% increase in sales of Slentrol®, and Pfizer realized a great opportunity for continued marketing to almost 1,500 consumers through social network connections (Public Relations Society of America, 2009). Many other goals and objectives were met, and Pfizer, MGH, and TagTeam Global consider the National Canine Weight Check a large success.
Integrated marketing communications is a comprehensive combination of many advertising, marketing, sales, and public relations tactics to provide unification in the messaging and more effectively leverages the strengths of the organization. Integrated marketing relies on two-way communication and serves to establish long-lasting relationships between the organization and consumers. Integrated marketing can be very useful in a myriad of situations, and though it requires great attention to detail and thorough research to accomplish effectively, the rewards can be immense and lasting when done right.
Pfizer, MGH, and TagTeam Global would not, in my opinion, have benefited from such success had they not implemented this comprehensive approach. The research alone allowed the effort to succeed by uncovering more ways to attain credibility with the consumers as well as veterinarians (Public Relations Society of America, 2000). Further, the biggest benefit to integrated marketing that Pfizer now enjoys is the long-term loyalty and commitment found in a significant share of the market. This could not be attained, according to Hendrix and Hayes (2010), with other, more modest, forms of communication and marketing.
Hendrix, J. A. & Hayes, D. C. (2010). Public relations cases (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Public Relations Society of America. (2009). National canine weight check (Product #6BW-0916A11). Retrieved from http://www.prsa.org/Awards/SilverAnvil/