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Four ways Integrated Marketing Communication takes PR to a new level

Integrated Marketing Communications

Integrated Marketing Communication is a game changer in the world of Public Relations. Just ask Dr. Kelly McBride, assistant professor of PR and IMC programs in the Graham School of Business at York College of Pennsylvania.

Often, undergraduate marketing and communications are separate programs, she says. Integrated Marketing Communication incorporates aspects of each discipline - public relations, marketing, advertising, digital marketing, and branding - to turn out the well-rounded graduates employers seek.

York College is now the go-to school for the program.

“We are holding this crown right now of having the only fully-integrated marketing communications program that is classroom-based in the region,” Dr. McBride says.

So, what makes this program so unique?

It’s all about the crossover.

1. Business Analytics

It’s not enough to just send out a press release anymore. Employers are looking for candidates who can dig deep in data to help them make smarter choices.

IMC majors take statistics and market analysis classes to understand how to gather data from surveys, how to quantitatively measure results, and how to analyze what all those results mean.

2. Adding in math

What gets Dr. McBride excited? Having her students understand a balance sheet.

It might seem like a small thing, but companies want to see that they’re getting what they paid for. IMC students take accounting and learn how to determine their return on investment to help them make decisions on where to spend their resources.

3. Speaking the language

As an Integrated Marketing Communication manager, a person works across departments to develop one clear message. But in order to develop that message, you have to be able to speak the language of other departments.

A person with an IMC degree has a real understanding of market shares, supply chain management, and business financial statements as well as consumer insight. With their background in advertising, marketing, branding, and public relations, they’re able to coordinate efforts and get all parties on the same page to deliver one clear message.

It’s that seamless integration that makes them so valuable and gives them a voice well beyond the press release.

4. A seat at the table

The traditional public relations manager typically focus on unpaid media, such as press releases, says Dr. McBride. But the Integrated Marketing Communication specialist provides a much broader outreach method that includes paid ads, earned impressions through media relations and blogging, shared platforms such as social media, and user generated content.

They’re working with the business teams when the development of a product is still in the works. Understanding the entire process makes them better at their jobs and gives them a more integral status within a company.

“Now, they’re an integral part of this circle,” Dr. McBride says, “and that’s what it is: one big circle instead of a flow chart.”

With their multi-disciplinary background, the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate is a vital and respected person at the table.

“I’m so excited for what this means for our students,” Dr. McBride says. “It’s only going to strengthen their capabilities and allow them to be a part of areas they never have been before.”