CONCLUSION</li></ul>BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />CHAPTER ONE<br />1.1 INTRODUCTION<br />Companies try to bridge the gap between itself and its various stakeholders through the use of marketing communications. Marketing communications as defined by Pickton and Broderick; is simply all the promotional elements of the marketing mix which involve the communications between an organisation and its target audiences on all matters that affect marketing performance. Elements that fall within the marketing communications mix include public relations, advertising, sales promotions and personal selling.<br />Proliferation of the media, high advertising budgets and the scattered nature of customers have led to the evolution of marketing communications, with the concept now taking an integrated form, thus the term Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). Integrated Marketing communications takes into cognizance image and brand management, customer or audience relationship management, the communications loop and the time element, with the aim of delivering a consistent message about an organisation.<br />Early writings on IMC, such as Caywood and Wang, show that the concept was originally advanced as a corrective to the view that the techniques and disciplines of marketing communications are managed and organised in a differentiated and separate manner. (Hinson,2009).<br />1.2 DEFINITIONS OF INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION (IMC)<br />Due to the fact that IMC is still in its early growth stages, it is difficult to coin a single perfect definition for this concept. To many, IMC is the process of integrating all the elements in the promotional mix. This however fails to pinpoint to the fact that IMC goes beyond the integration of promotional elements but also focuses on other relevant features such as range of target audiences, range of media, management of all forms of contact and a clearly defined marketing communications objective. Several scholars have therefore tried to define the concept of IMC by incorporating the salient features mentioned.<br />For instance, Duncan 2002 defined IMC as a process of managing the customer relationships that drive brand value. More specifically, it is a cross-functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationships with customers and stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages sent to these groups and encouraging data-driven, purposeful dialogue with them.<br />According to Shimp (2000), IMC is an organisation’s unified, co-ordinated effort to promote a brand concept through the use of multiple communications tools that “speak with a single voice”.<br />Kotler et al. (1999) on the other hand defined IMC as a concept under which a company carefully integrates and coordinates its many communications channels to deliver a clear, consistent and compelling message about the organisation and its products.<br /> In simple terms, IMC can be defined as the management process of integrating all marketing communications activities across relevant audience points to achieve greater brand coherence (Pickton & Broderick, 2005).<br />1.3 DIMENSIONS OF IMC<br />The many or various facets involved in IMC are here referred to as the dimensions of IMC. It represents the numerous aspects of integration that may not be fully appreciated or addressed when trying to achieve integration but very important in achieving an effective IMC communication. Some of these dimensions are simply defined below:<br /><ul><li>Promotional mix integration: integration of the elements of the promotional mix. That is, advertising, personal selling, sales promotions and public relations.
Promotional mix with marketing mix integration: integration of the elements of the promotional mix with those of the marketing mix (i.e. product, place, price, promotion).
Creative integration: integration of creative themes, concepts and messages across the myriad marketing communications activities.
Intra-organisation: integration of all the relevant internal departments, individuals and activities within an organisation which generate and impact upon marketing communication.
Inter-organisational integration: integration with and between all external organisations involved in marketing communications on behalf of an organisation.</li></ul>1.4 DIGRAMATIC REPRESENTATION OF TIGO’S IMC DIMENSIONS<br />1.5 THE IMC MIX<br />IMC consist of a wide range of marketing communications activities which overlap. Below is a diagrammatic model which illustrates the IMC mix.<br />Source: Pickton & Broderick (2005)<br />From the diagram, it is ascertain that there are marketing communication elements that may be categorised as both public relations and advertising (e.g. Sponsorship, corporate advertising), both advertising and sales promotion (e.g. Direct response advertising), both sales promotion and personal selling (e.g. Exhibition) and both personal selling and public relations (e.g. Event management).<br />CHAPTER TWO<br />2.1 INTRODUCTION<br />The concept of Integrated Marketing Communications is fast gaining grounds in Ghana’s business circles. One major industry that greatly employs IMC in its quest to build brand coherence is the telecommunications industry; basically because of the fierce nature of competition in this industry. The purpose of this paper is therefore to analyse how IMC is practised, benefits of its practice and challenges to Tigo, a firm which happens to fall within the telecommunications industry.<br /> On the average, Tigo spends about three and a half million Ghana Cedis (GHC 3,500,000) on marketing communications annually, an amount that takes out huge chunks from its annual budget. As such, it will be suicidal on the part of the company to send out communications that lack consistency and therefore is not able to leave a lasting impression in the minds of target audiences in order attract sales which will eventually lead to increase market share and sales volume.<br />Tigo employs the various IMC elements as represented in the diagram. However, it doesn’t do so on an individual basis. All the elements used, in a way complement each other with the aim of achieving brand coherence. <br />2.2 AN OVERVIEW OF TIGO<br />Millicom Ghana Limited - a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular (MIC), South Africa best known by many in Ghana simply as "Mobitel," is down in history as the first company to launch a mobile telecommunications network in Sub-Saharan Africa. Millicom officially launched its operations in Ghana in 1992, attracting 19,000 subscribers in its first year of operation.<br />In 2002 Millicom Ghana introduced its GSM service under the brand name Buzz GSM. Buzz GSM with its trendy lifestyle image offered very exciting services to its numerous clientele. Mobitel over the years was able to maintain a fast rate of subscriber and revenue growth and a very high quality of service, acclaimed by most users as being second to none. <br />In March, 2006 the brand name was changed to Tigo. During the launch of Tigo, the Company made a promise to deliver the next generation of mobile services to Ghanaians to reinforce Millicom's commitment of providing innovation and leadership in the mobile telecommunication industry in Ghana. (TeleGeography Communications Update). It is evident that these efforts have been made to fulfil this promise. Five years down the lane shows innovativeness in terms of its product offerings. Examples include the “Tigo number one”, their fast internet connectivity and their newly introduced money transfer.<br />2.3 HOW TIGO PRACTICES IMC<br />Tigo employs both Above the Line (ATL) and Below the Line (BTL) marketing communications when it comes to targeting customers. The various ATL techniques Tigo practices include media advertisements, outdoor advertisements such as billboards and posters and print advertisements in various newspapers and magazines in circulation. These techniques whether explicitly or implied communicate the brand name and tag line of Tigo which is “express yourself”, connoting clarity in the network thus the ability to freely express oneself.<br /> The various BTL tools employed include sponsorships, personal selling, bulk sms, fliers, sales promotions, donations, corporate social responsibilities (CSR), direct marketing, exhibitions, publicity and public relations. <br />2.3.1 ADVERSTISING<br />Advertising is any paid form non personal communication between an organisation and its audiences (Bekowitz, 2000). Tigo uses advertising as one of its major marketing communication elements. It does so through the available electronic media; radio and TV, print media; newspapers and magazine, digital interactive; internet and mobile sms and out-of-home; billboards and posters. All these reinforce Tigo’s brand name. For example, Tigo’s television advert popularly known as “Honey kuchi-kuchi” extensively used blue, the colour of Tigo’s logo, to enable customers readily identify the brand. This is a tool for building brand coherence, a major objective of IMC.<br />2.3.2 SPONSORSHIP<br />Sponsorship is a cash and/or in-kind fee paid to a property; typically in sports, arts, entertainment or causes. For example, a corporate entity may provide equipment for a famous athlete or sports team in exchange for brand recognition, as in the case of Samsung and Chelsea Football Club.<br /> Tigo is noted for sponsoring various events and television shows in the country. For instance, Tigo embarked on “festival train”, a campaign that sponsors some traditional festivals within several localities in Ghana; some of which include the Homowo Festivals of the Ga, the Aboakyir Festival of the people from Winneba and the Fetu Afahye Festival of the people from Cape Coast. Though the sponsorships are intended to make these events successful, target audiences end up having some form of emotional attachment to the brand. Moreover, the tag line of the company is not ignored during such events; celebrants of the various festivals are encouraged to “express themselves” even as they go about participating in the festival. <br />Similarly, Tigo sponsor various activities such as hall week celebrations of selected tertiary institutions, television shows that have benefitted from Tigo’s sponsorships include entertainment shows like Allo-Tigo on Metro TV and TV3’s Mentor II. This form of sponsorship allows Tigo some amount of airtime, thereby granting the company another marketing communications opportunity.<br />2.3.3 PERSONAL SELLING<br />Personal selling is oral communication with potential buyers of a product with the purpose of making a sale.<br />Personal sellers of Tigo SIM cards and recharge cards go about their business in Tigo branded t-shirts and from Tigo branded booths. This approach is not only intended to advertise the availability of Tigo products, but also to reinforce its existence. <br />Moreover, the personal sellers of Tigo act as a liaison between the company and its customers; by sending complaints and suggestions by way of feedback to the company and informing customers about various products. This is one of the ways Tigo maintains its relationship with customers.<br />2.3.4 SALES PROMOTION<br />Sales promotions are incentives given to customers for making purchases. Tigo has over the years been involved in several sales promotions; with the most common form being the Tigo Bonus credit. This form of sales promotion gives customers extra call credit for every scratch card purchased. Another sales promotion which is currently running is the Tigo win-a-house promotion. This promotion is open to anyone who patronises any of Tigo’s products, with the grand prize being a three bedroom house in addition to other consolation prizes.<br />Customers are notified about such promotions usually though bulk sms, radio and television advertisements. Another approach used in making consumers aware of on-going sales promotions is by the help of personal sellers. The fusion of the sales promotions, advertisements and personal sellers creates awareness, thereby inducing purchase by consumers.<br />2.3.4 PUBLIC RELATIONS<br />Public relations are a field concerned with maintaining a public image for businesses, non-profit organizations or high-profile people such as celebrities and politicians. Another school of thought defines it as managing communication between an organization and it publics. Tigo practices public relations via several channels; some of which include the internet, radio and television. The public relations usually centre on issues relating to sales promotions, corporate social responsibilities and general business ethics.<br />2.3.5 EVENT MANAGEMENT<br />Event management involves planning, developing and executing events, festivals and conferences. This form of promotional mechanism is not used on its own. Usually, event management is used as a public relations platform to communicate to audiences. <br /> Tigo integrates various promotional elements when it comes to events management; for example, Tigo employs the distribution of fliers and the transmission of radio advertisements, especially when it is hosting events, such as “campus storm”; a motivational summit held on the various university campuses in the country. The rationale behind this approach is to be able to effectively reach a huge margin of their target audiences with information about the company’s event. Legon Dunks, a basketball event held annually on the University of Ghana campus is also an event hosted by Tigo. Besides using fliers to publicise this event, Tigo also brands the courts and jerseys used by the players of the various teams. This technique is intended to elicit some form of emotional attachment to the brand in basketball fans. Moreover, the whole idea behind this form of event is to encourage the youth of today to “express themselves” in sports and other activities they love. <br />2.3.6 CUSTOMER SERVICE<br />Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction; that is feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation (Turban et al, 2002). Tigo has a 24- hour customer helpline which assists customers with problems relating to Tigo products and services. Customers are also able to make enquiries on this helpline.<br />As part of Tigo’s vision to enhance customer satisfaction, call centres have been set up at various convenient spots to afford customers access to qualified expertise to handle all of their problems. In addition, these call centres usually exhibit Tigo products on the premises.<br />2.3.7 PUBLICITY<br />Publicity refers to an act or device design to attract public interest; specifically information with news value issued as a means of gaining public attention or support (www.Merriam – Webster.com/../publicity).<br />Tigo embarks on publicity drives periodically. It does so by going on floats around principal streets within the country. These floats are merged with various activities such as health drives, distribution of fliers and sales promotions. <br />Another way by which Tigo achieves publicity is by employees, most often marketing personnel, appearing on television and radio shows to talk on products, services and other issues relating to the company.<br />2.3.8 INTERNET<br />Tigo employs the internet as a medium for communicating to target audiences. It does so by placing advertisements on certain popular websites like Ghana web. Also, Tigo has an official website which provides information pertaining to the company such as its address, various activities it has held and intends on holding. The website has an advertising banner on which Tigo advertisements are placed periodically. <br />2.3.9 EXHIBITIONS<br />Exhibitions are an organised presentation and display of a selection of items. Exhibitions usually occur during fairs, museums, shopping arcades and galleries. Tigo takes advantage of events such as trade fairs and hall week celebrations to mount exhibition stands. These stands are meant to establish a “presence” or invariable establish a position in the minds of consumers.<br />2.4.0 COUNTER SALES<br />Counter sales pertains to men and women who sell various products and services in a retail stores. Tigo has several retail outlets across the country, this makes it possible for potential and existing customers to walk into their outlets and purchase any of Tigo’s products.<br />These counter sales grants the company an opportunity build customer relations; by so doing, feedback from customers can easily be obtained.<br />2.4.1 DIRECT SALES<br />Direct sales involve marketing products and services directly to customers, away from a retail location. Such sales are made through one-to-one demonstrations and other personal contact arrangement.<br />Tigo practices direct sales when dealing with corporate clients. Direct marketers rely on advertisements that have been placed, their sponsorship campaigns and other promotional tools to reinforce the messages presented to corporate clients.<br />2.4.2 CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONIBILITIES<br />According to Bartol and Martin, corporate social responsibility is the obligation of an organisation to seek actions that protect and improve the welfare of society along with their own interests. <br />Tigo has a corporate social responsibility initiative which is dubbed as “fraternity for humanity”. This initiative provides support to communities when it comes to education, health and environmental issues.<br />For instance, Tigo in partnership with United Way Ghana provide one-on-one mentoring and scholarships to brilliant students from deprived areas. Other projects with United Way Ghana include refurbishing and rebuilding of decapitated school structure, and the construction of bore-holes to provide access to portable drinking water.<br />In addition, Tigo embarks on health drives periodically. Example, Tigo organised free hepatitis B screening for market women in Central Accra about a month ago. <br />Such CSR projects receive a lot of media attention; thereby creating awareness. This invariably tends to present emotional appeals to target audiences and therefore influencing their purchasing decisions.<br />CHAPTER THREE<br />Integrated marketing communications can be looked at from the perspective of a two-sided coin; in that it has its benefits as well challenges. Tigo just like the other companies that practice IMC enjoy benefits and face challenges as well.<br />3.1 HOW TIGO BENEFITS FROM INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS (IMC).<br />A major benefit Tigo derives from IMC is synergy. Synergy in relation to IMC is the bringing together of marketing communication elements in a mutually supportive and enhancing way, so that the resulting whole is greater than the sum in its parts. The various promotional elements employed by Tigo work hand in hand to build brand coherence. For example, Tigo runs advertisements informing target audiences of ongoing sales promotions. This form of advertisements is able to<br /><ul><li>Do the job of meeting the objectives of an advert; which is to inform, persuade and remind.
Publicise ongoing sales promotions and prizes available to winners.</li></ul>Another benefit that IMC presents to Tigo is consistency in messages delivered. Since the main aim of IMC is to deliver a clear, consistent and compelling message to target audiences; practitioners of IMC, therefore Tigo, ensure that there’s consistency in messages conveyed no matter the promotional element used. For instance, Tigo- sponsored programs such as Festival Train and events managed by Tigo like community dunks all re-echo Tigo’s tag line; which is “express yourself.”<br />Tigo can attribute its distinct market position to Integrated Marketing Communications. By practising IMC, Tigo has been able to establish a strong position in the minds of consumers and therefore have the second largest market share within the industry.<br />Feedback derived through customer relationship management, a feature of the IMC process helps the company to improve on its products and services, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction. For example, Tigo initially awarded bonus credits that could only be used to make phone calls to other Tigo networks but as a result of suggestions in the form of feedback from customers, this bonus credit can also be used to make phone calls to other networks.<br />Tigo can boast of excellent working relations as a result of the IMC it practise. This is because, employees of the various departments “see” themselves as one body championing a similar cause. For instance, those in the sponsorship unit regard those in customer service as co-equals as against subordinates or superiors as in the case of firms that do not practise IMC.<br /> In that case there isn’t any form of organisational segregation.<br />Although the various promotional tools afford Tigo a lot of benefits, there are certain challenges Tigo faces in its quest to practice IMC.<br />3.2 CHALLENGE TIGO FACES IN PRACTISING IMC.<br />A major hurdle Tigo faces in its quest to practise IMC is Centralisation of promotional functions. In order to ensure the consistency IMC aims to foster, Tigo has a centralised marketing department which supervise promotional activities in the company. This arrangement has led to bureaucracy within the company and therefore slows progress.<br />Moreover, the practise of IMC by Tigo has to some extent jeopardise creative opportunities. Due to the quest to maintain consistency, Tigo has over the year’s practised standardisation in terms of products and services. This approach is however not encouraging creativity, thereby wasting creative initiative.<br />3.3 SUGGESTIONS <br />Tigo must appreciate that there are a plethora of tools for solving IMC problems and these can be combined in varying proportions to give very optimal response or results. They should begin to challenge their marketing department to think outside the box and stop accepting the promotional mix and a few IMC tools as the solutions for all marketing communications problems.<br />Tigo can use the other variants of IMC, effective integration of the marketing communication mix with marketing mix, creative integration and target audiences<br />3.4 CONCLUSION<br />There are several other tools of IMC that Tigo can put to practice for effective IMC and these include:<br /><ul><li>Stakeholder Communication