Integrated marketing communication in vanguard assurance company limited
UNIVERSITY OF GHANA BUSINESS SCHOOL (UGBS), MARKETING DEPARTMENTINTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION PRACTICES IN VANGUARD ASSURANCE CO. LTDA product of the UGBSBy Collins 10242448 and Peguy 102569273/24/2011This research seeks to investigate the various methods by which Vanguard Assurance Company Limited (Ghana) manages and organizes all agents in the analysis, planning, implementation, and control of all marketing communications contacts, media, messages and promotional tools focused at selected target audience in such a way as to derive the greatest enhancement and coherence of marketing communication efforts in achieving predetermined product or corporate marketing communication objectives. This document seeks to outline the various ways and methods as well as strategies Vanguard Assurance Company Limited incorporate the concept of Integrated Marketing Communication in its corporate strategies.<br />TABLE OF CONTENTS<br /><ul><li>INTRODUCTION
CONCLUSION</li></ul>1.0 INTRODUCTION<br />What is Integrated Marketing Communications?<br />Integrated marketing communication is a process which involves the management and organization of all agents in the analysis , planning , implementation and control of all marketing communication contacts, media, messages, and promotional tools focused at selected target audiences to drive the greatest enhancement and coherence of marketing communications effort in achieving product and corporate marketing objectives.<br />Agents in this situation include all individuals and organizations involved in the marketing communications process. Contacts refer to any personal or non-personal communication between selected target audience members and the organization. Product may be brands, goods, services or any specific object of promotion and can include, for example, events and personalities. Corporate level marketing communication is not left out.<br />Integration is not easily achieved but when achieved; the 4Cs and 4Es of IMC create a synergistic benefit of integration.<br />The four Es of Integrated Marketing Communications are;<br /><ul><li>Enhancing – improve; augment; intensify.
Economical – least cost in the use of financial and other resources; not wasteful.
Efficient – doing things right; competence; not wasteful.
Effective – doing the right things; producing the outcome required; not wasteful</li></ul>The four C of Integrated Marketing Communication is;<br /><ul><li>Coherence – logically connected; firmly stuck together.
Consistency – not self-contradictory; in agreement, harmony, accord.
Continuity – connected and consistent over time
Complementary Communications – producing a balanced whole; supportive communications</li></ul>Key features of IMC<br />There are some key elements in the study of Integrated Marketing Communications that must be noted. <br /><ul><li>Range of Target audiences not confined to just customers or prospects
Management of all forms of contact which may form the basis of marketing communications activities.
Effective management and integration of all promotional activities and people involved
All products/brands and corporate marketing communications efforts are incorporated.
Range of promotional tools; all elements of the promotional mix should be included (personal and non-personal communications).
Range of messages (not necessarily the same message).
Range of Media as defined as any vehicle able to transmit marketing communications messages and not just mass media.</li></ul>The Integrated Marketing Communications Model<br /> The simple communication model depicts the communications process where information moves from the sender in the form of the message, through the media to the receiver in a straight line with a few contingencies. <br />The full IMC process model however is more complicated. One that involve miscommunication through distortion and “noise” created as the sender decides on the message to be sent (encoding) and also as the sender tries to make sense out of them (decoding).<br />It involves the movement of information from the sender to the receiver as in the simple communications model, but this time in the marketing communications context where distortions within the movement of information are recognized. It also recognizes communication as a two way affair; the communication loop. The new IMC Model also recognizes the response of the receiver and the creation of brand equity.<br />2.0 OVERVIEW OF VANGUARD ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED<br />Background<br />Vanguard Assurance Company Limited is the first indigenous insurance company to be set up in the country. They are currently the third largest with respect to capital and customer base; and they aspire to be the first in some few years.<br />At inception, Vanguard offered only two classes of business - Life and Fire. Over the years, the company diversified its product portfolio and presently is a one-stop composite insurance company underwriting all the major classes of Life and Non-Life insurance.<br />Through prudent and efficient management, Vanguard has grown from strength to strength and for several successive years has been ranked among the top three insurance companies in Ghana.<br />In line with the requirements of the new insurance law Act 724 a new subsidiary, Vanguard Life Assurance Company Limited has been registered and licensed by the National Insurance Commission to handle life assurance while the main Vanguard Assurance handles Non-Life insurance business.<br />“At Vanguard Assurance, we are customer focussed; attention to customer needs is of utmost importance and drives our business. We do recognise that our customers’ need is the reason for our existence. To ensure that we do this well, we have a customer service unit which monitors and captures feedback as a tool to continually improve our service and meet each customer’s need” The Chief Executive Overseer, Vanguard Assurance Company Limited, 2010.<br />We chose Vanguard Life Assurance Company Limited because of some key traits of IMC we discovered across its customer-audience relationship management.<br />For three consecutive years Vanguard Assurance Company Limited won the best Insurance Company of the year. Their success can be attributed to a number of reasons;<br />Reasons for the successes<br /><ul><li>Their dedication to meeting customer needs and expectations
Their quality products and services which focus on excellence
Their demonstrated ability and dedication to honour claims and other financial obligations
Their long tradition of taking prudent investment decisions
Their strong management team and dedicated staff serve clients and prospects in consistence with professional insurance practices.
Their ability to respond promptly and positively to growing and changing customer needs and other relevant environmental factors. </li></ul>3.0 INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION IN VANGUARD ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED<br />“In Vanguard Assurance Company Limited the concept of integrated marketing communications in well understood.” The manager told us upon our visit to their head office at Ridge West Road, Accra. <br />The true benefits of IMC are realized when the true definition of IMC is done in the right manner. When this is done various components of the promotional tool are co-ordinated successfully. <br />In Vanguard, no activity in the organization sends its own message but consistent messages are communicated across board. The various promotional tools do not stand alone but enforces one another to create a synergistic effect.<br />The Integrated Marketing Communication Quality of Integration Profile measures the extent to which a company coordinates and manipulates all aspects of the organization to ensure maximum effectiveness in its communication with target audience. IMC in Vanguard will be measured with respect to the degree at which market communication is done and its effectiveness.<br />In measuring the quality of integration, the IMC “Quality of Integration” is used in this analysis with practical examples.<br />IMC “Quality of Integration” Dimensions<br />The IMC Profile has nine (9) DIMENSIONS<br /><ul><li>Promotional Mix Integration
Promotional Mix with Marketing Mix Integration
Geographical Integration</li></ul>IMC DIMENSION (1) Promotional Mix Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of all relevant marketing communications and promotional elements. The four promotional elements which are;<br /><ul><li>Advertisement
Personal Selling</li></ul>These four elements need to be propelled in a manner as to send one convincing message to target audience. In Vanguard, personal selling is a major promotional tool used, as the nature of products offered makes it more or less the most effective tool to use. Sales executive usually have adequate information and knowledge with respect to the product before encountering actual or potential customers.<br />Advertisements are made on the television, on the radio and on the internet about the products Vanguard Assurance Company Limited offers the market. There are countless numbers of paid non-personal presentations done for Vanguard Assurance Company Limited. One can make mention of their presence in the newspapers, on the billboards and on the television as well.<br />Public Relations in the form of publicity are done in the graphics and newspapers. On the television we see vanguard appearing in news lines and less-than-fifteen-minutes programs on vanguard sponsorships given to students and how it has helped them. Sponsorships, lobbying and event management are other key areas of public relations in Vanguard.<br />-304800-333375Sales promotions are used in Vanguard as well. One can make mention of the on-going promotion which is awarding any customer who buys a comprehensive insurance policy for more than five hundred Ghana Cedis the chance to win a Toyota Fortuner.<br />The first dimension of the Quality of Integration Profile examines the extent to which all of these promotional tools are integrated effectively. <br />The Promotional Mix Integration<br />19050-3810<br />Effective integration is done when all the promotional tools are made to complement one another. In Vanguard television advertisements are sometimes made of scenes from the promotions they may be running. One can mention the paintings on the taxis Vanguard issued to the hardworking drivers as another form of advertisement embedded in a sponsorship package.<br />Personal Selling in Vanguard is not only done to make sales but also to promote sales. As one can figure out from the diagram, items do not fall strictly into its generic promotional category but you find them falling over the boarders as well. This shows how the various elements interact to create excellent integration.<br />IMC DIMENSION (2) Promotional Mix with Marketing Mix Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of the promotional mix with the rest of the marketing mix to ensure consistency. All aspects of the marketing mix have communications implications. This dimension defines how well the promotional mix explained above comes into perfect coexistence with the four Ps. The four Ps are;<br /><ul><li>Product
Place</li></ul>The Marketing Mix is made to elicit a consistent message as the promotional tools only when they are managed together in an effective manner. In Vanguard the products, price, and place have strong links with the promotional mix. The promotion mentioned earlier for instance, is very price sensitive by awarding the Toyota Fortuner to a customer who buys a comprehensive insurance policy which exceeds five hundred Ghana Cedis and comes up as a lucky winner in a final draw.<br />Talk of place; one can find Vanguard anywhere there is business. Personal Selling is used in the market centres to roll market women on board Vanguard Policies. At lorry stations and such places, direct marketing is used to monitor the expiring date of its vehicle insurance policies, write them off discounts and renew their policies for them as soon as they expire.<br />Finally Vanguard Assurance Company Limited promotions are done especially with respect to specific products. The company is most often promoted as well. Most corporate insurance businesses require specialist and assets evaluation experts to come up with the premium payable. Goods in Transit, Money in Transit, General Employee Insurance and many others are all other products of Vanguard which contribute to a greater percentage of their profits. The Vehicle Insurance make up the masses of their businesses and due to its inelastic demand, that is , at any price consumers will have to purchase it because it is made compulsory by the government, it contributes to a significant and sturdy portion of the income that comes into the company annually.<br />IMC DIMENSION (3) Creative Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of the creative treatments and messages across media and approaches. As heard from the CEO, there are clearly creative means through which Vanguard tries to entice their customers to create profitable relationships in the exchange transactions. <br />The challenging nature of the Insurance industry has morphed Vanguard to devote so much to research and development. This can be associated with the reason why they are one of the best. Vanguard is known on the market as the first to come up with new policies or products before the other insurance companies imitate them. Creative Integration done in Vanguard can be traced from the innovative means of cutting operations cost to offering products to customers at affordable prices.<br />As insurance is defined as the pooling together of risks, the large customer base is manipulated in a creative way to charge less premiums but honour claims and pay other financial obligations as well.<br />IMC DIMENSION (4) Intra-organisation Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of the different parts within the organisation involved with planning and producing marketing communications. This essential as it is typical that many individuals carry out marketing communications activities from telephonists, call centre and reception staff, to sales staff, to different departments within the organization.<br />Every employee in Vanguard has a target number of customers to bring in by the end of the month, irrespective of whether the employee is a marketing personnel or no, or a line or functional employee, from the top management the lowest operational level employee.<br />Also, even the receptionist in Vanguard can make a sale if a prospect passes by. Telephonists and experienced customer service points are set aside for each department to answer any question on any of their traditional products or a product they may be pilot testing.<br />Taking a good look at the IMC Mix Model above, the company image, customer service, shareholders communication and many aspects of the organization are integrated to enforce and complement the motto “WE ALWAYS STAND BY YOU”.<br />Not to mention the research and development department liaising with the marketing department and other department of the company to test products and ideas on the market. In the course of doing this, the premium administration department, the customer relations, accounts department, and other affected departments are correlated in a manner as to arrive at the desired results.<br />IMC DIMENSION (5) Inter-organisation Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of the agencies and individuals who are external to the organisation but who are involved in producing marketing communications. For example, advertising agencies, printers, designers, exhibition specialists, PR consultancies, and many others.<br />The versatile and changing consumer tastes is complemented by the high nature of research and development. Vanguard always keeps stocks at economic order quantity in other not to waste resources. Receipts, policy documents and other materials are ordered in quantities not to run out and yet a sharp change in the policy details be easily implemented. <br />Finally, exhibition specialists make the blue and white colours of the company a part of the occasion Vanguard is present.<br />IMC DIMENSION (6) Information and Database Systems Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of information and database systems. These are critical in today’s organisational operations. Systems vary from the simple to the sophisticated. They can be very sophisticated. Some argue that they are life blood of any marketing oriented company.<br />Vanguard keeps a detail record of its customers. This is to help approach the customers with a renewal policy as the existing one is about expiring. They do this by calling them on their cell phones or posting a reminder letter into the mail box.<br />The database is well kept and managed as the Information and Database Systems Integration is a key means through which vanguard maintain its market share and adds on new ones.<br />Online claims delivery is an integral aspect of Vanguard’s insurance services delivery and at Vanguard Assurance they pride themselves with excellent claims response and settlement which would otherwise not be the case without their customers.<br />Advertisements are done on the internet, on the web pages and also customers are given the opportunity to interact with the business online.<br />IMC DIMENSION (7) Target Audience Integration<br />It is be clear that IMC involves a variety of audiences. Messages and media need to be integrated for successful IMC. This does not mean that everything needs to be the same. Integration involves knowing when things need to be kept apart and having mechanisms to do this. Messages intended for one audience need not be identical to another. For this reason, Vanguard sends a very strict message across enforcing the slogan “we always stand by you”.<br />“We always stand by you” is an image which all the promotional tools and internal organs of Vanguard seek to position in the mind of its customers or target audience a very strong corporate image. <br />The concept of target audience integration involves not just targeting the consumers or customers but also the publics, media, relatives and other decision making units who are all part of the total audiences and play a very important role in the consumer purchase decision making behaviour.<br />IMC DIMENSION (8) Corporate and Utilised Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of corporate, company communications as well as individual brand communications. IMC may also involve communications about individuals in the company. Good examples are Richard Branson for Virgin or the way leaders of political parties are promoted as key personalities.<br />The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Vanguard Life Assurance Company Limited, Mr Gedion Amenyedor is known for what his company does. They are known for quick claims payments and good sales personnel. <br />Sales executives in Vanguard are known for their ability to display perfect presentations of the various products they have. Good presentation and communication skills, smart and neat looks and perfectly organized staff are key elements vanguard is known for.<br />IMC DIMENSION (9) Geographical Integration<br />Successful IMC requires integration of marketing communications in different areas, regions and countries. This is particularly evident in international marketing contexts. Decisions may involve ensuring complete consistency/standardisation or adapting the marketing communications approaches for different countries. <br />Vanguard has its agent at any place one can assume there may be prospects. In the Market places you find Vanguard right among them. At lorry stations Vanguard is always there to remind them of an insurance Policy renewal. Across the country, Vanguard has its branches in all the ten regions of Ghana but refuses to go international. <br />IMC “Quality of Integration” Profile<br />To construct the IMC “Quality of Integration” Profile, these nine different dimensions are used to form the vertical axis of the Profile. The horizontal axis is a scale against which each dimension is assessed. The scale is a measure of the synergy (positive or negative) that has been achieved. It is a continuum from very strong dysfunction (that is the way in which marketing communications work against each other in a negative way).<br /> <br />Putting the dimensions and the scale together we have the IMC “Quality of Integration” Profile. The easiest way to use it is in the assessment of individual campaigns at brand and corporate levels<br />A completed profile<br />According to the chart, creative integration has been assessed as having very strong synergy which means that creative treatments and messages have been integrated well. Geographical integration has been assessed as having strong dysfunction.<br />By reviewing the profile it is possible to highlight areas that need most work, raising questions about why that is so and what can be done about it.<br />4.0 CONCLUSION<br />In summary, Vanguard Assurance has a good marketing program. They are a well known organization that comes out with innovative products and policies and all this can be linked to how they incorporate IMC in their daily and strategic moves. This can again be attributed to the reason why they have a competitive edge over their competitors.<br />Integrated Marketing Communications is done in many companies all over the world. Today companies cannot exist without adopting the concepts of IMC, yet the extent to which this is done differs from place to place. No one is able to achieve perfection and Vanguard is no exception. The models in used above however, come together to represent a clear state of how IMC is done in Vanguard. <br />Other practical examples of how IMC is exhibited in Vanguard include<br /><ul><li>National Taxi Drivers Awards