Answer: Integrated marketing communications can be defined as the process used to unify marketing communication elements, such as public relations, social media, and advertising, into a brand message that remains consistent across distinct media channels. It allows public and private organizations and businesses to deliver an engaging and seamless consumer experience for a product, service, or the organization itself. Professionals with a background in integrated marketing might pursue employment throughout the marketing and communications industries, in areas such as social media marketing, digital media, journalism, market research and consulting, public relations, non-profit and government, entertainment, television and radio, and other related fields.

Integrated marketing communications is a multi-disciplinary field that combines traditional and new media practices. By using its theories and strategies, marketing specialists, public relations directors, brand managers, digital media associates, social media marketers, and other media professionals can create, execute, and track multi-channel advertising and communication messages that target and influence specific audiences. Relying on data-driven marketing, instead of general, mass media marketing, integrated marketing communications leverages consumer attitudes, shopping patterns, and buying preferences to deliver impactful advertisements and brand messaging. Its influence can be seen throughout modern society, in website display advertisements, enterprise blogs, search engine optimization, newspaper editorials, outdoor billboards, magazine advertisements, and more.

Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication Programs

Master’s in integrated marketing communications programs introduce students to the foundational principles behind marketing communication disciplines, ranging from direct marketing to digital media. Students gain an understanding of the practices and strategies used to create, launch, and measure effective marketing initiatives that engage with today’s consumers across different media channels. These programs cover the major elements of marketing communication (e.g. advertising, public relations, display marketing), teaching students how to meld those distinct elements into a unified brand message and experience for consumers. Students develop skills in audience-based research analysis (e.g. implementing consumer surveys), strategic communication techniques (e.g. marketing copy writing), social media strategies (e.g. creating social campaigns), and more.

Integrated marketing communication master’s programs explore topics throughout marketing communications, including marketing research, mobile marketing, branding and brand strategy, marketing mix analysis, consumer behavior, direct marketing, digital and social marketing, business analytics and data visualization, and public relations. In addition to applied skill development, these programs also may offer courses that allow students to explore broader topics in the field, such as how emerging media influences consumer behaviors and shopping patterns; how social media is altering the notion of consumer engagement with a brand, service or product; or how airlines communicate with and market to prospective customers.

For additional information about master’s in integrated marketing communication programs, including degree requirements and sample course plans, please refer to our Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication Programs page.

Careers in Integrated Marketing Communications

A degree in integrated marketing communication can lead to numerous career paths throughout the public and private sectors, in areas such as market research, public relations, digital and social media, consulting, higher education, government and nonprofits, information technology, and more. Individuals with a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications might pursue employment opportunities with marketing agencies, design firms, digital and social media agencies, private corporations, public relations agencies, market research companies, consulting firms, or any other organization or business that works in the marketing or communication space.

Effective marketing communication is critical for establishing relationships with potential and current consumers, creating efficient information exchange for product development, and maintaining brand reputation, as well as advertising and selling products and services. Integrated marketing communication professionals are vital to the entire marketing process, helping synthesize and unify messaging for a company, its brand, services, and products to drive audience engagement. While career options vary by industry, below are several career paths graduates of master’s programs in integrated marketing communications might pursue:

  • Public Relations Director: Public relations directors oversee the public facing and internal communications for an organization, including developing and executing strategic initiatives to improve its reputation among consumers, the public, and stakeholders. They typically supervise a staff of public relations professionals, manage large communication projects, and consult with senior leadership on long-term public relations strategies that align with the organization’s value, mission, and goals.
  • Marketing Director: From creating advertising concepts to developing multi-channel marketing campaigns, marketing directors translate a company’s brand and positioning statement into effective marketing practices. They use various tools, such as media analytics and customer relationship management software, to analyze consumer and audience behavior patterns and shape advertising initiatives that drive interest in the company’s services or products.
  • Marketing Specialist: Typically working under the supervision of a marketing director, marketing specialists develop, execute, and track marketing campaigns for businesses or organizations. Whether conducting audience research, writing campaign copy, buying media, or crafting a look and feel to a display advertisement, these professionals handle the entire end-to-end spectrum of setting up effective marketing campaigns. Throughout their work, marketing specialists use data gathering and analytics technology in order to evaluate the impact of their marketing initiatives on consumer behavior and the perception of their company’s brand(s), so that they can adjust their strategies accordingly.
  • Director of Consumer Affairs: Directors of consumer affairs handle a company’s relationship with both consumers and the general public, including overseeing customer service processes and representatives. They manage consumer education, deal directly with customer questions, and deal with client-based complaints regarding products or services.