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Integrated Marketing Communications Offers Innovative Degree at Ole Miss

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When the Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2010, the department began to develop new programs for Ole Miss students to choose beyond old-fashioned journalism and public relations. Integrated Marketing Communications is a new major in the Meek School focused on combining journalistic writing skills and business sense for a well-rounded degree.

Integrated Marketing Communications:

  1. Is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.
  2. Recognizes the value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines – advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion and combines them to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact.
  3. Combines the traditional areas of marketing communications with business skills in marketing, finance, statistics, and organizational behavior to form a unique program on the cutting edge of marketing communications and customer relationship management.

integratedThe definitions vary but one thing is clear: Integrated Marketing Communications, otherwise known as IMC, is innovative and progressive. It is not a new concept but has recently gotten more attention not only in the workplace but in education as well.

I am an integrated marketing communications major at the University of Mississippi, and I have never been as passionate about something as I have been about my major. I have taken classes for the last three years that cover everything from account planning to media buying. The professors are enthusiastic about not only the classes but the students and their futures. My professors have given me confidence, and I can truthfully say that I will be going into the work force with real world experience.

The No. 1 thing I detest about my major is that other students think I am simply earning an “Mrs. Degree,” as it’s so kindly called on Ole Miss campus. Granted, I don’t take organic chemistry or calculus which are incredibly difficult classes, but that does not make my major insignificant. Being an IMC major does not make me any less intelligent than an engineering or pharmacy major and it certainly does not make my future job less important. Simply stated, IMC is difficult in its own way. Students have to write (and write well), develop excellent public speaking skills, plan and present entire marketing plans, design advertisements, and communicate effectively with others, among other things. Those skills will prove to be invaluable in a future job, and will be essential in keeping the business world running.

“Being able to tell your story and tell it really well is the root of IMC,” Scott Fiene, the program director of the IMC program at Ole Miss explains. “It’s how to communicate, how to persuade, how to influence, but also it allows you have to knowledge of the business world.”

integrated-marketingFiene has extensive knowledge of the integrated marketing communications field with well over 15 years of experience in marketing. His expertise is well received in the IMC program at Ole Miss and is one of the most well-liked and respected professors. Personally, Fiene is my favorite professor, and I have gone to him on many occasions for guidance to which he has been more than helpful. As I sat down to interview him for this article, Fiene asked why I was so determined to explain to others what the IMC program was. After an explanation, he was shocked that people could consider such an important area of study irrelevant.

“IMC is understanding all the way organizations communicate and send messages,” he explained. “for example, say a pharmacist develops a new drug that can cure cancer but how does he communicate to the public the benefits of this new drug without a communications or marketing plan?”

That’s what IMC helps to do- how to communicate messages, how to control those messages, make them credible, and impactful.

“The world is wide open to IMC students because skills are in great demand and employers are looking for the skills you learn in the program,” Fiene said. “and if you decide ten years down the road that your career isn’t what you want to do, you have the ability and degree to try something else.”

Integrated Marketing Communications has increasingly become more important in today’s marketplace and allows businesses to strategically make decisions and communicate with clients. It provides original skills and a new way of thinking that can greatly contribute to businesses around the world. Organizations can no longer rely on traditional business practices because of the ever changing marketplace and integrated marketing communications is the key to the future.

Lindsey Andrews is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at lnandre1@go.olemiss.edu.

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