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Integrated Marketing Communications

Overview of Program

Integrated marketing communications is an interdisciplinary major offered jointly by the communication arts and business administration programs. This new major will give students a solid background in a developing field. It emphasizes the importance of integrating public relations, marketing and social media strategies to communicate with customers and company clients. The American Marketing Association defines integrated marketing communica- tion as "a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time." With an increasingly diverse society, it is no longer enough to develop an advertising campaign that aims at the broadest possible audience. Niche marketing that develops and integrates the message of the organization and targets it across media is the wave of the future.

Hood's major in integrated marketing communications is distinguished by its interdisciplinary nature. While many institutions offer similar programs, most are administered either by a communications department or a business administration department. Today, marketing, public relations, social media and advertising are integrated functions. Hood's major offers a full complement of classes in both communications and business administration, providing a more balanced IMC education and better serving students as they move forward academically and professionally. This major focuses on both the man- agement function of public relations and marketing professionals, and the communication functions of developing a brand identity and marketing it across a variety of media to a target audience. It combines courses from both disciplines in a way that students learn the theory of organizations; the process of communicating information about a product, service or organization; the role of the marketing and public relations professional within an organization; and the central importance of the consumer in making decisions.

Students who complete the integrated marketing communications major will: understand the role of the marketing and public relations professional within an organization; understand the role of the consumer and be able to research and identify a target audience for a business, product or service; develop effective written, visual and social media strategies to reach that target audience; understand the financial implications of various marketing and public relations strategies; understand the legal and ethical limits of communicating with the public; and apply public relations, social media and marketing techniques to develop an effective integrated campaign to promote a business, product or service.

Career Prospects and Internship Opportunities

The types of careers that a student with this major would likely pursue, including in such areas as public relations, advertising, promotions and marketing, are forecast to grow by 14 to 21 percent between now and 2020. All students majoring in integrated marketing communications are required to complete at least one practical experience in their junior or senior year. Internships are available both in the summer and during the academic year.

In the past, Hood students planning a career in either public relations or marketing have interned at both for-profit and not-for-profit organiza- tions in the Frederick, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas. Students have completed internships and work projects at sites such as:

  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Celebrate Frederick
  • Ceresville Mansion
  • Downtown Frederick Partnership
  • Experient
  • Flying Dog Brewery
  • Frederick County Chamber of Commerce
  • Frederick Memorial Hospital
  • Frederick Tourism Council
  • General Motors
  • Great Frederick Fair
  • Goodwill of Monocacy Valley
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • High Rock Marketing
  • nterfaith Housing Association
  • Maryland Ensemble Theatre
  • Meritus Medical Center
  • Maryland Special Olympics
  • RelyLocal
  • Weber Shandwick-Baltimore
  • Weinberg Center for the Arts

In addition, students gained real-world experience partnering with General Motors to create an integrated marketing campaign for the regional launch of the Chevy Spark.

At many of these sites, including Downtown Frederick Partnership, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Great Frederick Fair, Meritus Medical Center and Weber Shandwick, interns work with Hood alums. Alumni have also joined such organizations as Fila, Experient and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Extracurricular Opportunities

All students have the opportunity to join the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), a national pre-professional organization in this field. In addition to the practical and professional contacts and experiences available, there are many opportunities for leadership within this organization.

Students can also choose to join the Hood College chapter of Enactus. With the aim of developing "a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world," this student organization provides a platform to connect with a community of forward-thinking innovators and offers hands-on opportunities to participate in service learning.

Learn more about the department.