The 7 criteria for assessing the efficiency of an integrated communication

More and more companies rely on social media to communicate the brand image to their customers.
However, communications are not always effective and efficient and small errors can lead to misunderstandings that in turn could damage the image and influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers.
It is important to consider the 7 criteria (“the 7C”) of the communications optimization model. They are useful to assess how well a marketing communication program is integrated both for short and long term sales.
Let’s find out what they are!


Coverage is the proportion of the target reached by the communications undertaken, and the level of overlap between them.


Companies must evaluate marketing communications against all the criteria of the communications optimization model taking into account the cost. This is to achieve the most effective and efficient communication program. To improve cost efficiency, social media managers can conduct tests (A/B tests, field experiments, etc.) using tracking measures that help predict return-on-investment (ROI).

Coverage and cost criteria therefore, reflect the efficiency of the communication plan compared to the actual cost to reach the right target.


The contribution reflects the main effect and ability of a marketing communication in creating the desired response and ideal effects in consumers in the absence of exposure to any other type of communication plan.


Commonality is the extent to which associations that consumers make are reinforced through all communication options. In other words, it is the extent to which the various communication options share the same meaning. Research about how consumers process information has found that a repeated message is more effective if it is presented in different ways rather than in one.


Communication options are more effective when used in tandem, even more when used in an appropriate sequence. Complementarity is the extent to which different associations and links are emphasized through various communications. For effective positioning, brands need to establish different associations in consumers and to do that they need to understand that there are more appropriate communication options for each goal that you want to achieve. For example, sponsoring a cause may improve the perception of a brand’s trust and credibility, but advertising on TV or in newspapers may be necessary to get the message across better.


As previously mentioned, tandem communications give more results because they can interact and create synergies with other types of communication through an appropriate sequence. For example, online promotions and solicitations can be more effective when combined with advertising. Awareness and attitudes created by advertising campaigns can increase the success of direct sales. Advertising can convey brand positioning and benefit from search engine marketing to have a stronger call to action.


In each integrated communication programs, consumers will encounter communications in different orders or sequences. Some types of messages may be new to certain consumers and already seen to others, and some may be preceded or followed by a different set of brand communications depending on the person. Compliance refers to the versatility of communication and the extent to which a particular marketing strategy “works” for multiple consumer targets, at any time and in any place.
A versatile communication achieves its goals regardless of the path that consumers have followed or will follow.

A fully integrated communication programs should work well on each of these seven integration criteria (coverage, cost, cross-effects, community, compliance, complementarity, contribution).
There are not necessarily intrinsic differences between the types of communication for contribution and complementarity because, in theory, any communication, if properly designed, can play a critical and unique role in achieving certain communication objectives.

The types of communication vary, however, in the extent and depth of coverage of the public and in terms of commonality and conformability depending on the number of modes used: the more modes are available with a type of communication, the greater its potential for commonality and conformability. In other words, the more a communication employs multiple modes, the more opportunities there are to combine such communication with another communication and to appeal to different recipients.