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Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

Introduction of Integrated Marketing Communication


Schultz (1993) defined integrated marketing communications (IMC) as a process for managing
customer relationships that drive brand value primarily through communication efforts. Such
efforts often include cross-functional processes that create and nourish profitable relationships
with customers and other stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all messages
sent to these groups and encouraging data-driven, purposeful dialog with them. According to
Percy et al. (2001) planning and execution of all marketing communications are required in a
same way to meet the objective. Process of producing and applying the different communication
programs and the probability to have impact in future over time, overall IMC process starts with
the customer and work to determine and define the methods and forms to develop the influential
communications programs (Schultz, 1993). Raman and Naik (2005) defined the IMC in
following words, an IMC program plans and executes various marketing activities with
consistency so that its total impact exceeds the sum of each activity. It is a strategy in which
different communication tools like advertising, public relations, sales promotion, direct
marketing and personal selling work together to maximize the communication impact on target
consumers (en.wikipedia.org).

Overview of IMC
The initial research on the concept of IMC began in the early 1990s and has attracted increasing
widespread attention amongst academics & practitioners. There are many reasons encouraging
the growth of IMC and is largely as a result of changes in the external environment. This is due
in part to the growing numbers of alternative communication media and promotional tools
available to marketers and to the increasing fragmentation of markets (Stewart 1996). Mass
media usually focused on the creation of a single message to its audience. However, audiences
are shrinking which means in many situations a single audience is no longer economically viable
(Fill 2009). Technology is driving the need and demand for integration (Shultz 1996).
It is argued the days of selling mass-produced goods to a mass market through mass media are
largely over. Advertising as we know it is no longer able to keep up to the task on its own. It will
need to learn new ways of increasing customer interaction and working outside the broadcast
Amit Pathak || 14325, MBA 5th

Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

media (Smith & Taylor 2004). Clients have begun to re-orient their communications away from
mass media approaches to increased level of interaction with customers; the structural
inadequacies of the marketing communication industry have served to constrain them. IMC has
emerged partially as a reaction to this structural inadequacy. This trend away from traditional
communication strategies based on mass communication has played a part in the development of
IMC (Fill 2009).

One of the principle benefits derived from integrated marketing

communications is synergy. By bringing together the various facets of the marketing


communications in a mutually supportive way enhances the resulting whole (Pickton &
Broderick 2005).

Objective
There are always some specific objectives behind every strategy and these objectives are the end
results of that strategy. IMC strategy of communication is also focused to achieve specific
objectives. Katrandjiev (2000) described two conflicting objectives of IMC as

To achieve considerable sales and


To build a strong brand image.

Schultz (1993) said that objective of IMC is to influence the behavior of target audience. The
ultimate goal of IMC is to setup customer oriented sensibilities, help in resource allocation,
achieve competitive advantage and develop business process in all direction of organization and
its operations that add value for its customer (researchandmarkets.com). Despite these major
objectives, there are some common objectives like create brand awareness, favorable customer
attitude and to drive business & revenue (ehow.com).

IMC vs Traditional Marketing Communication


IMC differs from traditional marketing communication in number of ways. Traditional
Marketing communication can be defined as a business or action of selling services and products
and also promoting the services or products being sold; whereas integrated marketing
communications is a management concept where all the facets of marketing communications
Amit Pathak || 14325, MBA 5th

Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

work together as one rather than as isolated aspects. For instance, the Traditional Marketing
Communication (TMC) channels like TV, print media, physical public relations, trade fairs etc.
are still active and prominent in MC, the presences of the Internet and more specifically the
Social Media which is one of the integral part of Integrated Marketing Communication has
revolutionized the way individuals and business enterprises communicate. Even though at the
initial stage the Internet was perceived as a virtual announcement board but in recent years, it
has evolved steadily and has constructively incorporates the Social media. Besides this, some of
the differences of these two approaches are mentioned below:
Integrated Marketing Communication
Traditional Marketing Communication
Marketing integrated into one
Marketing is partitioned.
Customer-Oriented: start with the customer Organization-Oriented: start with the goals and
needs and wants
Coherent communication programs
Brand/Relationship building objective
Targeted to stakeholder segment

product
Breaking communication programs
Short-term sales objective
Widespread audience

Components of IMC

The Foundation - corporate image and brand management; buyer behavior; promotions

opportunity analysis.
Advertising Tools - advertising management, advertising design: theoretical frameworks
and types of appeals; advertising design: message strategies and executional frameworks;

advertising media selection. Advertising also reinforces brand and firm image.
Promotional Tools - trade promotions; consumer promotions; personal selling, database
marketing, and customer relations management; public relations and sponsorship

programs.
Integration Tools - Internet Marketing; IMC for small business and entrepreneurial
ventures; evaluating and integrated marketing program

Factors Influencing IMC

Amit Pathak || 14325, MBA 5th

Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

Every strategy is influenced by different factors which influence in different ways depends upon
the nature of the goal behind strategy. There are different factors that influence the IMC.
According to Schultz (1996), Readers are more likely to pay attention to your communications if
you make your message relevant to them. Savvy marketers sell the benefits of their products,
rather than the features. Talk about your customers needs, rather than about yourself. Reid
(2005) considers that anyone can buy an ad that says their product is the best. Consumers want to
know they will get what they paid for when they shop, and offering reassurance will get their
attention. Do this by using a credible expert or celebrity to endorse your product. List your
qualifications or awards won after youve grabbed potential customers attention with your
benefits. According to Vargas (2005) Marketers often have to fight clutter, or the competition
from other advertisers in magazines or newspapers or on radio and TV stations. Your headline
must grab consumers attention or they might tune out what follows. Start your ads with a
question consumers will want to hear answered or by demonstrating a problem they have.

Effectiveness of IMC:
In an article by Raul Danny Vargas (2005) ,An effective IMC process comprises the following
steps:

Identify the target audiences: this requires a well thought out market segmentation and

targeting process which may include secondary and/or primary market research.
Determine the communications objectives: as stated previously, this can range from

generating awareness to countering the competition.


Design the messaging content: this is an absolutely critical component. Effective

messaging can make or break a promotional effort.


Select the means for communications.
Define the mix of media, budget and priorities.
Measure the effectiveness of the efforts.

Marketing communications comprises five broad categories: personal selling, advertising, public
relations, direct marketing and sales promotions. Each has its own set of pros and cons and can
be accomplished in a variety of ways. However, the key is to look at the available options in a
comprehensive way and to ensure consistency throughout the selected media.
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Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

Challenges for IMC


One of the main discussions that arise on the subject of IMC is the definition of what Integrated
marketing communications is. The concept still lacks a clear and consistent definition and is one
of the many reasons why IMC is criticized. Various definitions have stressed IMC as being a
process but differ on how the aim is achieved. It is not easy to develop and implement a strategy.
When going to develop and implement strategy, organization faces many barriers. As IMC has
more benefits for the Agency and Company, but it faces many obstacles in developmental
process. According to Moriarty (1994) cross-disciplinary managerial skills are considerable
obstacles to IMC. Duncan and Everett (1993) described the egos (consider superior I myself to
others) and turf battles (competition to achieve a segment) as primary barrier to integration.
Eagle and Kitchen (2000) recognized four groups of possible obstacles to IMC success; these
groups contain control issues, resources issues, cultural issues and flexibility issues. Schultz
(2001) considered the concept of campaign as a problem in IMC, because IMC focus on longterm relationship building while campaign is executed for the short-term. Tsikirayi, Muchenje
and Katsidzira (2012) found budgetary restrictions and poor quality product as barrier in
planning and implementing the IMC. Due to budget restriction, promotion can be of poor quality
and undermine the sale of good quality product, while poor quality product can neglect the
impact of good promotion due to boycott of product by the users.

Conclusion
It is worthy to note that many companies still rely on one or two marketing communication tools
in their attempt at achieving their marketing communication objectives. This practice persists
despite growing sophistication of consumers, dynamic nature of the market, growing competition
in most industrial sectors and the need for efficient allocation of marketing communication
budgets. Yet, the wide range of marketing communication tools, messages and audiences make it
imperative for companies to move towards the IMC approach in an effort to ensure clarity of
messages, consistency, credible and a competitive message cross to target audience. One
strategic benefit of IMC is that it helps produce stronger messages, consistent and consequently
Amit Pathak || 14325, MBA 5th

Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

greater sales impact. IMC helps in improving the companys ability to reach the right customers
with the right message at the right time in the right place and eliciting the right response. It has
been stressed that the use of IMC reduces media waste (reduction in cost of promotion) and helps
in promoting and improving the companys competitive edge.

Amit Pathak || 14325, MBA 5th

Literature Review

Integrated Marketing Communication

References
IMC and Marketing Comparison. (2009). Retrieved on December 03, 2012 from,
http://www.writework.com/essay/imc-and-marketing-comparison
Akers, H.The Steps in Developing an Integrated Marketing Communication
Plan.Retrieved on November 28, 2012 from, http://www.smallbusiness.chron.com
Chang, Y. and Thorson, E. (2004). Television And Web Advertising Synergies, Journal
of Advertising, 33(2), pp. 75-84.
Kotler, P. (2006). Integrated Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Communications,
pp. 338. Prentice Hall PTR.
Integrated Marketing Communication. Retrieved on November 09, 2012
fromhttp://www.v5.books.elsevier.com/bookscat/samples/9780750663618/9780750
663618.PDF
Chang, Y. and Thorson, E. (2004). Television And Web Advertising Synergies, Journal
of Advertising, 33(2), pp. 75-84. Duncan, T.R. and Everett, S.E. (1993).
Client Perceptions of Integrated Communications, Journal of Advertising Research,
32(3), pp. 30-39. Eagle, L.C. and Kitchen, P.J. (2000). IMC, Brand Communications
and Corporate Cultures: Client/Advertising Agency Co-ordination and Cohesion,
European Journal of Marketing, 34(5/6), pp. 667-686.
Raul Danny Vargue, Business Ventures (2005),

Amit Pathak || 14325, MBA 5th