Critically Discussed Issues Associated with Integrated Marketing Communications in the UK

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“Critically discussed issues, dimensions, benefits and barriers associated with IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) in relation to advertising strategy and planning in the UK” - by Chirag Rawal (BA in Marketing Management)

We begin defining the two main aspects of this study. Even though there are many different views, descriptions and definitions of these two terms, I find it easier to adapt the one stated by Tony Yeshin (2006) in his book ‘Advertising’; ‘advertising is paid-for non-personal communication from an identified organisation, body or individual designed to communicate information and to influence consumer behaviour’. IMC is ‘a concept of marketing communications planning that recognises the added value in a program that integrates a variety of strategic disciplines, for example, general advertising, direct response, sales promotion, and public relations – and consistency, and maximum communication impact’ (Schultz 1997).

Relationship between IMC and Advertising
IMC can be defined as a tree with its main branches being Advertising, Sales Promotion, Public Relations and Direct Marketing. Advertising is a part of the IMC structure and is proven to be one of the most powerful tools. However, Tony Yeshin explains to us that ‘advertisings position is being eroded dramatically as the other tools of marketing communications gain more widespread use.’ (Yeshin, 2006) For a second let’s take ourselves outside the UK and see whether advertisings position is eroding elsewhere. Looking at (Jones 1995) it is evident from his sources that even in the US, ‘where the amount of money spend on promotional activities is currently greater than spent on advertising’.

From this source one can see that this is becoming a frequent point. This is because some organisations such as mobile phone retailer ‘Carphone Warehouse’ may turn to other methods such as Direct Marketing approach to target their audiences. This seems to be a very effective method as it does not only raise awareness but also builds a strong relationship between the organisation and its customers/clients.

Advertising is most effective when it’s planned and is a part of a strong strategy. It may sound obvious and also may make one think that any other tool will be most effective if planned and part of a strong promotional strategy. But, every product can be aimed in different ways and advertising methods, for example, TV, national newspapers (i.e. The Times) etc, is most useful when large audiences need to be targeted. Tony Yeshin states that the ‘quarterly adspend in the UK reached its highest ever in 2003 at just over £3.9 billion’. This shows that Advertising is expensive and methods other than Television also play a significant part in this adspend; for example, ‘Outdoor and Radio’ (Yeshin, 2006). So advertising may not be eroding as believed but it may just be an expensive option to go for.

Organisation issues and dimensions considered
IMC is used by organisations as it is taken as a ‘cohesive and planned approach’ (Yeshin 2006) that helps by being consistent in using the tools of marketing communications to pass and deliver the message to the ‘range of target audiences, …in a synergistic manner’ (Yeshin 2006).

Van Reil et al. (1995) carried out survey by ‘interviewing 86 respondents; from which 47 (55%) were Clients and 49 (45%) were agency executives’. The organisation dimension mainly focused, yet considered was that ‘perceived influence of managerial and organisational characteristics on success of corporate communications campaign’ (Van Reil et al. 1995). I agree to an extent as I understand that main aim of communications campaign is to send a message to the potential target audience and the success of it lies in the way the campaign is approached and how effective the decision making is by the manager. IMC plays a role in ensuring that the communication techniques adapted is ‘consistent’ (Yeshin, 2006) and...
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