Imc in Us Advertising

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Integrated marketing communications in U.S. advertising agencies: An exploratory study Author: Schultz, Don E; Kitchen, Philip J Source: Journal of Advertising Research v37n5, (Sep/Oct 1997): p.7-18 (Length: 12 pages) ISSN: 0021-8499 Number: 01552524 Copyright: Copyright Advertising Research Foundation 1997

Schultz, Don E, Philip J. Kitchen, "Integrated marketing communications in U.S. advertising agencies: An exploratory study," Journal of Advertising Research, vol.37, no.5, Sep/Oct 1997, pp.7-18. [pic]


This paper reviews the development of the concept of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in terms of its theoretical foundations through an exploratory study of IMC within a judgment sample of U.S. advertising agencies (total estimated billings-$20.4 billion). The paper considers the arguments advanced from both academic and practitioner sides in relation to what IMC is and whether it offers significant value to advertising agencies and their clients in the rapidly changing communications marketspace leading toward the next millennium.

THIS PAPER IS ONE OF A SERIES relating to a continuing, now becoming worldwide, investigation of the emergent concept and field of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). The original research in this field began in 1991 by faculty at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, in the United States (Caywood et al., 1991). This paper extends knowledge on how the concept of IMC is diffusing by providing an initial analysis of data on how senior advertising agency executives perceive IMC use and development in the United States. It provides a perspective on the current state of IMC and levels of implementation and usage in an important segment of the marketing communications landscape. Additional studies will follow with advertising agencies in India, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway. A similar study has already been conducted in the United Kingdom. Results of that study are not included here.

This paper represents an interactive effort among three groups: the IMC faculty, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, U.S.; the Research Centre for Corporate and Marketing Communications, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.; and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), New York, NY, U.S. The second group was responsible for adapting and extending the original research study conducted by Northwestern University in 1991 (Caywood et al., 1991). The study was furthered by the support of the 4A's which provided not only a membership list of active agencies for questionnaire distribution but a cover letter of support as well.

The research explored three related objectives:
1. To deepen understanding of how and in what areas the IMC concept is developing in the United States 2. To examine the extent to which a group of major U.S. advertising agency executives are developing, practicing, or utilizing IMC on behalf of their clients. 3. To understand the importance and value of traditional advertising agencies in a marketplace where IMC is apparently becoming more important.

The research is predicated on the dynamic that there may well be wide variation and differing views concerning what IMC conceptually represents and how it might be practiced. Thus, the implementation of an integrated approach by advertising agencies for their clients may well differ not only in thought but in practice. Thus the paper is not necessarily concerned with either a consensual or conclusive mission. Its overall aim is to explore the multiple dimensions of the IMC concept, thus helping underpin future research.


Prior to the study conducted by Caywood et al. (1991) there appears to be little or no formal discussion or even description of what is now called Integrated Marketing Communications. While doubtless there had been practitioner discussions and trade press articles, the Northwestern study,...
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