Integrated Marketing Communication

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IMC, brand communications, and corporate cultures Client/advertising agency co-ordination and cohesion Lynne Eagle, Philip J. Kitchen. European Journal of Marketing. Bradford: 2000. Vol. 34, Iss. 5/6; pg. 667 Abstract (Summary)

The concept of integrated marketing communication (IMC) has received considerable coverage in the literature, but even its most ardent supporters have noted problems in translating the concept into reality. Reports on an extensive two-phase study of the New Zealand advertising and marketing industry, undertaken as part of an international series of studies of IMC implementation and usage, which was conducted over the 1997-1998 period. The findings of the first phase, conducted in mid-1997, reveal a strong commitment to the integration of marketing communications (marcoms) by both marketers and advertising agencies. The study also revealed substantive differences in perception between these two groups as to how integrated marcom processes should be managed and/or outcomes evaluated. The second phase of the study was conducted in mid-1998. It focuses on an analysis of the extent to which leading organizations have implemented IMC. It also identifies and evaluates barriers and obstacles that have impeded progress in developing and implementing IMC programs, and reviews ways in which such problems have been tackled. Introduction

This paper explores the concept of integrated marketing communication (IMC) in terms of its value to marketers and the advertising agencies who service their needs, and examines the extent to which leading organizations from these two industry sectors have implemented IMC. It reviews how and in what ways firms have implemented IMC programmes and analyses barriers and obstacles that have (potentially) impeded progress in developing and implementing IMC. The definition of IMC used by the American Association of Advertising Agencies was used as a foundation for the empirical analysis, i.e.:"... a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communications disciplines, e.g. general advertising, direct response, sales promotion and public relations - and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact (cited in Duncan and Everett, 1993, p. 31)." Demonstrably, this definition has weaknesses, but at the time of the study was regarded as the most suitable definition that had been accepted by the world's largest marketing organization. Moreover, the same definition was used in other IMC studies around the world. New Zealand has moved from a highly regulated economy post-1945 to one of the world's least regulated economies by the late 1980s. The deregulation mostly occurred following the victory of Labour in 1984. Subsequently, advertising of newly deregulated imported products grew at a phenomenal rate, with some advertising campaigns producing questionable results. This may explain why pressure grew from the marketing community and from within the marketing communications industry to evaluate individual marketing communications elements and their cumulative synergies in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency. Considering New Zealand's small population of just under four million, and the fact that the marketing communications industry is almost totally located in two cities (75 per cent within Auckland alone, 20 per cent Wellington), industry wide experiences with the implementation of IMC programmes can be analyzed in a straightforward manner. Lessons learned can then be contrasted with, or perhaps implemented in, much larger markets, particularly in countries experiencing similar deregulative forces. Both the marketing and advertising industries are dominated by multinational organizations. For example, McDonalds, Cadbury, and Kimberly Clark are highly visible marketers. Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann Erickson are leading New Zealand...
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