Discussion of the concept Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is highly debatable with many varied views. This paper aims to discuss then main definitions, issues, dimensions benefits and barriers surrounding the concept/process. Definition of IMC
The definition of integrated marketing communications continues to evolve and there is no shared agreement or meaning. Duncan and Everett (1993) claimed that it is hard to reach a definition of IMC because it is a process and concept. Scholars, agencies and clients all seem to have their own views because they all perceive it and use the concept/process differently. Agencies and clients use it as management practice to increase efficiency and boost the overall effectiveness off marketing communications. Scholars assess it in an academic manner, breaking down the key elements to critically assess. IMC is still in the transition process as it continues to extend its boundaries beyond traditional media and marketing tools. (Lee, D.H. and Park C.W. 2007) IMC is essentially a concept/process under which companies systematically coordinate the different areas of marketing communications to work together to form a coherent message, position, image or “one voice” often characterized as seamless marketing communication. (Nowak, Glen J., and Joseph Phelps 1994). IMC is strategically designing messages to convey one consistent message about the perceived brand value of a product. (Duncan and Everett 1993)
Issues of IMC
One of the main challenges that IMC faces is whether it is valid or is it just another management ‘fad’? It has been described as just traditional marketing glamorised, suggesting that it is not new and it has few management implications. (Schultz & Kitchen 1997) IMC cannot be measured hence it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of incorporating IMC rather than using traditional approaches. Measures of IMC cannot be systematically developed because there is a lack of consensus of what actually constitutes IMC. This will continue to be a barrier to develop sound measures of IMC and therefore the efforts in determining its effect on the existing marketing communication practice. (Phelps and Johnson, 1996) (Lee, D.H. & Park C.W. 2007) Developing IMC is the first step but organisations must also focus their attention on sustaining it. Employees need to support the process and this can be achieved by changing the culture of the organisation. There are issues surrounding this such as a bureaucratic organisation does not allow employees to have an open attitude which can limit their creative ability which is the beginning of communication. Dimensions of IMC
IMC evolved because there was need for the communication actions to send out ‘one identity’ through various communication channels. (Lee, D.H. and Park C.W. 2007) It sees that expressing a consistent message has added-value because it continues to reinforce a brand, product or service. The efforts of one individual reinforce another individual thus the result is greater than if each individual selected their own message strategy. (Duncan and Everett 1993)
For IMC to work effectively, departments must work together harmoniously and feel that each department has valuable information and resources. Ruekert & Walker’s (1987) said that this will promote interaction and resource flows between the two departments. Gronstedt’s research suggests that “‘integrated’ approaches are necessary because most of the work related to achieve communication cuts across different knowledge and skill domains.” (Cornelissen, J.P., Lock, A.R. & Gardner, H. 2001) Media Neutral Planning (MNP) is an aspect of IMC and evolved because of the increasing levels of fragmentation and the rising prices of media costs (TV). The approach aims to change the emphasis on using TV as a media channel and utilize other media channels that are more audience focused. Fill, C. (2005) Drivers of IMC
Technology has been one of the main...