Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the most recent in a long line of marketing innovations widely endorsed by marketing and advertising academics and practitioners along the whole spectrum of industry and commerce in Britain and the USA. Despite its widespread perpetration in the marketing and advertising world, however, theorising upon the subject has been fraught with problems. This article emphasises and discusses one such problem: the rhetoric and teleological reasoning that has formed much of the core of IMC theory, rather than detailed empirical observations of actual changes in contemporary marketing communications and advertising practice. Collating the available evidence on US and UK marketing communications practices, the article argues that much of IMC’s legacy consists in providing a rhetoric of teleology and progress, rather than a descriptive theory of contemporary marketing communications practices. Recommendations for theorising about marketing communications management are made. More important, in communication systems the whole is
generally greater than the sum of the parts. It is this
increasing recognition of a holistic, systemic process of
communication in which there are all types of synergies
that will inevitably drive the acceptance and use of
integrated marketing and communication programs.with writers in the popular and academic marketing and management press (e.g. Kitchen and Schultz, 1999; Cornelissen and Lock, 2000a,b). Early writings (e.g. Caywood and Ewing, 1991; Schultz et al., 1993) on IMC show that the concept was originally advanced as a corrective to the view that techniques and disciplines of marketing communications (i.e. advertising, promotions, publicity and personal selling) are managed and organised in a differentiated and separate manner. Juxtaposed to this view, IMC, with its depiction of a set of fundamentally different marketing communications practices, came to present a transitory period between the...