Discuss the concept of Integrated Marketing Communications.
Why is it so important to marketers? Where has Integrated Marketing Communications come from? The fact that Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) does take place is unquestionable but the degree of integration is often questionable (Hartley and Pickerton 1999) In today's world, mass marketing is giving way to micro marketing, the one-product fits all concepts now fits fewer and fewer. Even niche marketing is giving way to one-to-one marketing, tailoring a product or service to the needs of a single customer (Skolnik, 2001). This movement away from traditional promotional format has led to organisations marketing on several fronts. In their efforts to communicate with more fragmented and diverse target segments, marketers are employing a richer variety of more focused promotional tools (Kotler and Armstrong, 1997). As organisations speak to consumers with an increasing number of voices, the message or messages being communicated becomes harder to understand and recall.
Kotler et al (1996) suggest that communication goes beyond specific promotion tools, the products design, its price, the shape and colour of its package and the stores that sell it - all communicate something to buyers. It has therefore become increasingly necessary for organisations to communicate with the consumer in, as Beard (1997) puts it, 'one-voice'. Strategic synergy between mass advertising, sales promotion, public relations, internet, relationship marketing, sponsorship and the other marketing communication tools can break through the clutter with more impact, and also your customer's expectations will be consistently met in a more cost effective manner (Skolnik 2001). This deliberate synergy of communication has increasingly become known as Integrated Marketing Communications.
Why it has become so important to marketers Cornelissen (2001) argues that 'IMC is the rational evolution from mass-marketing media advertising towards target marketing'. In his view 'IMC is seen as...