Growth and Adoption of Integrated Marketing Communications
Integrated marketing communications or IMC is a development that began in the 80’s as a way of encompassing all internal and external communications in an organisation. This process meant that all aspects of marketing communication were now able to work under one umbrella as a unified system where everyone communicate with each other instead of working in an isolated manner. Although IMC has its roots in the 1980’s it’s not until the 1990’s when the marketing process started changing, new technologies came into the market place and integration came into fruition more deeply. This essay is going to describe the changes in the marketplace that made it necessary and gave way to the adoption of IMC as well as the problems and different levels of adoption that led to the growth of IMC in the market place.
The development of digital technology, emphasis in branding and spreading of markets across the traditional geographical borders were the major drivers of IMC in the 1980’s (Schultz & Schultz; 2003:9). Traditional communication was one way of communication but it was IMC which made the company move from “telling and selling” to “listening and learning” (Duncan; 2002; p15). Thus more organisations were considering IMC to be a key competitive advantage of marketing (Kitchen and Schultz, 2001; Weilbacher, 2001). IMC was designed to incorporate all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. It was a new way of communication where organisations tried to find out the customer’s needs based on qualitative and quantitative research. There were quite a few changes in the environment that led to the birth and then the adoption of IMC in the market place. One of these changes was in traditional marketing variables in the marketplace.
By the mid 1980’s distribution of products and services was no longer only in the hands of marketers as it was the customer who decided where, how and when to buy a product (Schultz, Tannenbaum & Lauterborn; 1994:12). The traditional marketing mix such as product development, pricing, form and distribution was no longer an effective competitive weapon for a technologically advanced, informative and a global market. According to Schultz, Tannenbaum & Lauterborn (1994) this traditional marketing mix worked quite well in less sophisticated, less informative and less developed countries but no longer had such a great effect on more developed nations such as the US and other developed countries in the world. The marketing environment changed as retailers were pressed by their customers to change the four P’s of marketing into the four C’s (Schultz, Tannenbaum & Lauterborn; 1994:12). Product was replaced by consumer which meant that one needed to think of the customer’s needs and wants, place was replaced by convenience of the consumer, price was replaced by cost to satisfy customer’s needs and...