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Evaluate the benefits and difficulties for organisations utilising integrated marketing communications?

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Introduction

CRN 31558 Integrated Marketing Communications - Assignment 1 Evaluate the benefits and difficulties for organisations utilising integrated marketing communications? The essence of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is one of synergy and strategic coordination (Duncan and Everett 1993); attributes desirable for any organisational function to possess. IMC is a fledgling concept, one that offers the premise of extracting greater effectiveness and productivity from marketing communications. Kitchen and Brignall (2004) put forward a damming argument that IMC in a global sense is still at an early stage, therefore inhibiting the realisation of actual integration. Despite the fact the general notion of IMC was formed over two decades ago there continues to be considerable discussion as to the definition, scope and usefulness of the practice (Christensen et al., 2009; Percy, 2008, p14). Clow et al., (2001, p24) defines IMC as "the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools into a seamless program designed to maximise the impact on consumers and other stakeholders". Another element of IMC is the notion that implementing the function casts the foundations and builds the necessary steps required for an organisation to fully carry out relationship marketing. (Percy 2008). This and many other definitions of IMC are ambiguous, seamlessly broad and there is an apparent lack of an agreed explicit delineation (Phelps and Johnson, 1996; Kitchen et al., 2008; Torp 2009). Kitchen et al., (2004) ...read more.

Middle

If not managed effectively this seamless message can create a blemish on the organisations' reputation (Kitchen et al., 2004). Cost effectiveness is seen to be one of the foremost bedrocks of an IMC approach (Schultz, Tannen- baum, and Lauterborn, 1993 cited in Kitchen et al 2008). The rational of combining resources of the varying communication functions can produce efficiency and increase productivity, which creates cost savings (Schultz and Kitchen 1997). Pickton and Broderick (2005 p28) in their 4 E's and C's analysis see IMC as economical, indeed through economies of scale a combined integrated function can reduce costs through the possibility of a smaller workforce and only working with one creative agency. Tortorici (1991) believes implementing IMC is one of the most effectual and simplest ways an organisation can maximise it's return on investment. Decreasing costs is a visible way of increasing profits, providing the savings are not mitigated from the drawbacks of IMC. Concern is raised when attempting attain a method to measure the success of IMC , this then impacts on an organisation being able to weigh up the cost savings with the benefits. Ratnatunga and Ewing (2005) question how IMC can be measured; there is complaint from marketers about this lack of ability to obtain a concise reading as to the benefits of IMC. Shoebrige (2004, cited in Ratnatunga and Ewing 2005) affronts marketers to "stop complaining and start quantifying". ...read more.

Conclusion

Cole (1993 cited in Ahire 1997) mentions TQM as "unrealistic expectations about the costs and time required for TQM implementation". Furthermore Mille and Hartwick (2002) describe management fads as in their "very nature suited for a simple world, they have limited utility in the real one". The similarity is striking when compared with IMC; being a management fad impacts on any organisation wishing to utilise it. Whilst elements of IMC such as producing a consistent message seem to have strong benefits, buy into the idea of IMC should be taken cautiously as integrating to such an extend can be costly and damaging to an organisations brand (Kitchen et al., 2004). Kotler (2008) describes the concept of the "Marketing Mix"; it should be questioned whether this mix implies integration as it is a blend of the different elements of marketing. Of course they should not be looked at in isolation but worked with and blended collectively to develop a marketing mix and effective communications. An organisation may already be integrating but not to such a wide scale event that they incorporate all the functions together, they should work together in the eyes of the customer but not necessarily in a close-nit situation. Organisations should questions if IMC is of such grandeur why is it facing so much trouble in developing a definition, process or model? Is it really anything new, special or unique? (Cornelissen and Lock 2001). Word count: 1,563 words. ...read more.

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