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The shift from mass marketing to targeted marketing, and the corresponding use of a richer mixture of communications channels and promotions tools, poses a problem for marketers. (Kotler et al, 2002.)

There is no doubt about the benefits associated with adopting a coordinated system of marketing communication. In reality however, the various communications elements more often than not operate independently of each other. This report discusses the various issues concerning the integration of Marketing Communications especially its benefits and the pitfalls that need to be avoided.


'All too often, companies fail to integrate their various communication channels. The result is a hodgepodge of communications to consumers. Mass advertising say one thing, price promotion sends a different signal...a product label still creates another message, company literature says something altogether different and the company's website seems out of sync with everything else.' (Kotler et al, 2002, p.629/630). This assertion by Kotler underlines the complexity of marketing communications and why it needs a company-wide attention.


3.1 Defining Integrated marketing communications (IMC)

IMC refers to the concept under which a company carefully ntegrates its many communication channels in order to deliver a clear consistent and compelling message about the organization and its products [or services]. (Kotler et al, 2002). A more comprehensive definition of IMC - adapted by Brassington and Pettitt (2005) from Pickton and Broderick( 2001, p.67) is ' a process which involves the management and organization of agents in the analysis, planning and implementation and control of all tools focused at selected target audiences in such a way as to derive the greatest economy, efficiency, effectiveness, enhancement and coherence of marketing communications effort in achieving predetermined product [or service] and corporate objectives.

3.2 Major Communication Tools:

a) Advertising - any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.

b) Personal Selling: Personal presentation by the firm's sales force for the purpose of making sales and building customer relationships.

c) Sales promotions: Short term incentives to encourage the purchase or sale of a product or service.

d) Public Relations: Building good relations with the company's various publics by obtaining favourable publicity, building up a good 'corporate image', and handling or heading off unfavourable rumours, stories and events.

[Kotler et al, 2002.]

d) Direct Marketing: The planned, recording, analysis and tracking of customer behaviour to develop relational marketing strategies. [The Institute of Direct Marketing, UK, cited by BPP]

3. 3 Major features of IMC.

a) Customer centric:

Every IMC strategy begins with an acute understanding of the customer. This approach goes far beyond demographics to uncover segments and customer motivation that drive purchasing decisions
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b) IMC is data-driven:

Marketers have more information than ever about their customers' behaviours and preferences-IMC depends on this data to identify and understand the company's best customers and to make informed decisions regarding how to communicate with them

c) IMC is integration:

Customers and other stakeholders- including investors, the media, employees and others- do not distinguish between messages intended for them and those intended for other audiences. IMC not only integrates the marketing communication of advertising, direct and e-commerce marketing and Public relations, but also advocates the alignment of all of a company's business ...

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