1.1 Background to the Study
The need for an organization to properly coordinate its marketing communications strategies in order to deliver a clear, consistent, credible and competitive message about itself and its product has become a challenge today for every result oriented firm. Effective marketing communications should therefore be an integral part of every efficient and result driven organization. How innovative and creative marketing communications practitioners are inappropriately combining, coordinating and efficiently using marketing communication tools will have great impact on their companies’ products/services and by extension, on such products’ market share. This again could pose serious challenge to competing companies across markets in the country.
Rather than being considered as a revolution in marketing thought, IMC is gradually emerging as a natural evolution in marketing communications brought about by drastic changes in at least three main areas, which are:
(i). The market place;
(ii). The media and communications;
(iii). The consumers. These changes have been driven primarily by advancement in information technology; and have caused a major shift from the mass marketing, product centred theories of marketing popularized in the 1950s and 1960s to the more customer cantered, database-driven interactive and measurable approaches of integrated communications, Schultz, (2003).
Duncan (2002), in his contribution to the literature on evolution of IMC believed that the above definition of IMC by Schultz and Kitchen, forecasted the trend of the development of IMC in the future. He therefore noted that this new definition indicates that IMC has moved from (or has the potentiality to move from) a “marketing planning process” to a “strategic business process”. Schimp (2000) summarized five facts of IMC as:
(i). Aims to affect behaviour
(ii). Starts with customers or prospects
(iii). Uses any and all forms of contents
(iv). Achieves synergy and
(v). Builds relationships.
Low (2000) opined that integrated marketing is simply a step further from IMC or the highest stage of IMC by focusing on conveying unified messages to customers via the correct blending of the promotional mix.
Many marketers are also of the opinion that traditional media advertising has become too expensive and not cost effective (Thomas, 2001).
Finally, there is demand for greater accountability from advertising agencies and changes in the way agencies are compensated. Many companies are moving towards incentive- based system whereby compensation of their ad agencies is based, at least in part on objectives measures such as sales, market share and profitability. The rapid growth of the Internet services, which is changing the very nature of how companies do business and the interest with the consumer, could also be seen as a major reason for the growing importance of IMC in today contemporary marketing environments.
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