Integrated marketing communication
The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach is becoming so popular among marketers. But why is the IMC so welcomed by most marketers? There are many reasons. The most fundamental reason is that marketers are recognizing the value of strategically integrating the various communication functions rather than having them operate autonomously. By coordinating their marketing communication efforts, companies can avoid duplication, take advantage of synergy among various communication tools, and develop more efficient and effective marketing communication programs. The movement toward IMC is also being driven by changes in ways companies market their products and services. There is an ongoing revolution that is changing the rules of marketing and the role of traditional media adverting. Important aspects of this revolution include：a shifting of marketing dollars from media advertising to other forms of promotion, a movement away from relying on adverting-focused approaches (which rely on mass media such as television and magazines) to solve communication problems, a shift in marketplace power from manufactures to retailers, the rapid growth of database marketing, the demand for greater accountability from adverting agencies and the way they are compensated, and the rapid growth of the internet. The growth of the integrated marketing communications is very likely to continue as it is driven by fundamental changes in the way companies market their products and services resulting from the revolution discussed above. Moreover, many marketers and advertising agencies recognize the importance of taking the IMC approach and are becoming advocates of integration. The move to integrated marketing communications also reflects an adaptation by marketers to a changing environment, particularly with respect to consumers, technology and media. Major changes are occurring among consumers, particularly with respect to media use and buying and shopping patterns. The continued fragmentation of media markets , and rapid growth of interactive media and online services are also creating new methods to reach consumers. While IMC will continue to have its critics and may undergo some changes, it is very unlikely that we will see a return to the traditional system where advertising in mass media dominates and advertising and other forms of promotion function autonomously. Strategically oriented integrated brand communications can help businesses move forward in the highly competitive world of the 21st century" (2004, p. 28, italics added). For Schultz (1998), brands are central to thisIMC. Keller (1993) points out that customer-based brand equity emanates from the consumer's familiarity and strong,favorable associations with the brand. For Keller, "marketing communications represent the voice of a brand and the means by which companies can establish a dialogue with consumers concerning their product offerings" (2001, p. 823). That is, marketing communication may provide the means for developing strong, customer-based brand equity (Keller 2003). Furthermore, marketing communications help the firm in eliciting favorable responses from customers (Duncan and Moriarty 1998). Although a number of factors influence customer-based brand equity, including product, price, and distribution, in this paper, we focus on the influence ofIMC on brand equity. Observed thatIMC has evolved from being a mere "inside-out" device that brings promotional tools together to being a strategic process associated with brand management. Further, Naik and Raman note thatIMC emphasizes "the benefits of harnessing synergy across multiple media to build brand equity of products and services" (2003, p. 375). In this paper, however, by taking the works of several researchers (e.g., Duncan and Moriarty 1998; Jap 1999; Reid 2003), we conceptualize interactivity, strategic consistency, and complementarity as synergy constructs. Therefore,...
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