Theoretical Concept or Management Fashion? Examining the Significance of Imc

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Theoretical Concept or Management Fashion? Examining the Significance of IMC
Particularly throughout the last decade Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) appeared to have found increasing acceptance as a theoretical concept, Idea, technique, or simple rhetoric with advertising agency executives, marketing, and advertising practitioners, as well as with writers in the popular and academic marketing and management press. Despite its pervasive penetration in the marketing and communication management world, little has been said, however, about IMC's theoretical robustness as well as its actual significance for marketing and advertising thought and practice. In an attempt to help remedy this situation, this articie examines IMC as a body
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October 2 0 0 0 JOUIlflflL OF tlDUERTISinG RESEflRCH 7

SIGNIFICANCE OF IMC

early 1970s (Knecht, 1989; Petrison and Wang, 1996; Van Riel, 1995) other writers have argued that the concept emerged or at least gained increased salience and significance in the early 1980s (Smith, 1996; Pickton and Hartley, 1998). At that time, the apparent move away from the Fordist model of mass communications inaugurated an era characterized by increasing pressures on mass media advertising, heightened competition, and increasing fragmentation with more individualistically oriented consumer audiences (Tedlow, 1990). Also, with new media and technological advances in marketing abounding, writers have ever since deliberated upon the drastic changes that are (and will be) appearing in communication practices as well as in the marketing and advertising industry as a whole (e.g., Zinkhan and Watson, 1996). These writers subsequently see the concept of IMC as a manifest outcome of this transformation of marketing communications in the 1980s (e.g., Schultz, 1996a, 1999). IMC is, in much of this work, perhaps based on a somewhat teleological argument, seen as a drastic change, yet even as the opposite, to traditional mass marketing communications. For example, writers have argued to move away from talking about and practicing the traditional distinction between

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