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Marketing and corporate communications are the main persuasive element the organization can use to connect with its markets by communicating ideas and seeking to impart particular perceptions of brands, products and services to customers, consumers and stakeholders. Nevertheless, schulta increasingly wider variety of communication and promotional tools together with the modern-day array of on- and off-line channels and media forms can widely disseminate messages. Comunicacionez the literature distinguishes between two types of communication tools: Yet these tools have been developed separately and in practice could lead ihtegradas uncoordinated implementation, this may not directly lead to contradictory communications.

Nevertheless a lack of strategic appreciation of communication is evident and this may be a key barrier in achieving desired synergies to leverage stakeholder relationships in terms of brand equity and financial performance. Marketing has evolved from a logic focused on transactions and products to being focused upon the development of long-term relationships and the underlying improvement of resources and competencies in order comunicacioens create and sustain customer value [3].

Similarly, communication has been traditionally approached and managed from the functional perspective with the clear aim of persuasion.

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Persuasion tends to be one-way and is identified with the transactional marketing approach- to inform, persuade and remind. Yet, a relational approach to communication is a wider concept that goes beyond persuasion and aims to build dialogue with stakeholders in the attempt to achieve three main objectives: This dialogue, if pursued, will lead to increased organizational brand value. Duncan and Moriarty observed that many marketing roles, especially in the service sector, essentially consist of positions in which communication represents the central element of marketing activities [4].

S chultz and Schultz consider that the planning, development and implementation of marketing programs should be approached in a different and new way [6]. According to these authors, such an approach concerns the integration of a wide range of activities and functions that influence and impact upon dynamic information flows between an organization and its stakeholders.

That is, actually the current technological turbulence is driving the need and demand for integration. Thus, even if the organization has transmitted uncoordinated messages to the same consumer, that consumer will aggregate and integrate those messages according to some pattern.

Unfortunately, in some cases, the criteria chosen by the consumer to make such integration can harm the organization and associated brand value. Hence the company must be able to manage the process according to its own interests and strategic purposes.

In this saturated market environment, characterized by an increasingly high competition, a new synergistic approach is needed scbultz IMC represents an alternative approach that can replace traditional marketing approaches focused on transactions as it comunicacoines based on a consumer-oriented perspective and it is focused on a relationship marketing approach based on communication [8]. MC was created and adopted by academics as a response to professional developments in marketing and advertising.

In the last few years, authors have developed the theory of IMC in order to direct, describe and explain the new practices [10]. Academics and practitioners have debated for over two decades about this concept without reaching agreement about what it is and what benefits it offers to marketers, thus the IMC paradigm is still unclear in terms of definition and limits of application, since it is relatively new. This need is highlighted by Schultz, Patti and Kitchen [12]who called for an accepted definition and for further research on specific areas: Thus, the pu rpose of this paper is twofold: These goals are interrelated, since it is not possible to model IMC process without a preliminary examination and definition of IMC.

Comunicaciones de marketing integradas (2a. ed.). – Don Schultz – Google Books

To achieve its objectives, firstly this study analyzes the conceptual framework around IMC by presenting an extensive literature review. Moreover, comujicaciones authors identify the main dimensions of the concept and a new definition is presented. Secondly, a systematic literature review is carried out to identify IMC antecedents and consequences and the research hypotheses are formulated. Finally, the main managerial and academic implications are discussed.

This model is the first attempt to model IMC process from a holistic perspective by carrying out a theoretical clarification of IMC, which is paramount to understand how IMC can be implemented.


Comujicaciones, the literature calls for further contributions to enhance and reinforce its theoretical basis. The proposed model may help academics and marketers to understand the role this new marketing paradigm plays within modern management, in identifying the key variables that promote or hinder IMC and the benefits derived from its implementation.

This model adopts a consumer-oriented perspective, since it suggests: Study consumer’s wants and needs. You can no longer sell whatever you can make. You can only sell what someone specifically wants to buy […]. Understand the consumer’s cost to satisfy that want or need […], dollars are only one part of cost […]. Think convenience to buy. People don’t have to go anyplace any more, in this era of catalogs, credit cards […].

The word in the 90s is communication. The motto of the age of the manufacturer- ‘caveat emptor’, let the buyer beware- is replaced by ‘cave emptorum’, beware of the buyer [13]. The authors analyzed the evolution of communication and marketing theories by tracing their parallel shifts and showing the intersections between communication and marketing see Figure 1.

Although communication always has been a critical element in marketing, the authors show how cominicaciones increasingly high level of interactivity makes communication an even more valuable element of marketing [14].

The new marketing generation is better explained and understood by considering communication as a crucial element in building relationships with customers and stakeholders.

Thus, we consider that it is impossible to create and foster relationships without considering communication as a strategic element. Parallel Communication and Marketing Processes [15]. Evidently further discussion is needed of the most relevant definitions of IMC with the aim of conceptual clarification.

In the attempt to better clarify the conceptual background, we propose a new classification of the definitions of IMC developed and proposed by different authors during the last two decades. Comuniacciones specifically, definitions have been classified in the following three categories: One of the first definitions of IMC, proposed by Northwestern University, is representative of this approach; it is one of the most cited in the literature and was received by the American Association of Advertising Agencies in A concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the markering value of a comprehensive plan that evaluated the strategic role of a variety of communications disciplines, e.

Kotler also proposed a definition that follows the inside-out approach, defining IMC as: This author highlights the distinction among elements of the communication mix typical of the traditional approachalthough she recognizes the importance of coordinating the different promotional tools with the aim of maximizing the marketing communication effect.

The obstacle in adequately defining IMC is due, in part, to the rapid development of the concept and its different application by organizations and academe. At the beginning, definitions were focused on operational and issue communication tactics and gradually authors realized the need of a more exhaustive and holistic approach to augment customer relationships.

The second category includes definitions that illustrate an active attempt to understand what customer and scyultz want to see or listen to, when and where, and through what means. This category represents an outside-in marketing approach and constitutes an important improvement from the first approach. Schultz recognized the necessity of overcoming the inside-out phase, affirming that: Integrated Marketing Communications is the process of developing and implementing various forms of persuasive communication programs with customers and prospects over time.

The goal of IMC is to influence or directly affect the behavior of the selected communications audience. In sum the IMC process starts with the customer or prospect and then works back to determine and define the scultz and methods through which persuasive communications programs should be developed [27].

Pickton and Broderick proposed that IMC is: From this definition the main characteristics of an integrated communication strategy may be deduced, such as identifying marketing communication and other organizational objectives; planning all tools in a coherent and synergic way; effectively managing and integrating all promotional activities; managing all communication tools and considering all media to send brand messages. According to this author, IMC is not only related to communication, but also to business and brand management.

The cross-functional strategic approach. This perspective goes beyond the juxtaposition of promotional elements and the implementation of market research. It is based on significant resources invested in the creation of segmented databases and the restructuring of the organization in order to attempt a deep customer orientation.

In this context, IMC represents a schuptz change and an important investment. Only if those communication resources are invested, measured and related to actual customer behavior will be possible to estimate the benefits achieved in financial terms.


Duncan developed a model which differs from other customer-based IMC process models and whose foundation is communication. This is not a linear process, but a circular one that represents the core of all relationships and creates brand value in terms of sales and profitability to attract, retain and increase the number of clients.

Duncan and Mulhern suggest that IMC should be more strategic than executive comunicacines it must go beyond the integfadas selling and advertising messages. It has to include two-way communication and should be managed according to results.

In spite of schulltz considerable attention that IMC has attracted in the literature during the last decade, the debate about IMC as a set of rigid specifications and rules is still alive. However, some authors suggest that IMC should be considered as a philosophy whose implementation is situationally specific.

Thus, managers have the flexibility needed to implement IMC relative to market changes.

Gould considered IMC as a controversial theoretical concept in terms of generalization of what it was and what it does. If companies do not align their symbols and messages, they reduce their potential impact and sub-optimize their communication budgets [35].

IC, as defined by these authorsis claimed to be a wider concept since IMC tends to assume that the integration should take place within the area of marketing. While the first conceptualizations were focused on the coordination of a limited set of communication parameters in order to obtain coherent and clear messages, IC imply a whole and global involvement of the organization through the participation of stakeholders.

Considering that current companies communicate with all they do or do notIC has been developed from being a specialized activity to being an issue that concerns the whole company. The lack of a universally accepted definition is a major barrier to develop significant tools to measure outcomes [36].

This cannot be measured without specifying what it truly represents within a company and what dimensions form it. Its main supporters perceive IMC as a phenomenon that has the potential to lead to global restructuring of the marketing and communication roles, through the elimination of boundaries between the main areas of marketing communication and between the business units [37].

The importance of a formal definition of IMC has been argued in many academic papers [38]however, little has been done to decrease the uncertainty so far [39]. A definition of IMC is proposed to shed light on where this is and to better understand the role it must play in modern corporations in a wide perspective and not only as a tool for marketing communication managers.

Thus, IMC can be defined as: This definition embraces the multidimensional character of the concept, distinguishing four principal dimensions: For this reason, a common strategy must unify the activity of marketing public relations, advertising, sales promotions, direct and interactive marketing whether on- or off-line. Relationship Marketing has not been able to enclose the true value of communication in building relationships with clients and other stakeholders.

It has been focused on variables, such as commitment and trust, which in reality are consequences or effects of communication. Integration is a competitive advantage which is able to optimize the relation between messages, channels and receivers, not just to coordinate the different elements of the marketing mix.

The implications are very relevant due to the fact that messages may come from all departments and not only from the marketing department. IMC should encourage a cross-functional planning and promote the company in toto. Duncan and Moriarty argued that interactive communication at the corporate, marketing and marketing communication levels leads to long-term relationships and positively influence brand value [42].

As IMC should be deeply strategic, this should aim at the achievement of long-term objectives. It may be noticed that the value of the message is highlighted, since real problems surround choice and adaptation to target audiences.

A common element of the most recent definitions seems to be the representation of IMC as a process in a double dimension: In a wide sense, the strategic approach emphasizes the adequate identification of opportunities as a base for marketing planning and business growth with the aim of building a sustainable competitive advantage. On the other hand, the tactical dimension refers to short-term activities that should lead to a better implementation of certain tactics in order to achieve the strategic objectives of marketing.