Resistance to Integrated Marketing Communication – IMC

While the logic of IMC appeals to most marketing practitioners, there are many who resist integrating their communications efforts.

The first and foremost reason for resistance is inertia or refusal to change – any attempt to change the so-called “tried and tested” recipe tends to encounter resistance. IMC requires a complete re-structuring of the mindset towards marketing communications – both at the client side and the agency side. For most managers, this is a difficult task to embark upon.

Most clients and agencies think that IMC is simply old wine in a new bottle – that the use of multiple communications tactics, coordinated campaign themes, and consistent graphic or corporate identity has always been employed.

Most brands have attempted to integrate the look and feel across media for a long time. But the last five years have seen the emergence of many new media opportunities, Internet, Events, Product-placements, etc. So the task has become a lot more complex. It is this increasing complexity that calls for a holistic and synergistic approach towards marketing communications.

Complex planning is another deterrent. The integrated marketer can select from more than 20 tools, from advertising to in-store merchandising to promotion to public relations to database marketing to the Internet. This often requires detailed and long-term planning at both the client and agency levels.

Marketing is often viewed as cost, rather than investment. This tactical – rather than strategic – perspective works against planning and preparation, which is the foundation of IMC. Planning helps in deciding the communications strategy that ultimately helps in optimising the marketing spends.  

Many clients blame the agencies for not initiating IMC. Kotler writes, “Most agencies have not done a good job of putting together all the different teams and organisations involved with a communications campaign.” Agencies themselves have not given adequate focus to IMC. It is often treated as an appendage to the mainline agency. While agencies need to invest more into IMC – in terms of people, tools & research – it is also necessary to educate clients on IMC thinking.


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