Integrated marketing communications – IMC

For many years, the promotional function in most companies was dominated by mass media advertising. Companies relied primarily on their ad agencies for guidance in nearly all areas of marketing communications.

Most marketers did use additional promotional and marketing communication tool, but sales promo and direct marketing agencies as well as package design firms were generally viewed as auxiliary services and generally used on a per project basis. PR agencies were used to manage the organizations publicity, image and affairs with relevant publics on an ongoing basis but were not viewed as integral participants in the marketing communication process.

Many marketers built strong barriers around the various marketing and promotional functions and planned and managed them as separate practices, with different budgets, different views of the market, and different goals and objectives. These companies failed to recognize that the wide range of marketing and promotional tools must be coordinated to communicate effectively and present a consistent image to target markets.


During the 1980s, many companies came to see the need for more of a strategic integration of their promotional tools. These firms began moving towards the process of integrated marketing communication (IMC), which involves coordinating the various promotional elements and other marketing activities that communicate with the firms customer. As marketers embraced the concept of IMC, They began asking their Ad Agencies to coordinate the use of a variety of promotional tools rather than relying primarily on media advertising. A number of companies also began to look beyond traditional advertising agencies and use other type of promotional specialists to develop and implement various components of their promotional plans.

Many agencies respond to the call for synergy among the various promotional tools by acquiring PR, Sales Promotion, and direct marketing companies and touting themselves as IMC agencies that offer one stop shopping for all of their clients’ promotional needs.


  • Integrate promotional mix strategies
  • Create and produce ads
  • Purchase media time, space, etc.
  • Design and implement direct marketing programs.
  • Design and distribute sales promotion materials.
  • Design and implement public relations/publicity programs
  • Design and implement interactive/internet marketing programs


  • Evaluate promotional program results/effectiveness
  • Take measures to control and adjust promotional strategies

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