ntrast to views of IMC as nothing other than an inconsequential fad whose popularity is predicated on media hype rather than on its realised, or potential, contribution to marketing communications. Focusing on this debate, this research will begin by defining IMC, following from which it will critically analyse both sides of the issue, ultimately arguing for the long-term value and importance of IMC.
“Integrated communications are like a band. The different communications instruments - advertising, public relations, database marketing, media specialists, sponsorship, interactive, event marketing and the rest - are like different musical instruments: piano, trumpet, trombone, violin, clarinet, percussion and the rest” (Fletcher, 1998, p. 22).
Other terms that have been used to describe IMC are “one-stop shopping,” “orchestration,” “seamless communication,” “whole egg,” and “the new advertising” (Duncan & Everett, 1993, p. 30). These terms signify the integration of specialized communications functions that previously have operated with various degrees of autonomy. Duncan and Everett argue that the basic concept of IMC is synergy, in which the individual efforts are mutually reinforcing with the resulting effect being greater than if each functional area had selected its own targets, chosen its own message strategy, and set its own media schedule and timing (Duncan & Everett, 1993). Proceeding from the stated, Duncan and Everett (1993) define IMC as “the strategic coordination of all messages and media used by an organisation to influence its perceived brand value” (p. 35). In comparison, Schultz, Tannenbaum, and Lauterborn (1993) define IMC as “a new way of looking at the whole, where once we only saw parts such as advertising, public relations, sales promotion, purchasing, employee communications, and so forth. Its realigning communications to look at it the way the customer sees it - as a flow of information from