The move toward integrated marketing communications is one of the most significant marketing developments that occurred during the 1990s, and the shift toward this approach is continuing as we begin the new century. The IMC approach to marketing communications planning and strategy is being adopted by both large and small companies and has become popular among firms marketing consumer products and services as well as business-to-business marketers. There are a number of reasons why marketers are adopting the IMC approach. A fundamental reason is that they understand the value of strategically integrating the various communications functions rather than having them operate autonomously. By coordinating their marketing communications efforts, companies can avoid duplication, take advantage of synergy among promotional tools, and develop more efficient and effective marketing communications programs. Advocates of IMC argue that it is one of the easiest ways for a company to maximize the return on its investment in marketing and promotion.18
The move to integrated marketing communications also reflects an adaptation by marketers to a changing environment, particularly with respect to consumers, technology, and media. Major changes have occurred among consumers with respect to demographics, lifestyles, media use, and buying and shopping patterns. For example, cable TV and more recently digital satellite systems have vastly expanded the number of channels available to households. Some of these channels offer 24-hour shopping networks; others contain 30- or 60-minute direct-response appeals known as infomer-cials, which look more like TV shows than ads. Every day more consumers are surfing the Internet's World Wide Web. Online services such as America Online and Microsoft Network provide information and entertainment as well as the opportunity to shop for and order a vast array of products and services. Marketers are responding by developing home pages on which they can advertise their products and services interactively as well as transact sales. For example, travelers can use American Airlines' AA.com website to plan flights, check for special fares, purchase tickets, and reserve seats, as well as make hotel and car-rental reservations (Exhibit 1-6).
Even as new technologies and formats create new ways for marketers to reach consumers, they are affecting the more traditional media. Television, radio, magazines,
Exhibit 1-5 Montblanc uses a variety of marketing mix elements including price, product design, brand name, and distribution strategy to create a high-quality, upscale image for its watches
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