Marketing and Integrated Marketing Communications
Professor Albert Caruana
The Centre for Communication Technology offers a number of areas dealing with
marketing. These include units in Market research; Consumer and Organizational
Buying Behaviour, Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).
This session seeks to provide an overall framework of how these different units are
related under the broad heading of Marketing.
A business can be said to have four main functions. These are: Finance, Human
Resources, Operations (that can include IT) and Marketing. The first three tend to
look inwardly at the business while what marketing brings to the organization is the
external focus. Marketing can be said to involve looking at the business from a
customer’s point of view.
Marking as a discipline seeks to fosters transactions between two parties, generally
the seller and the buyer. Indeed, rather than a single transaction the focus is
increasingly on fostering multiple transactions within a relationship.
A customer’s point of view requires the understanding of customers. This can be
partially achieved via market research. However market research suffers from issues
of timeliness and more importantly problems with ensuring that one is asking the
‘right’ questions. While marketing research remains an important tool, marketing
also makes use of consumer behavior and organizational buying behavior. These are
the essential building blocks to effective marketing. They make it possible for the
marketer to understand what makes customers and organizations buy and how they
go about buying. They are fundamental building blocks of marketing.
Armed with some understanding, that the tools described above can present, the
marketer seeks to provide an offer that has value to the other party, often the buyer.
To do so requires coordination of Product, Price, Promotion and Distribution along
with a clear understanding of their communication significance. These elements
integrated together can ensure that value is provided to buyers; that transactions
take place, and ultimately that revenue and profit accrue to the firm.
Marketing principles can also be employed when the basis of the exchange in a
transaction is not money but some other element. This means that marketing is not
only relevant to profit making firms but to any organization that has customers.
The elements of Promotion are numerous and include, personal selling, advertising,
sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and web marketing. A key
challenge for effective provision of value during exchange is the integration of these
various elements to communicate to potential buyers a particular and distinct
offering. Therefore Integrated Marketing Communications considers all sources of
brand or company contacts which a customer or a prospect has with the product or
service as potential delivery channels for future messages. Further, IMC makes use
of all forms of communication which are relevant to the customer and prospect, and to
which they might be receptive.