Posted: June 24th, 2021

Relationship Marketing

As a organisation is “putting all their eggs in one basket” (McLaughlin 1997, cited in Eagle and Kitchen, 2000), it is susceptible to substantial implications should complications arise. One such complication is the idea of role ambiguity, tasks and objectives are not specific therefore organisations rely upon an agency to fill in the gaps (Beard 1997). Many relationships fail purely because they to not provide a framework that they use to evaluate the agency (Weilbacher 1983, cited in Beard 1997).
Reid (2005) notes that there becomes tension between the organisation and the agency resulting in an increased turnover of personnel and a subsequent loss of their insight into to the communications plan. There is a notion that IMC leads to relationship marketing (Fill, 2009; Pelsmacker et al, 2010; Pickton and Broderick 2005), which assumably is desirable for any organisation. Kitchen et al. , (2004) present when IMC is structured in accordance with relationship marketing all communications should effectively be “outside-in”; the process should start with the customer and work back.
Thus the primary goal is to affect behaviour through communications (Shimp 2000, cited in Kitchen et al. , 2004). Whilst some academics believe relationship marketing is the ultimate goal of IMC many still are unsure to its purpose (Cornelissen and Lock 2001). It can therefore be questioned whether this combination is simply an attempt to beef up the validity of IMC. In conclusion IMC does have benefits but it is shadowed by questions behind the reasoning for its implementation. It is conceivable that IMC is a trend, an inconsequential “management fad” (Cornelissen and Lock 2000).

Whilst in principle, IMC has glorious ramifications, its lack of an articulated distinction besieges its ability to be a constructive and improved means to marketing communications. The idea that IMC is a fad appears to ring true when it is compared to Total Quality Management; it appears to be no different (Shultz and Kitchen 1997). Cole (1993 cited in Ahire 1997) mentions TQM as “unrealistic expectations about the costs and time required for TQM implementation”. Furthermore Mille and Hartwick (2002) describe management fads as in their “very nature suited for a simple world, they have limited utility in the real one”.
The similarity is striking when compared with IMC; being a management fad impacts on any organisation wishing to utilise it. Whilst elements of IMC such as producing a consistent message seem to have strong benefits, buy into the idea of IMC should be taken cautiously as integrating to such an extend can be costly and damaging to an organisations brand (Kitchen et al. , 2004). Kotler (2008) describes the concept of the “Marketing Mix”; it should be questioned whether this mix implies integration as it is a blend of the different elements of marketing.
Of course they should not be looked at in isolation but worked with and blended collectively to develop a marketing mix and effective communications. An organisation may already be integrating but not to such a wide scale event that they incorporate all the functions together, they should work together in the eyes of the customer but not necessarily in a close-nit situation. Organisations should questions if IMC is of such grandeur why is it facing so much trouble in developing a definition, process or model? Is it really anything new, special or unique?
Ahire, S. l. , (1997). Management Science -Total Quality Management Interfaces: An Integrative Framework. Interfaces. 27(6), 91-105 Beard, F. , (1996). Integrated Marketing Communications: New Role Expectations and Performance Issues in the Client-Ad Agency Relationship? Journal of Business Research. 37 (3), 207-215 Christensen, L. S. , Fuat Firat, A. and Corelissen, J. P. , (2009). New tensions and challenges in integrated communications. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 14 (2), 207-219.

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