Mastering the Art of Marketing Strategy Frameworks: A Postgraduate Perspective


In the ever-evolving landscape of business, robust marketing strategy frameworks are the linchpin that propels organisations towards success. As postgraduates delving into the intricacies of the corporate world, it becomes imperative to grasp the key aspects of marketing strategy that can make or break a brand. This comprehensive guide aims to explore the fundamental elements of marketing strategy, providing insights rooted in academic rigor and real-world applicability.

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1. Understanding the Essence of Marketing Strategy Frameworks

1.1 Defining Marketing Strategy: A Holistic Approach

In the intricate tapestry of business, marketing strategy stands as the overarching framework that shapes an organization’s path to success. To truly understand the essence of marketing strategy, we must delve into its multifaceted nature and the interconnected elements that contribute to its effectiveness.

Strategic Integration Across Business Functions: Marketing strategy isn’t an isolated function; it’s an integral part of the broader business strategy. This integration ensures that marketing efforts align seamlessly with overall organizational goals. From product development to sales and customer service, every facet of a business should harmonize to deliver a unified and compelling brand experience.

Balancing Short-Term Tactics with Long-Term Vision: While tactical maneuvers are essential for immediate gains, the essence of marketing strategy lies in its ability to balance short-term objectives with a long-term vision. It’s about cultivating sustained growth and resilience against market fluctuations. This requires a delicate interplay of agility and foresight, allowing organizations to navigate the present while positioning themselves strategically for the future.

1.2 The Evolution of Marketing Strategy: Navigating Change

Historical Perspectives: Understanding the essence of marketing strategy framework necessitates a journey through its historical evolution. Traditional marketing was often synonymous with outbound techniques, where businesses broadcasted their messages to a broad audience. Over time, this paradigm shifted towards more targeted and customer-centric approaches.

Adaptations in the Digital Era: In the contemporary landscape, the digital revolution has ushered in a new era of marketing. The advent of social media, data analytics, and e-commerce has transformed how businesses connect with consumers. Marketing strategy, once confined to print and broadcast media, now embraces a dynamic, interactive, and data-driven paradigm.

1.3 The Symbiotic Relationship with Business Objectives

Alignment with Organizational Goals: The essence of marketing strategy lies in its symbiotic relationship with overarching business objectives. For a strategy to be effective, it must not only enhance brand visibility but also contribute directly to revenue generation, market share expansion, or other key performance indicators set by the organization.

Measuring Impact and Adjusting Course: An effective marketing strategy is not static; it evolves in response to market dynamics. This requires robust measurement mechanisms and a commitment to continuous improvement. Key performance indicators (KPIs) serve as compass points, allowing organizations to assess the impact of their strategies and make data-driven adjustments as needed.

Marketing strategy frameworks guides organizations through the dynamic landscape of business. It’s a holistic approach that integrates seamlessly with broader business objectives, adapts to the evolving digital landscape, and maintains a delicate balance between short-term tactics and long-term vision.

As postgraduate students aspiring to navigate the complexities of marketing, comprehending the essence of marketing strategy provides a solid foundation for the subsequent explorations into market research, segmentation, targeting, and positioning strategies. In the following sections, we will unravel the intricacies of these foundational elements, shedding light on their significance in crafting successful marketing strategy frameworks .

2. Market Research: The Foundations of Strategic Decision-Making

2.1 The Role of Market Research

Unveiling Insights for Informed Decisions – Market research stands as the bedrock of strategic decision-making, offering a systematic approach to gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, its dynamics, and its participants. At its core, market research seeks to unveil insights that empower businesses to make informed and data-driven decisions.

Types of Market Research: Quantitative Research: Involves the collection and analysis of numerical data. Surveys, questionnaires, and statistical techniques quantify market trends, preferences, and behaviors. This provides a numerical foundation for decision-making. Qualitative Research: Focuses on understanding the underlying motivations, attitudes, and perceptions of individuals. Techniques such as interviews, focus groups, and observational studies delve into the nuances that quantitative data may not capture.

Market Analysis Frameworks: SWOT Analysis: Examining Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats provides a comprehensive view of both internal and external factors that can influence strategic decisions. PESTLE Analysis: Evaluating Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors helps businesses anticipate changes in the broader environment.

2.2 Consumer Behaviour Analysis

Navigating the Psychology of Purchasing Decisions – Understanding consumer behavior is a cornerstone of effective market research. It involves delving into the psychological, social, and economic factors that influence individuals’ buying decisions. Key components include:

Motivation: What drives consumers to make a purchase? Uncovering the underlying motivations helps businesses tailor their marketing messages and offerings.

Perception: How do consumers perceive a brand or product? Perception shapes purchasing decisions, and market research helps identify and influence these perceptions.

Attitude and Beliefs: Consumer attitudes and beliefs impact brand loyalty. Through in-depth analysis, businesses can identify and leverage these factors to build stronger connections with their target audience.

2.3 Incorporating Behavioral Economics in Strategy Formulation

Nudging Consumer Behavior – The field of behavioral economics introduces the concept of nudging – subtle interventions that influence decision-making. By understanding cognitive biases, businesses can strategically design marketing interventions that guide consumers towards desired actions.

Anchoring: The first piece of information encountered often influences subsequent decisions. Pricing strategies, for example, can leverage anchoring to shape perceived value.

Loss Aversion: Consumers tend to weigh potential losses more heavily than gains. Crafting marketing messages that highlight the potential loss of not choosing a product or service can be a persuasive tactic.

Market research serves as the compass that guides strategic decision-making. It unveils the intricacies of markets, consumer behaviors, and competitive landscapes, providing businesses with the insights needed to navigate complex terrain. As postgraduate students, mastering the art of market research equips us with the foundational skills required for effective strategic planning. In the following sections, we will explore the strategies of segmentation, targeting, and positioning, examining how market research forms the basis for these crucial components of a comprehensive marketing strategy.

3. Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning (STP) Strategies

3.1 Segmentation

Segmentation involves dividing a heterogeneous market into smaller, more homogeneous groups based on specific characteristics. This allows businesses to tailor their marketing strategies to the unique needs and preferences of each segment. Key aspects include:

Demographic Segmentation: Dividing the market based on demographics such as age, gender, income, education, and family size. This provides a foundational understanding of consumer profiles.

Psychographic Segmentation: Considering lifestyle, values, attitudes, and interests helps create segments with shared psychographic traits, enabling more targeted messaging.

Behavioral Segmentation: Analyzing purchasing behavior, brand loyalty, product usage, and other behavioral factors aids in grouping consumers with similar buying patterns.

Benefits of Segmentation: Targeted Marketing: By understanding the distinct needs of each segment, businesses can create marketing campaigns that resonate specifically with those groups.

Resource Efficiency: Resources are allocated more efficiently when marketing efforts are directed towards specific segments rather than a broad, undifferentiated market.

3.2 Targeting

Precision in Audience Selection – Targeting involves selecting specific segments to focus marketing efforts on. It’s about identifying the most lucrative and receptive audience for a product or service. Key targeting strategies include:

Undifferentiated Targeting: Appealing to the entire market with a single strategy. This approach is suitable when the product has broad appeal and little variation in consumer preferences.

Differentiated Targeting: Tailoring marketing strategies for different segments. This allows businesses to capture a larger market share by addressing diverse needs.

Concentrated Targeting: Concentrating efforts on a single, well-defined segment. This strategy is beneficial for niche markets where a specialized product can meet unique needs.

3.3 Positioning

Crafting a Distinct Brand Image: Positioning is about creating a distinctive and appealing image for a product or brand in the minds of consumers. It involves shaping perceptions to highlight unique selling propositions. Key elements of positioning include:

Value Proposition: Clearly communicating the value a product or service brings to consumers. This goes beyond features to emphasize the benefits and solutions it provides.

Brand Differentiation: Identifying and promoting aspects that set the brand apart from competitors. Whether it’s quality, innovation, or customer service, differentiation builds a competitive edge.

Perceptual Mapping: Visualizing how consumers perceive brands relative to competitors helps in fine-tuning positioning strategies.

Consistency Across Touchpoints: Consistency is crucial in positioning. Whether through advertising, customer service, or product experience, the brand’s positioning should remain coherent. This builds trust and reinforces the desired image in consumers’ minds.

The Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning (STP) framework is a cornerstone of effective marketing strategy. It transforms market research insights into actionable plans, allowing businesses to connect with specific audience segments in meaningful ways. As postgraduate students delving into the nuances of marketing strategy, understanding the intricacies of STP provides a roadmap for crafting compelling and targeted campaigns. In the subsequent sections, we will explore the dynamics of digital marketing in the 21st century, elucidating how STP strategies adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of online consumer engagement.

4. Digital Marketing in the 21st Century

4.1 The Digital Transformation and Marketing Strategy Frameworks

Shifting paradigms in consumer engagement. The 21st century has witnessed a profound transformation in how businesses connect with consumers, largely driven by the rise of digital platforms. Digital marketing encompasses a spectrum of online channels, tools, and strategies that redefine the way brands communicate, engage, and build relationships with their audience. Key aspects include:

Omni-channel Presence: Consumers seamlessly move between various online platforms. Successful digital marketing requires a cohesive presence across channels such as social media, search engines, email, and websites.

Personalization: Leveraging data and analytics, digital marketing allows for highly personalized interactions. Tailoring content, recommendations, and offers based on individual preferences enhances user experience and engagement.

4.2 Content Marketing and SEO Integration

Content marketing is at the heart of digital strategies, focusing on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. This involves:

Storytelling: Crafting narratives that resonate with the target audience builds emotional connections and enhances brand loyalty.

Multimedia Content: Embracing diverse content formats such as videos, infographics, and podcasts caters to varied consumer preferences.

The Art and Science of SEO Optimization: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is instrumental in ensuring that digital content is discoverable by search engines, thereby reaching a wider audience. Key elements of SEO integration include:

Keyword Research: Identifying and incorporating relevant keywords enhances visibility in search engine results.

Quality Link Building: Building a network of high-quality backlinks improves domain authority and search rankings.

User Experience Optimization: Ensuring websites are mobile-friendly, have fast load times, and provide a seamless user experience contributes to higher search rankings.

Digital marketing in the 21st century is characterized by a dynamic interplay of technology, data, and consumer expectations. As postgraduate students exploring the nuances of marketing strategy, understanding the intricacies of digital marketing provides a lens into the evolving landscape of consumer engagement. In the upcoming sections, we will delve into the realm of social media strategies, exploring how businesses can harness the power of social platforms to amplify their brand presence, foster engagement, and navigate the intricacies of the digital age.

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Art of Marketing Strategy Frameworks
Art of Marketing Strategy Frameworks

5. Social Media Strategies for Brand Amplification

5.1 Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Building Communities and Fostering Engagement – In the digital era, social media has emerged as a dynamic and influential platform for brand communication. Social media strategies go beyond mere presence; they aim to build communities, foster engagement, and amplify brand messages. Key components include:

Content Variety: Diversifying content types – from visually appealing images and videos to informative infographics and thought-provoking articles – ensures a well-rounded and engaging social media presence.

Consistent Brand Voice: Establishing a consistent brand voice across social platforms contributes to brand recognition and fosters a sense of authenticity.

Two-Way Communication: Social media is inherently interactive. Encouraging dialogue, responding to comments, and actively engaging with the audience build a sense of community and trust.

5.2 Influencer Marketing

Navigating the Landscape of Influencer Partnerships. Influencer marketing has become a powerful strategy within social media, leveraging individuals with significant online followings to promote products or services. Key considerations in influencer marketing include:

Relevance and Authenticity: Aligning with influencers whose values and audience align with the brand ensures authenticity and credibility.

Micro-Influencers: Partnering with influencers with smaller but highly engaged audiences often leads to more meaningful connections and conversions.

Transparency and Disclosure: Maintaining transparency about influencer partnerships builds trust with the audience and adheres to ethical standards.

5.3 Crisis Management in the Social Media Era

Proactive Measures and Damage Control – While social media offers immense opportunities for brand amplification, it also poses challenges in the form of rapid information dissemination and potential crises. Effective crisis management on social media involves:

Proactive Monitoring: Constantly monitoring social media channels enables swift identification of potential issues before they escalate.

Transparent Communication: In the event of a crisis, transparent and timely communication is crucial. Addressing concerns openly and honestly helps rebuild trust.

Learning from Incidents: Post-crisis analysis provides valuable insights for refining social media strategies and preventing similar incidents in the future.

Social media strategies are integral to brand amplification in the digital age. As postgraduate students navigating the complexities of marketing strategy, understanding the dynamics of social media allows us to harness the power of online communities, influencers, and effective crisis management. In the following sections, we will explore the critical aspects of measuring success in marketing, diving into the realm of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and data-driven decision-making.

Measuring Success: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

6.1 Defining Relevant KPIs

Aligning Metrics with Business Goals – Effectively measuring the success of marketing strategies requires the definition and tracking of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with overarching business objectives. KPIs serve as quantifiable benchmarks, providing insights into the performance of various marketing initiatives. Key considerations include:

Business Objectives: Identifying the primary goals of marketing strategy frameworks – whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or enhancing customer loyalty – informs the selection of relevant KPIs.

SMART Criteria: Ensuring that KPIs are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound ensures clarity and effectiveness in evaluation.

6.2 Data-Driven Decision Making

Incorporating Analytics into the Decision-Making Process – The advent of advanced analytics tools has revolutionized the way businesses approach decision-making. In the context of marketing, leveraging data analytics is pivotal for making informed and strategic choices. Key components of data-driven decision-making include:

Data Collection and Analysis: Establishing robust data collection mechanisms and employing analytical tools help transform raw data into actionable insights.

Attribution Modeling: Understanding how various touchpoints contribute to conversions allows for more accurate attribution of success to specific marketing channels.

A/B Testing: Conducting controlled experiments with A/B testing provides empirical evidence on the effectiveness of different strategies, enabling refinement for optimal results.

6.3 Adapting Strategies Based on Performance Insights

Continuous Improvement Through Iterative Analysis – Measuring success is not a one-time task; it’s an ongoing process of evaluation, adjustment, and optimization. Constantly adapting strategies based on performance insights ensures agility and relevance. Key aspects include:

Regular Reporting: Establishing a regular reporting cadence allows for timely assessment of KPIs and performance against benchmarks.

Benchmarking Against Competitors: Comparing performance metrics with industry benchmarks and competitors provides context and identifies areas for improvement.

Iterative Testing: Embracing a culture of continuous improvement involves iteratively testing new ideas, analyzing results, and incorporating learnings into future strategies.

Measuring success in marketing is not merely about tracking numbers; it’s about deriving meaningful insights that inform strategic decisions. As postgraduate students immersed in the world of marketing strategy, understanding the intricacies of KPIs and data-driven decision-making empowers us to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. In the final sections, we will delve into contemporary challenges faced by marketing professionals and explore emerging trends that shape the future of marketing strategy Frameworks.

7. Challenges and Future Trends in Marketing Strategy Frameworks

7.1 Contemporary Challenges

Adapting to Dynamic Market Conditions – The fast-paced nature of the business landscape introduces a set of challenges that marketers must navigate. Staying ahead in the face of these challenges requires strategic foresight and adaptability. Key contemporary challenges include:

Rapid Technological Advancements: The pace of technological evolution introduces both opportunities and challenges. Marketers must continually assess and adopt emerging technologies to stay relevant.

Consumer Empowerment: Empowered by information and choices, modern consumers demand personalized experiences, ethical practices, and transparency. Meeting these expectations poses a challenge for brands.

Navigating Ethical Considerations in Marketing – As consumers become more socially conscious, ethical considerations in marketing become increasingly important. Balancing business goals with ethical practices involves:

Authenticity and Transparency: Authenticity in messaging and transparent communication build trust. Ethical marketing practices involve truthfulness in advertising and fulfillment of promises.

Social Responsibility: Embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and sustainable practices aligns with consumer values and contributes to a positive brand image.

7.2 Future Trends in Marketing Strategy Frameworks

Artificial Intelligence and Automation – The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation into marketing strategies is a defining trend. Key applications include:

Data Analysis and Personalization: AI enables advanced data analysis, allowing for more granular customer segmentation and personalized marketing strategies.

Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: Automated customer service through chatbots and virtual assistants enhances efficiency and provides instant support to consumers.

Sustainability as a Strategic Imperative
As environmental concerns take center stage, sustainability becomes a key consideration in marketing strategy. Trends in sustainable marketing include:

Green Marketing: Emphasizing environmentally friendly practices in products, packaging, and operations to appeal to eco-conscious consumers.

Ethical Sourcing: Communicating responsible sourcing of materials and fair labor practices in marketing messages.

In the dynamic landscape of marketing strategy, challenges and trends are intertwined. As postgraduate students aspiring to master the art of marketing, understanding and addressing contemporary challenges while staying attuned to future trends is imperative. Navigating technological shifts, meeting ethical expectations, and embracing sustainability are integral aspects of crafting strategies that resonate with both current and future consumers.

The journey from defining marketing strategy and understanding market research to navigating digital marketing, social media strategies, measuring success, and addressing challenges and trends provides a comprehensive framework for postgraduate students seeking to excel in the field of marketing strategy. As we look towards the future, the ability to adapt, innovate, and integrate ethical and sustainable practices will be crucial in shaping successful marketing strategies in an ever-evolving business landscape.

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By understanding these key aspects, postgraduate students and aspiring marketers can equip themselves with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of the ever-changing marketing strategy frameworks. If you enjoyed reading this post, I would be very grateful if you could help spread this knowledge by emailing this post to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.

Innovations in Marketing Strategy

Innovations in Marketing Strategy – As a marketing graduate, I have been asked on a handful occasions on how best to outline innovations in marketing strategy. In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, an effective marketing strategy is the key to unlocking success and sustaining growth. As graduate students of marketing, we understand the significance of formulating a well-thought-out marketing strategy that not only attracts customers but also builds long-term brand equity. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of marketing strategy, exploring its fundamental concepts, elements, and how to craft a winning strategy that aligns with your business goals.

Marketing Strategy Dissertations

Understanding the Basics of Marketing Strategy

Before diving into the depths of crafting a marketing strategy, it is essential to grasp the foundational concepts that underpin innovations in marketing strategy.

Market Segmentation – Market segmentation is the process of dividing a broad target market into smaller, more manageable segments based on common characteristics. Graduate students of marketing must understand the importance of segmentation in tailoring their marketing efforts to the specific needs and preferences of different customer groups. Market segmentation and targeting are not static concepts but evolving strategies that adapt to changing consumer behaviors and technological advancements.

Market segmentation, a fundamental concept in marketing, involves dividing a diverse market into smaller, distinct segments based on shared characteristics or behaviors. This approach recognizes that not all consumers are alike and allows organizations to tailor their marketing efforts more effectively. Graduate students should explore various segmentation criteria, including demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors, each providing unique insights into consumer behavior.

Once segments are identified, targeting comes into play. Targeting involves selecting one or more specific segments as the focus of marketing efforts. This strategic decision is essential for resource allocation and message customization. By understanding the characteristics and needs of the chosen segments, organizations can create personalized marketing campaigns, increasing the likelihood of resonating with their audience and building stronger brand-customer relationships.

In today’s digital age, market segmentation and targeting have evolved with the availability of big data and advanced analytics. These techniques remain the cornerstones of successful marketing strategies, enabling businesses to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.

Target Audience – Identifying a target audience is a critical step in marketing strategy development. By defining your ideal customer persona, you can tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with their unique needs, behaviors, and preferences.

Identifying the right target audience is a pivotal aspect of marketing strategy. It involves a comprehensive understanding of customer demographics, behaviors, and preferences. By honing in on a specific audience, organizations can allocate resources more efficiently, tailor their messaging to resonate with the intended recipients, and ultimately drive higher conversion rates.

Targeting enables businesses to build meaningful connections with their ideal customers, fostering brand loyalty and advocacy. In today’s data-rich environment, graduate students must grasp the significance of defining and reaching the right target audience, as it forms the foundation of effective marketing campaigns.

SWOT Analysis: A Crucial Starting Point

One of the first tasks in crafting a marketing strategy is conducting a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This analysis helps graduate students identify internal and external factors that can influence the success of their marketing strategy.

Strengths and Weaknesses – Evaluate your organization’s internal factors, such as your resources, capabilities, and market positioning. Identify your strengths, which you can leverage, and your weaknesses, which require improvement.

Opportunities and Threats – Examine external factors, including market trends, competition, and economic conditions. Identifying opportunities allows you to exploit market trends, while recognizing threats enables proactive mitigation strategies.

Crafting Your Unique Value Proposition

A compelling value proposition is the heart of any successful marketing strategy. It defines what sets your product or service apart from competitors and resonates with your target audience.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Your USP should convey why your offering is superior or different from alternatives in the market. It should address the specific needs and pain points of your target audience. The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a vital element in marketing strategy. It encapsulates the distinctive qualities or benefits that set a product or service apart from competitors.

A well-defined USP resonates with consumers by addressing their specific needs or pain points. Graduate students should understand that a compelling USP not only attracts attention but also builds brand identity and customer loyalty. Effective USPs communicate value and create a memorable brand perception, contributing to the success of marketing campaigns in a crowded marketplace. Crafting a unique, resonant USP is a strategic imperative for businesses seeking a competitive edge.

Clear Brand Identity -Building a strong brand identity is integral to your marketing strategy. Graduate students should ensure that their brand message, visual elements, and tone of voice are consistent and aligned with their value proposition.

A clear brand identity is fundamental in conveying a brand’s values, personality, and promises consistently across all touch points. It involves defining elements such as the brand’s logo, color scheme, typography, and tone of voice. This identity acts as a visual and emotional anchor, allowing consumers to recognize and connect with the brand effortlessly. Graduate students should recognize that a well-defined brand identity builds trust, fosters brand loyalty, and sets the stage for effective, cohesive marketing strategies.

Developing Marketing Objectives and Goals

Effective marketing strategies are goal-driven. Establishing clear objectives and goals is crucial for tracking progress and measuring the success of your strategy.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART) Goals:
Graduate students must craft SMART goals that are specific, quantifiable, attainable, relevant to the strategy, and bound by a timeframe. These goals serve as benchmarks for success.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Identify the KPIs that will be used to measure the performance of your marketing efforts. These may include metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, and customer retention.

Selecting Marketing Channels – Selecting the right marketing channels is essential for reaching your target audience effectively. Graduate students must consider the following:

Digital Marketing – In today’s digital age, online channels such as social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising play a pivotal role. Choose the channels that align with your audience’s online behavior.

Digital marketing encompasses a wide array of strategies and channels, from social media and content marketing to SEO and email campaigns. It leverages the vast online landscape to reach and engage target audiences effectively. In today’s digital age, graduate students must grasp the dynamism of digital marketing, where consumer behaviors, algorithms, and platforms continuously evolve.

By understanding this multifaceted field, marketers can harness the power of digital marketing to expand their reach, enhance brand visibility, and drive conversions in an increasingly interconnected world.

Traditional Marketing – Depending on your target audience and industry, traditional marketing channels like print advertising, direct mail, and television can still be effective. Evaluate their relevance to your strategy.

Traditional marketing comprises strategies that have been fundamental to the field for decades, including print advertising, direct mail, television, radio, and outdoor advertising. These methods, though considered “traditional,” remain relevant in certain contexts and industries.

For graduate students, it’s essential to recognize that traditional marketing channels offer unique advantages, such as broad reach and tangibility. Understanding when and how to integrate traditional marketing into a comprehensive strategy is crucial, ensuring a well-rounded approach that capitalizes on both digital and traditional channels to achieve marketing objectives effectively.

Implementation and Execution

Once your marketing strategy is in place, the execution phase is where the rubber meets the road. Graduate students should:

Create a Marketing Calendar – Develop a detailed timeline that outlines when and how each marketing activity will be executed. This helps ensure consistency and accountability.

Allocate Resources – Ensure that you have the necessary resources, including budget, personnel, and technology, to implement your strategy effectively.

Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation

Marketing strategy is not static; it requires continuous monitoring and adaptation to remain effective. Graduate students should:

Regularly Analyze Data – Use data analytics to track the performance of your marketing efforts. Adjust your strategy based on the insights gained from customer behavior and performance metrics.

Stay Informed – Keep abreast of industry trends, market shifts, and emerging technologies that may impact your strategy. Adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the competition.

Innovations in Marketing Strategy Project
Innovations in Marketing Strategy Project

Conclusion Innovations in Marketing Strategy

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, graduate students must master the art of crafting effective marketing strategies that drive business success. By understanding the basics, conducting a SWOT analysis, developing a compelling value proposition, setting clear objectives, selecting the right marketing channels, and executing with precision, you can create a strategy that resonates with your target audience and achieves your business goals. Remember that successful marketing is an ongoing journey, requiring continuous monitoring, adaptation, and innovation to stay ahead in the competitive landscape.


Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (2017). Principles of Marketing. Pearson.

Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2014). Developing a wider perspective on corporate reputation management. Journal of Brand Management, 21(9), 693-699.

Pulizzi, J., & Barrett, N. (2015). Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses. McGraw-Hill Education.

Hsu, C. L., & Tsou, K. H. (2019). How social media influencers build a brand? Strategies and challenges. Sustainability, 11(7), 1868.

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

Lee, M., & Youn, S. (2009). Electronic word of mouth (eWOM): How eWOM platforms influence consumer product judgment. International Journal of Advertising, 28(3), 473-499.

Smith, A. N., & Noble, S. M. (2014). The impact of social media usage on consumer purchasing behavior. Journal of Retailing, 90(3), 363-376.

Kim, A. J., & Ko, E. (2012). Do social media marketing activities enhance customer equity? An empirical study of luxury fashion brand. Journal of Business Research, 65(10), 1480-1486.

Escalas, J. E. (2007). Narrative processing: Building consumer connections to brands. Psychology & Marketing, 24(8), 713-741.

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Advertising and Ethical Contracting

Advertising and Ethical Contracting

Advertising and Ethical Contracting Project – In advertising it is possible to have organization promising more than they can offer. This is considered as unethical advertisement. However, organizations use attractive information to try and entice potential consumers into buying their products and services.

The main objective of an advertisement is to convey the intention of the advertising company. The information may be about a product or a service (Dobson et al, 2012). These are informative advertisements that are aimed at ensuring that the customers are informed on the contents of a product or a service and hence help them in making an informed choice.

However, an organization may include false information in the adverts. The information may be misleading making the customer to make a decision unwillingly. They may be following the promised item rather than consume the product being advertised. Most advertising organizations are warned against misleading consumers and luring them into choosing their products and services out of misleading information (Boundy, 2010).

On the other hand, customers are warned of their being conscious when responding to offers in advertisements. They should comprehend the information being conveyed in the advert and not just make haste into getting the promise in promotional adverts (Suprapto et al, 2015).

The organization that engages in such practices can be considered to be unethical in its advertising practices. This is because the customers might not specifically choose their products but rather the rewards promised in the promotions advert. The advert remains irrelevant in the promotion and the customer does not develop a liking for the main product or service but rather focuses on winning the promised item. However, some organization will reward a prolonged usage of a product through royalty points reward programs.

Case Review Advertising and Ethical Contracting

In the case, the Soft Drink Company intended to entice its consumers into taking more of the drink and accumulate points. It had placed a high figure on the points that one needed to accumulate by consuming the soft drink in order to be considered for the reward. The consumer would take a long time to earn the points and hence they had placed the reward of a Harrier Jet just as a motivation to make the consumers take more of the soft drink.

The organization had no intention to give the reward. They had projected that probably no one will be able to accumulate the necessary points before the promotion was over. As per the calculations one would have probably consumed 190 drinks a day for a period of 100 years in order to accumulate the points. Getting 7 million points was impossible and this is what the organization considered in placing the advertisement on the media.

On the other hand, the Harrier Jet cost over $ 23 million. It was therefore illogical to place a bet worth $700,000 for an item that is over 2000% worth of the value. This made the advert to be a joke as highlighted. However, the businessman’s focus was not from the customer’s point of view but rather from the business point of view. He had envisioned himself possessing the Harrier Jet worth over $23 million for a price that was merely less than a million dollars.

In evaluating the case, the judge argued that the advert was basically a joke and the organization had not meant to give the promised Harrier Jet. In addition, the advert was basically an offer and the organization had not entered a legal agreement with the businessman that upon completion acquisition of the points, the organization would provide the customer with the promise. There was therefore no legal obligation for the organization to provide the promised reward to the customer upon accumulation of the necessary point (Suprapto et al, 2015).

There are terms and conditions in every business undertaking. The organization must have stipulated that the advertisement was meant for enhancing the consumerism of their products and not necessarily the accumulation of points. The accumulation of points was a methodology of encouraging repeated consumerism. However, the allowance by the organization for the consumers to purchase points at a price of 10 cents each was a shortcoming and this triggered the businessman to use the same to accumulate points.

Valid Contract

An advertisement is considered lesser than an offer. It is an invitation to make a deal. The organization that advertises places an open invitation to make a deal. In a valid contract, two or more parties come to an agreement to provide a service, a product or commit an act and it is enforceable by law. For a contract to be enforceable, there must be an offer then followed by an acceptance (Dobson et al, 2012).

This is followed by the creation of a legally binding agreement where the two parties consent to an agreed terms and conditions. They enter the agreement with a free will after they have understood the terms. Where force or confusing statements are used during the dealing the contract is declared illegal and void (Silver & Hochberg, 2013).

A valid contract must contain several elements. They include;

  • An offer that provides the details of what is to be provided and at what condition.
  • Acceptance to show that the two parties have consented to the agreement.
  • A consideration which may be money or something of value that ensures there is interest in the parties to enter or have an exchange agreement.
  • The capability by the parties to be able to honor the contract. The parties have to be mentally, physically and economically able to honor the agreement as stipulated.
  • Intent is the will to carry out the promise in the agreement.
  • The legal entity where the agreement is sealed using legal terms and conditions and hence be capable of legal defense in case there is a breach and a resulting breach of contract.

The parties to a contract agree on the terms after fully understanding their role in effecting their side of the contract. One may be the recipient of what the other party has to offer. For instance, in a service provision contract, the service provider is expected to agree to provide a service at an agreed level (Jones, 2022). The client will consent to pay the client upon complete provision of services. However, if the client fails to pay or the service provider fails to honor the agreement, the legal process may be induced by the arising conflict.

There are several types of contract. An express contract is a common type where the elements such as offer, acceptance and consideration are specifically stated (Silver & Hochberg, 2013). This helps the parties to understand the terms and regulation regarding the contract. An example is a tenant – landlord agreement where the tenant agrees to pay the landlord some given amount at the end of their stay.

Most buying occurs in environments where the customer and the client negotiate on an oral platform. In these kind of contract there are less formalities and its only at the end of the agreement when the client provides the customer with a receipt or invoice to cement an agreement. When the agreement is reached a document to document the acceptance may be used to make sure that the promise is honored (Fehr et al, 2011).

The goods are then not returnable after the customer has left the premise. An example of an oral contract is where a buyer negotiates the buying of a car with a car dealer. At the end of the sale the buyer get the documentation and leaves with the car and cannot return the vehicle to the dealer. The buyer will provide the payment immediately they reach an agreement and will exchange with the car documents.

Advertising and Ethical Contracting
Advertising and Ethical Contracting

Another kind of contract is an implied contract. In this type of contract, one of the parties will put themselves in a position that suggests they are ready to honor what the other may be offering. Their position is deemed as readiness to negotiate and accept the terms of the contract. For instance, when a person visits a restaurant and sit, the waiter or waitress will approach the customer and ask for their order. This is because the customer is assumed to be willing to eat or drink and pay for the same upon service.

However, the problem arises where one of the parties may not be ready to enter an agreement with the other. For instance when one is not ready to eat but still enters a restaurant. The service provider may still serve the customer and if they fail to pay after consuming the product. Such a case means that the hotel operator can sue the customer under the Quasi-Contract terms since the actions of the customer implied they were ready to be given some service (Fehr et al, 2011).

Illegal and Void Contracts

In a case like the one of the businessman, there was no contractual agreement with the soft drink company that after they accumulate the points, they would receive the reward. This was not even an offer but an invitation to deal. The businessman did not even bother to consult from the soft drink company on whether he would receive the reward upon complete accumulation of the desired points (Fehr et al, 2011). Instead he went ahead and accumulated the points disregarding additional information for him to avoid his uninformed decision.

For illegal contracts there is lack of efficient components to validate the same to make it an enforceable contract. However, when one party fails to perform their part of the contract, the other may proceed and have a legal claim for damages and hence the facts are used to enforce the contract and have the recovery of damages. This occurs for the purposes of recovering an interest or a consideration that one party had honored and the accused failed.

Recommendation and Conclusion

Looking from all aspects of a valid contract, the advertisement failed to reach the threshold. The Federal Judge at the Southern District of New York evaluated the advert and considered it a joking one. He ruled out that the firm intended to reward those that reached the said points. If the reward was based on a recorded accumulation of points, the case could have been different.

In a reward mechanism, the parties will have a written document to show parties agreed on some terms to comply with (Emerson, 2010). The customer or the user will receive a registration number or an account into which the points will be accumulated as they consumed the product. Every time they enter the customer consumes the said product points are added to their account. This is common with supermarkets, filling stations and other businesses.

Nonetheless, the kind of advertisement that was used by the company was misleading and unethical. It is always important to apply ethics and not be superstitious like the organization did. The man might have justified the ultimate action of the businessman. Organization should uphold that advertisements meet an advertisement ethical threshold (Emerson, 2010). The firms should be restricted from placing the life of a consumer at heart.

They cannot promise consumer that they are going to reward them and fail the same upon successful completion of the points’ accumulation. The desired level is stipulated at the beginning and the willing person is then registered so as to have their points added upon consumption.

Luring and misleading advertisement should attract some penalty. The firms or individuals who use false and enticing details, so as to coerce consumers into buying products or services should be held accountable to unethical and illegal practices. Nonetheless, when an organization practices such, their credibility in the market gets affected. Some of the practices may as well lead to consequences that may include expulsion by regulatory bodies.


Boundy, C. (2010). Business contracts handbook. Farnham, Surrey: Gower Pub.

Dobson, A. P., Stokes, R., & Dobson, A. P. (2012). Commercial law. London: Sweet & Maxwell.

Emerson, R. W. (2010). Business law. Great Claredon Street, UK: Oxford University

Fehr, E., Hart, O. D., Zehnder, C., & National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011). How do informal agreements and renegotiation shape contractual reference points? Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Silver, T., & Hochberg, S. (2013). The Glannon guide to contracts: Learning contracts through multiple-choice questions and analysis. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Jones, S. (2022) Advertising and Ethical Contracting: Marketing Consulting Project. Study-Aids Research

Suprapto, M., Bakker, H. L., Mooi, H. G., & Hertogh, M. J. (2015). How do contract types and incentives matter to project performance? International Journal of Project Management. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2015.08.003

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Evaluate the Psychographic Segmentation Method as a Basis for Effective Marketing in the UK Car Industry

Marketing segmentation is an important part of the marketing process. In order to be effective, firms must know who they want to target and what their customer needs and wants are. The UK car industry has a very large market and in order to serve it efficiently, it needs to segment its market and select a target market. Several methods may be used to segment the market but this essay will focus on evaluating the psychographic segmentation method as a basis for effective marketing in the UK car industry.

This essay will first define several terms, and then it will explain the benefits and the limitations of psychographic segmentation. It will then show how psychographics are used in the UK car industry and identify if other segmentation techniques are used, with or without psychographics, in this same industry.

Market segmentation is an essential part of the marketing process. It allows firms to allocate their market into groups that have the same similarities, which are relevant for decision making in the marketing strategy (Jobber, 2001). Then firms can target their market to serve it effectively, they can differentiate the market, define the opportunities and threats and tailor the marketing mix.

To be useful, segments selected should be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable (Jobber, 2001). The market can be segmented in different ways; the three most popular techniques used are: behavioural segmentation which analyse benefit sought, purchase occasion, purchase behaviour, usage and perception and beliefs; the second is psychographic segmentation which analyse the lifestyle and the personality of consumers and the third is profile segmentation which base its researches on demographic, socio-economic and geographic variables (Jobber, 2001).

Researches show that there is no exact definition for psychographics but Emanuel H Demby (1989 p 26). said that “psychographics allow us to view a population as individual with feelings and tendencies addressed in compatible groups (segments) to make more efficient use both of mass media and those that targeted to particular potions of the population”. The basis of psychographic research is that the more a firm know and understand about their customers the more effectively they can communicate to them (Heath, Piirto, 1995).

Psychographic Segmentation Research

Psychographic research can identify similar values, attitude, and lifestyle or personality groups, but the two main variables used in psychographic segmentation are the lifestyle and the personality of the customer: Personality is an individual’s pattern of character that influences behavioural responses such as self-confidence, dominance, sociability. This variable is important to be understood because people tend to see themselves in a way and purchase products to satisfy their self-concept so people see them in the way they want.

Lifestyle is a person’s pattern of living as expressed in this or her interests, opinions and activities. It is considered to be a rich descriptor of people buying patterns. Often, people buy brands because those brands relate to their way of living (Morgan, Doran, 2002-2003). For example, a successful businessman in his late thirties will buy a BMW because the image the brand shows in its advertisement is power, success and high standard of living. Psychographics are necessary to firms because they can investigate into specific product category and brand decisions by consumers and can be used to paint the big picture of consumer lifestyle (Heath, Piirto, 1995).

Psychographics has proven to be a very useful tool for organisations in their marketing research. It identifies target markets that could not be isolated using only demographic variables. According to Wells (1974), psychographics is designed to measure the consumer’s predisposition to buy a product, the influences that stimulate buying behaviour, and the relationship between the consumer’s perception of the product benefits and his/her lifestyle, interests and opinions (Heath, Piirto, 1995).

Often researchers have turned to psychographics because of the limitation encountered in demographics. An advantage of psychographics is that it describes segments in terms directly relevant to advertisement campaign and market planning decisions of organisations (Heath, Piirto, 1995). It has also appealed marketers for its power to combine the richness of “motivational research” with the statistical sophistication of computer analyses and, provide corporate strategists with rich descriptive details for developing marketing strategy; (Lesser, Hughes, 1986) it has the ability to give marketers a big image of the consumer’s lifestyle.

There is also the appealing advantage that psychographic segments, which are developed for markets in one geographic location, are generalizable to market in other geographic locations (Heath, Piirto, 1995). Psychographics are essential for discovering both the explicit and the hidden psychosocial motives that so often spell the difference between acceptance or rejection of the brand.

But psychographics has limitations, researchers have found reliability problems: first there are no standardized methods to evaluate the stability of results of psychographic techniques and incertitude in this area weakens predictive power. Therefore, it will throw doubts in whether the segment and market targeted are reliable or not.

The main problem is that psychographics attempt to measure intangible and diffuse concepts, values and attitudes are not easy to measure as every single person has a different personality and consequently have different opinions and interests. It has also been pointed out by (Fenwick et al., 1983) that there is little cross-study evidence on reliability so findings cannot be compared and improved.

The car industry in the United Kingdom is very large but is resumed by two monopolies: the first one is a monopoly in favour of Ford, which owns most of the leading brands. The second is another monopoly which is described as a “complex monopoly situation arising from the selective and exclusive distribution system used by most car suppliers in the United Kingdom.” by the United Kingdom Parliament (1998)

The UK has the biggest used car market in Europe: of the 26 million cars on the British road only 2 million have been bought new in the past twelve months (United Kingdom Parliament (1998). Since the market is so large, and that there is a word limitation, this essay will only concentrate on two different brands both owned by ford but with different legal entities and different target market.

Psychographic Segmentation in Marketing Project
Psychographic Segmentation in Marketing Project

Jaguar creates cars for customers that are seeking distinctive saloons and sports cars which deliver “stimulating performance and captivating style”. They have built an image for their cars which correspond to what their potential buyers want to identify themselves as. The company is seeking to reflect the individuality of its consumers. Its image is one of luxury, sport and freedom to inspire people. Jaguar uses psychographics since a big part of the customer’s purchase decision process is based on values, self-concept and attitudes. Jaguar need to know its customers, their personality and their self-concept to create a car up to their expectation and reflect the lifestyle they have.

Volvo is another brand of car that has a very different target market. Volvo uses psychographics to segment their market. They create cars aiming mainly at “modern families”. They analyse what are the attitude and values of families towards cars, what are the lifestyle of today’s families: research showed that families were going away for holidays and needed big cars that are able to be reliable and provide comfort for the whole family.

It has been found that today, families go to the beach but also to the mountain. So, Volvo created cars that allowed families to purchase car to suit their lifestyle. They also had to analyse the personality and the self-concept of those families. A family that wants freedom, that is adventurous. And this is reflected in Volvo’s advertising campaign. So, when people watch those advertisements, they can rely to it and identify themselves with the image they are giving out.

Other methods of segmentation are used in the UK car industry such as demographics or geographic. But often those methods, particularly in the car industry, need to be supplemented with other data, even if some researchers such as Ziff (1971) affirmed that “as demographic is based on the ground that demographic groups are relatively homogenous, it does not need psychographics to distinct customer’s behaviour” (Heath, Piirto, 1995, p 16).

Demographics can turn up objective facts such as tell that the target customer owns a car but it will not be able to tell why the person bought the car; this “why” is told by psychographics. In order to be successful, the car industry must know its consumers: their age, their sex, their marital status, their income, their purchase behaviour such as if they are brand loyal or if they are innovators. Jaguar keep record of every single client and follow them for up to four years to know everything about their satisfaction, their complaint, so they are able to measure the number of clients that are brand loyal.

Both Volvo and Jaguar saw a new target market in women and develop design to satisfy their wants. In order to serve this new and growing market, identified through demographics, those firms will need to use psychographics because women have different attitudes, values, personalities and lifestyle than men. They will also need to know what their expectations are and what issues they think are most important when they buy a car. For example, women may be more focused on safety and design while men may be more careful about their image and the performance of the car.

Therefore, psychographics can be a useful tool for the car industry in segmenting their market. This technique helps them understand their customers better and deliver more appropriate products and services. But as psychographics have proven not to be reliable on different situations, it would be more effective if used with other segmentation techniques such as demographics or behavioural segmentation. It will allow marketers to have more data in order to select the most appropriate market for their product and avoid making errors in their decision process.


Lesser, A.J., Hughes, M.A., (January 1986) The generalizability of psychographic market segments across geographic locations, Journal of Marketing [online], Vol.50 pp18-27.

Jobber, D., (1995) Principles and practice of marketing, 3rd Ed McGraw Hill Book company, England.

Heath, Piirto, R., (Nov./Dec.1995) Psychographics, Marketing tools [online], Vol.2, issue 8, pp 12-25.

Fenwick, I., Schellinck, D.A., Kendall, K.W., (1983) Assessing the reliability of psychographic analysis, Journal of marketing science, Vol.2, No.1.

The United Kingdom Parliament, (1998) The structure of the UK car market, Committee on Trade and Industry, Second report.

Morgan, S.J., (2003) Lecture 3: Segmentation, targeting and positioning, Lecture Notes, [online], Birkbeck university of London.

Ziff, R., (1971) Psychographics for market segmentation, Journal of advertising Research, Vol. 11, No. 2. Available from: EBSCO host.

Morgan, C.M., Levy, D.J., (2002-2003) Psychographic segmentation, Communication World.

Demby, E.H., (1989) Psychographic revisited: the birth of a technique, Marketing research, Vol.6, No.2, pp 26-29.

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What is meant by the term Integrated Marketing Communications and how is it strategically implemented, and what are the perceived benefits to having a centralised, synthesised company message?

Integrated marketing communications has been defined as a management philosophy, an educational movement and a unifying business practice, among others. Cornelisson and Lock state that IMC is nothing but a management fad. This ambiguity in defining and measuring IMC has prevented the development of a cohesive research stream in this area. In order to build on and extend previous research, I have chosen to adopt the original definition of Duncan and Everett, who define IMC as “the strategic coordination of all messages and media used by an organization to influence its perceived brand value” (Beard, 1996).

While approaching this topic area, I came across several surveys that were conducted for IMC. In order to attain a greater understanding of IMC and to construct validity, I then decided to conduct my own survey. I contacted and interviewed 14 senior marketing managers, and asked them to give me their definition of integrated marketing communications These managers were employed by a representative mix of large and small companies, ranging from 15 to 90 employees, competing in industries including telecommunications, food and beverage manufacturing, and financial services.

All the managers I interviewed were responsible for planning and implementing marketing communications programs. Illustrative job titles of those interviewed included senior director of marketing, regional team manager of sales and marketing, senior product manager, and owner/general manager (for small businesses). All 14 managers interviewed defined integrated marketing communications as a management practice. The owners of the two smallest businesses, a restaurant and a local sports shop, had no real idea as to the understanding of IMC, however their marketing structure showed evidence of it in use.

Furthermore, the most common element of their responses was the coordination of marketing communications tools. This provided further support for adopting the Duncan and Everett definition of IMC. When I asked them to suggest ways as to create a coordinated marketing strategy, all 14 managers suggested four components that contribute to the coordination of marketing communications activities:

  1. Planning and developing different communications tools such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct mail as one integrated project.
  2. Assigning responsibility for the overall communications effort to a single manager.
  3. Ensuring that the various elements of the communications program have a common strategic objective such as reinforcing a particular positioning strategy or appealing to a key benefit sought by a target segment.
  4. Focusing on a common communications message.

These are similar ideas, yet each captures a slightly different aspect of the way senior managers coordinate diverse communications activities. They also reflect the three prevalent conceptualizations of IMC summarized by Nowak and Phelps -“one voice,” “integrated communications,” and “coordinated campaigns”–further strengthening the construct validity.

I followed the suggestions of Churchill to build and test a multi-item scale to measure IMC as perceived by senior marketing managers, since no such scale exists in the literature. Based on the definition of IMC and the input from senior managers discussed above (to ensure construct validity), I constructed the following four items for the Likert scale. Before I go on, the Likert technique presents a set of attitude statements.

Subjects are asked to express agreement or disagreement of a five-point scale. Each degree of agreement is given a numerical value from one to five. Thus, a total numerical value can be calculated from all the responses. The following statements were posed to the managers and their responses were recorded as a numerical value; a value of 1 was given if they absolutely disagreed and a value of 5 was given if they totally agreed.

  • When more than one marketing communications tool or activity is used for a product or service, they should be planned and executed as distinct, separate projects.
  • Different marketing communications tools for a product/service should be planned by the same manager.
  • The elements of the marketing communications program for a product/service should be strategically consistent.
  • I would say that the marketing communications tools used for a product/service focus on a common message.

Integrated marketing communications has been a worthwhile goal of marketing people for the past 30 years. When compared with uncoordinated approaches, IMC offers more relevancy and greater opportunities to achieve client objectives.

The real opportunities to serve clients with significant results, however, lie in areas outside typical demand/creation-driven communications. You cannot really integrate marketing communications without first integrating marketing and recognizing that demand fulfillment (service, delivery, etc.) is just as critical to success. And you cannot truly integrate marketing without first integrating the company (Burnett, 1998).

A recent case study showed banks in many parts of America recently began selling mutual funds. They needed a new profit center because of lower interest rates and the resulting loss of funds. But a focus solely on increased profit is behind the failure in integrated marketing of bank mutual fund products (Burnett, 1998).

For example, in New York, during the first six months of last year, 13 banks and savings and loans in New York spent $6 million advertising mutual funds and other investment products, up more than 500% from the previous year. This relatively high level of funding was spent on demand/creation activities with little consideration for demand fulfillment and how customers would actually come in contact with the bank.

So when prospective customers entered banks inquiring about mutual funds, they often encountered clerks who supplied only partial information, misinformation, or simply had no answers at all and did not even know where to find them. (Burnett, 1998) There is a unifying secret to integrated marketing communications, integrated marketing, and integrated companies. It is a concentrated focus on the customer and a recognition that every point of contact between the company and the customer; product packaging, advertising, or customer service–is an opportunity to create a positive synergy and a happy customer.

The real impetus behind integrated marketing is in realizing that a company’s products and services do not exist to increase profits and maximize shareholder value. They exist to benefit customers better than the competition; that is the way to advance profitability and expand shareholder value. It is a long-term view, and one held by many Japanese companies.

The change that integrated marketing calls for requires that organizations first test the waters by focusing on a particular business or product area, and following an approach. The first step, however, common to both, is an infrastructure, creating cross-functional teams of people who can recognise and represent the needs of the customers at every point of contact with the organisation. This group can include finance, sales, marketing channels, communications, etc. The next step is picking the approach (Burnett, 1998).

One approach may be to take existing products and services, communications, and infrastructure and focus on a particular business area. The cross-functional team redefines the marketing communications and operational aspects of that area. The team develops specific and measurable goals with regard to communications, relevancy, and productivity, and it creates specific plans to measure the achievement of those goals.

Integrated Marketing Communications Agencies

All of this suggests that the future of general advertising and direct marketing agencies is not in integrated communications but in integrated marketing. (Coen, 1998) The challenge before us is to move away from discipline-oriented solutions to integrated marketing solutions that address multiple dimensions of the client’s business situation. This change will require that advertising agencies play a hybrid role as consultants, communication experts, and process facilitators.

Most companies appear to be practicing IMC to some degree, supporting the observations from my previous survey, that IMC is important and is increasingly considered a marketing ‘best practice’. There is a strong relationship found between IMC and performance measures such as market share, sales, and profit further demonstrate the value of efforts to enhance IMC. Although IMC is becoming more popular, a survey showed that 12 percent of respondents implied that their communications programs were fully integrated, suggesting that 88 percent have room for improvement to some extent (Coen, 1998).

Of the three items used to measure IMC, respondents indicated that the area with the most room for improvement is the strategic consistency of the communications elements. This is consistent with Kitchen and Schultz’s notion of the most advanced ‘stage 4’ of IMC development; the financial and strategic integration of IMC synergies (Kitchen and Schultz, 1999). Therefore, managers should focus more on the strategic objectives of their communications programs and increasing the consistency of those objectives across individual program components.

For example, if the overall campaign strategy is to increase new users, this should be the focus of the media advertising, public relations effort, promotional programs, and website design. By focusing on the strategic use of IMC, managers will also be able to measure better the financial returns of communications programs as a whole.

One of the objectives of this study was to learn about factors, which enhance or reduce IMC. Based on the foundation laid here, advertising professionals should be able to make changes that may strengthen IMC in their firms. (Coen, 1998) My findings indicate that assigning managers with significant career experience the responsibility for marketing communications integration can enhance IMC.

The other factors associated with IMC may not be as actionable as increasing the experience of the lead manager; however, they may provide valuable insight to managers interested in encouraging IMC in other ways. For example, the results show that company size is negatively related to IMC. It is likely that marketing communications programs in large organizations are managed by a number of employees, departments, and functions, in various divisions.

This diverse responsibility makes coordination difficult and increases the likelihood that communicated messages will not be consistent. In order to enhance IMC in such situations, it may help to coordinate communications programs at the product or service level. A product or brand management structure where responsibilities for individual brands are assigned to one experienced manager may enhance IMC by reducing the “size” of the business as much as possible and encouraging coordination at the product/service level. Management efforts to organize the communications efforts appropriately would help address the apparent hurdles involved in increasing IMC in large companies. (Gonring, 1994)

The results of the study suggest a number of implications relative to client-agency relationships. The most obvious would be to assign a diverse set of communication responsibilities to a single agency to coordinate and implement. This would lower the complexity of large, diverse communications programs.

Integrated Marketing Communications Project
Integrated Marketing Communications Project

One way to achieve this would be to reorganize large agencies into product/service groups, designating account management, creative, media, sales promotion, public relations, and research professionals to integrated client groups (see Gronstedt and Thorson, 1996, for other ways agencies can organize to encourage IMC). Reorganizing in this way would go a long way toward enhancing the coordination of communications activities and toward increasing the strategic consistency of messages and media implemented on behalf of clients (Gonring, 1994).

The strong relationship between IMC and firm performance found in our study suggests that agencies should encourage IMC by their clients. Prior research clearly shows that clients are the drivers of IMC and that strong client-agency partnerships that produce integrated communications plans are critical to the success of IMC efforts. The scale developed in this study could be used by agencies to measure the degree of IMC of potential and current clients to determine the components of IMC that need the most improvement.

A final implication of these results for the client-advertising agency relationship is that the IMC scale developed here can be used to help define the role of the client and agency in developing and implementing integrated communications programs. Prior research has shown that one of the hurdles to IMC is the question of who should coordinate programs, client or agency. Each feels that IMC is their role, leading to problems in implementation.

Expectations may be unclear and, therefore, information not shared. Where does the responsibility for IMC lie? Who should be primarily responsible for it? The results, combined with results from prior research, suggest that clients should be responsible for the strategic direction and planning, which are the foundation of integrated communications programs (Gould, 1999).

Advertising agencies should be responsible for message consistency and coordination of communications programs. IMC should originate with client generally who see the “big picture” and recognise the role of communications efforts in their overall marketing strategies. Agencies, on the other hand, are best suited to coordinate and implement IMC programs across messages, media, products, services, divisions, and countries. The results suggest that clients have more room for IMC improvement in their strategic planning role than do agencies in their tactical implementation role and that advertising agencies are well positioned to be the “lead” communications agency in efforts to improve IMC. (Hutton, 1996)

Managers can cultivate a spirit of IMC in their organizations by creating sales message strategies that could be more carefully coordinated with other forms of communications in the planning and implementation stages in order to avoid the inconsistencies that are more likely to occur later on. Personal selling is a large part of the communications mix. In addition, prior research has found that business-to-business firms tend to rely more heavily on advertising agencies for IMC than do consumer-focused firms. This suggests that advertising agencies have a greater opportunity to help business-to-business firms more closely integrate their marketing communications programs.

 Imperial Tobacco Limited is an example of a company, which is Canada’s largest tobacco manufacturer, effectively employed three critical integrated marketing communication (IMC) practices: strategically consistent brand communication, cross-functional planning and monitoring, and data-driven targeting and communication. By utilizing in-depth consumer research and key IMC processes to construct brand and lifestyle imagery for its flagship cigarette trademark, Player’s, ITL achieved greater brand equity and greater shareholder value. (Dewhirst, 2005).

In conclusion, it is evident that having a centralized, synthesized company message is vital in order to bring about success. It is essential that companies realize the potential and the importance of this message. Integrated marketing communication is really about having a coordinated, organized structure in the way information is sent across. Organisation in every part of our lives is the key to building a successful empire. We have to remember that IMC is not a fundamental theory.

It is still very much at the developmental stages. There may be some areas where it may not work, so it is essential to see how IMC develops over longer periods of time, maybe through longitudinal studies. From this study we have also learnt that it is crucial to value the customer and stakeholder, if all we do is concentrate on integrating marketing communications and fitting it into the company structure, then it is possible to lose focus on the real target, the consumer. It may be wiser to start with the consumer and fitting IMC around the company structure in order to obtain the greatest benefit for the company and the consumer.


Beard, F. “Integrated Marketing Communications: New Role Expectations and Performance Issues in the Client-Ad Agency Relationship?” Journal of Business Research 37, 3 (1996): 207-15.

Burnett, J., and S. Moriarty. Introduction to Marketing Communication: An Integrated Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998.

Coen, R. J. Annual Advertising Spending Report. New York, McCann Erickson, 1998.

Gonring, M P. “Putting Integrated Marketing Communications to Work Today.” Public Relations Quarterly 39, 3 (1994): 45-48.

Gould, S. J., D. B. Lerman, and A. P. Grein. “Agency Perceptions and Practices on Global IMC.” Journal of Advertising Research 39, 1 (1999): 7-20.

 E. Thorson. “Five Approaches to Organize an Integrated Marketing Communications Agency.” Journal of Advertising Research 36, 2 (1996): 48-58.

Hutton, J. G. “Integrated Marketing Communications and the Evolution of Marketing Thought.” Journal of Business Research 37, 3 (1996): 155-62.

Kitchen, P. J., and D. E Schultz. “A Multi-Country Comparison of the Drive for IMC.” Journal of Advertising Research 39, 1 (1999): 21-38.

Low, G. S., and J. J. Mohr. “Setting Advertising and Promotion Budgets in Multi-Brand Companies.” Journal of Advertising Research 39, 1 (1999): 67-78.

Mand, A. “No Gamble: P&G Looking to Put More Brands Online.” Brandweek, 1999.

Neff, J., and P. Sloan. “P&G, No. 1 Again, Aims to Reinvent Marketing.” Advertising Age, 1996.

Nowak, G., and J. Phelps. “Conceptualizing the Integrated Marketing Communications Phenomenon: An Examination of Its Impact on Advertising Practices and Its Implications for Advertising Research.” Journal of Current Issue, and Research in Advertising 16, 1(1994):49-66.

Dewhirst and Davis. “Brand strategy and integrated marketing communication.” Journal of advertising 34, 4 (2005): 81-92.

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