What is wrong with IMC?

IMC seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Schools are teaching it and marketers are using it, but some experts are still reluctant to write about it in new media. I was curious as to why, so I chose to reference an article titled “Integrated Marketing Communication- from an instrumental to a customer-centric perspective” by Manfred Bruhn and Stefanie Schnebelen. The purpose is to inform readers about the role of Integrated Marketing Communication in new media. Brunn and Schnebelen attempted to do this through discussion of the changed conditions of the media markets since the development of Integrated Marketing Communication.

This article is based on research done via a literature-based approach. The authors conducted this with consideration of the modern media market and customer behavior. The first step in researching was analyzing the challenges of Integrated Marketing Communication, followed by the principles of customer-centric Integrated Marketing Communication, and lastly the implementation issues in Integrated Marketing Communication. By analyzing these three steps, Brunn and Schnebelen were able to point out the gaps of Integrated Marketing Communication in new media and establish a media-based umbrella framework that searched for common gaps in new media and Integrated Marketing Communication. The authors analyzed various forms of literature that discussed Integrated Marketing Communication in efforts to see the prevalence of Integrated Marketing Communication on new media.

Brunn and Schnebelen didn’t really END the conversation on why IMC isn’t being considered a part of new media yet, but the authors definitely opened the door for it and provided

good insight into the issues of experts in marketing and new media not considering IMC a part of the currently used approach to media and marketing.

As someone who is an avid consumer of things such as Nike shoes and also an IMC student, the marketing campaign they use to get me interested in purchasing their products practically revolves around IMC. First, they promote and share user-generated content all the time for their advertisements. Secondly, they integrate all kinds of different marketing and promotional tactics in order to reach the correct audience effectively. Personally, I do not know researchers and scholars can ignore IMC’s place in new media given the fact that it is in almost every advertisement and marketing campaign that we see in today’s world. The method of encompassing things such as influencer marketing, commercials, and targeted advertisements into one campaign is practically standard in marketing now, and it is time that literature catches up with the times.

The results of the study by Brunn and Schnebelen were that the artifacts about Integrated Marketing Communication that the authors analyzed did not discuss social media as a part of Integrated Marketing Communication in new media to any great extent. The articles that were analyzed were vague and only regarded Integrated Marketing Communication as a new form of media, but did not get into specifics and more information. The literature that the authors analyzed fails to address the foundational change of social media and the impact it has on Integrated Marketing Communication as a whole. The article also discusses the loss of control over advertising content that corporations are currently experiencing. Today, someone can post a viral tweet about your brand and that becomes a part of your brand identity. The corporation has no control over that happening and as a result of the rise in user-generated content, corporations are now more interactive with users on social media and promote UGC, as opposed to strictly

pushing their own content. The authors suggest changing the mindset of the corporate IMC world, rather than changing the process in which communication is done. The results of this study encourage corporations and IMC practitioners, in general, to remember that IMC is an adaptive concept and as new forms of media and communication emerge, IMC must be adapted, rather than made into a black and white, never-changing subject.

One example of this that I see regularly is when Instagram users “tag” the brands they were wearing or using in their posts. Today, more marketing on social media is done by consumers to other potential consumers than ever before, and major corporations are putting more resources consumers to spread the word about their products in hopes that consumers create marketable content for them.

This study has made a great impact on IMC. Firstly, this article forces those in the Integrated Marketing Communication research community to seek a deeper understanding of social media and its impacts on social media. As social media continues to become a mainstream of marketing, the literature not analyzing this information shows that the Integrated Marketing Communication industry is behind where it should be in terms of analyzation and application of Integrated Marketing Communication in new media, specifically the analysis of Integrated Marketing Communication in the customer-centric landscape.


Adam Guttadauro is a student at UNCW, majoring in Communication Studies. He is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. While not in a class, he is working on his various business ventures

or at home watching football. Adam is interested in IMC due to its prevalence in his ventures and hopes to bring an IMC-centered approach to all of those ventures