Essay about Marketing Communications

Submitted By mikewesten88
Words: 1211
Pages: 5

The State of IMC Research and Applications

When Comelissen and Lock offer us their criticism of IMC, they follow in a longstanding tradition of such criticism. While I heartily support their call for more research on IMC, 1 am far less approving of their dismissive attitude toward Its role as a strategic tooi. iMC, as a major strategic concept, is not that much different from other marketing and management tools, that in spite of their flaws and evolutionary transformations, nonetheless drive managerial behavior and provide frameworks for educating future managers. In stating what I see as the role of IMC in influencing a whole generation of marketing communications managers, I leave it to the reader to try and imagine what the fieid wouid be like without it.



Baruch College, The City University of New York

Email: Stephen _go u !d@ba ruch.ciiny.eiiu

(IMC) is a longstanding part of its history as a concept. Thus, when Comelissen and Lock make their critique of it, they follow in this tradition. Indeed, they rehearse well the various debates over the theoretical issues involved. The main criticism Comelissen and Lock make can be boiled down to the idea that IMC "can be seen as a management fashion" with a lack of theoretical content and rigor. Yet, Comelissen and Lock also seem to qualify their points by suggesting ways that the value of IMC may be studied. This represents a good starting point for my comments. Indeed, I generally agree with Comelissen and Lock's conclusions that considering the discourse surrounding the use of the term "IMC" would be very useful in showing how IMC drives promotional practices. However, I expect that such analysis would reveal that IMC deserves much more credit than Comelissen and Lock are allowing. Moreover, I would not be as dismissive of "mere" discourse and rhetoric as Comelissen and Lock appear to be. They comprise the inescapable sine qua non of all understanding, whether it be the discourse of a management team adopting IMC or an allegedly "objective" researcher developing a theory of IMC. Indeed, contemporary literary, semiotic, and social science theory suggests that discourse is the main environment in which we all live and operate. In this regard, IMC as a major strategic concept is not much different from other marketing or

managerial concepts, methodologies, or strategies that have arisen (e.g., the marketing concept, the product iifecycle, brand equity, or total quality management). All have an evolutionary, discursive and behavioral history in which the particular concept is defined and redefined, often many times. Never is there complete agreement on the meaning or value of any single concept. So by itself, a critique of IMC on the basis of being defined in multiple ways is hardly unique to it or sufficient to imply its impotence as a valuable construct. Management concepts in general have broad scope with a wide range of application that must be considered in terms of the individual managers or companies that apply them. That is why in business schools case methods are emphasized. The interest is not in rigid or bounded definitions of major business concepts per se but rather in how they are used or how they illuminate business decisions. Comelissen and Lock critique the theory of IMC or perhaps more appropriately the lack of theory. Yet, that opens another can of worms. What is a good theory? Or what is a theory at all? Here, I want to suggest that theory may take many forms. Comelissen and Lock are holding to one version of theory, which postulates relationships among well-defined constructs and then deductively develops hypotheses for empirical testing. This process is extremely informative where applicable. Indeed, I have no doubt that some researchers can develop various independent (and "objective")

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