Integrated Marketing Communications is one of the most important domains of the marketing discipline and it is growing with every passing day. Its growth is in direct proportion with the rising business challenges of the modern world. The combination of various marketing activities which are then referred to as an Integrated Marketing Communications is based on the useful insights that are explored from the different aspects of consumer behavior (East, Wright and Vanhuele, 2013). Using IMC, marketers then transform consumer behavior and build loyalty and other affiliations and bonding of the consumers with the organization (Mihart, 2012a).
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In a similar context, the underlying research reviews the impact of IMC on the consumer behavior. The study developed an assessment using secondary data using both qualitative and quantitative research approaches.
The results revealed that IMC produces a holistic impact on consumer behavior with respect to decision-making process, basic needs, emotional attachment and resonance (Tsai, 2005). However, the results also noted that there are no scientific formulae for defining the IMC that will impact the consumer behavior in the desired direction. Instead, each business is required to produce its own mix. Businesses are t using IMC to impact the consumer behavior, but the benefit is exploited to a limited extent only. There is much more potential in directing consumer behavior using various Integrated Marketing Communications techniques. Among some of the reasons working behind this parity is the constant evolution of marketing communication activities, rapidly and abruptly changing consumer behavior, and most importantly the lack of strategic level attention from the businesses towards exploiting the advantage for the business growth (Marketing Charts, 2008).
In a competitive economic environment, the growth and survival of companies have become challenging because they require the presence of detailed and adequate information about consumers. Therefore, the notion of innovative and modern marketing techniques has highlighted the need for obtaining information about consumer behavior, attitude, and needs. By marketing the product, company does not mean to look for people and persuade them to buy the product whatever is produced by the company. However, the major motive of marketing is to fulfill the needs of consumers and satisfy them at the supreme level. One of the important prerequisites of fulfilling the needs of consumers is to understand the consumer behavior. Integrated Marketing Communications helps to develop effective methods and processes to meet the needs of consumers and satisfy them in the best possible way.
This paper is based on the study of Integrated Marketing Communications and its impacts on the consumer behavior. This first section is the introduction and it elaborates the concept of integrated marketing communication, consumer behavior and the association between them. Moreover, this part of the report also presents the research objectives and research aim of the study as well as the methods used to carry out research study.
Integrated Marketing Communications is the process used by companies to synchronize their marketing activities and efforts throughout various communication channels. The American Association of Advertising Agencies terms Integrated Marketing Communications as an approach to attain objectives of marketing efforts by bringing together the various promotional tools and marketing methods that are planned and aimed to strengthen each other
Integrated Marketing Communications is a combination of different promotional tools and marketing activities and techniques which help to make marketing strategies more effective and maximize profits. This approach is achieved through regular and brief messaging that encourages customer affinity and awareness (Madhavaram, Badrinarayanan and McDonald, 2005). Consumers are attracted towards effective marketing communications that reflect useful and meaningful images and brand purpose. Significant messaging and thorough brand consistency t yield customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Since marketing methods have transformed into niche marketing from mass advertising, companies across the globe are increasingly using Integrated Marketing Communications to establish more effective marketing campaigns in terms of cost and value (Belch and Belch, 2003). Various communication tools that Integrated Marketing Communications uses include digital as well as traditional media like webinars, blogs, television, radio, magazines, and search engine optimization.
Consumer behavior deals with the study that identifies the reasons behind the consumption patterns of people. It helps to investigate the behavior of people considering the purchase of products, the process involved in buying and the next purchase after the purchase has been made once. There are various factors that influence the consumer behavior and these include social, psychological, personal and cultural factors. According to de Mooij (2010), consumer behavior defines the processes in which people choose and select the product according to their preferences, and purchase the product to use so as to satisfy their needs and wants. Consumer behavior theory involves the major aspects of academic disciplines such as sociology and psychology which affect the model of consumer behavior. However, the main domain to influence the consumer behavior is culture, which shows people how and what to learn and accept (Chaudhuri, 2012).
Personality shapes the behavior of a person, and it has a strong association with cultural values (Hofstede, 2011). For this purpose, Hofstede, & McCrae, (2004) stated that culture and personality are bound together, that are interiorized, which is far more than social or environmental influence. The model of cross-cultural consumer behavior involves and combines together individual, cultural and societal aspects. The societal aspects deal with the effects, behavior and cognition, while, the individual aspect portrays the traits and attributes of the personality (East, Wright and Vanhuele, 2013). All three factors contribute to forming a consumer behavior which also includes the issues that affect the consumers before, after or during the purchase. Consumer behavior is an essential tool of marketing since all market assessments and decisions are based on knowledge and assumptions of consumer behavior (East, Wright and Vanhuele, 2013). Undoubtedly, consumer behavior is a complicated process but it is critically important for marketers so that effective decisions are made.
Schultz (2000) has defined the process as a strategic marketing method which is particularly structured to ensure the coordination and amalgamation among communication and messaging strategies across all possible marketing channels. However, the marketing activities must be centered around the consumers. Integrated Marketing Communications is a sensitive approach that impacts the decision-making process of consumers. Consumers can shape their behavior and thus change their decisions regarding the purchase of any particular product while encouraged or discouraged by the message disclosed by the marketing of that product.
Integrated Marketing Communications strategy must communicate to the needs of consumers in order to bring the attention of consumers towards the product. Also, it must emphasize the preferences and values of consumers so as to create an affiliation and emotional resonance of consumers with the product. The absence of these elements can lead to poor customer loyalty, greater switching rate to other products and weaker brand image (Mihart, 2012a). Ineffective Integrated Marketing Communications can also impact the choice of consumers at first glance. Thus, it is necessary to have good packaging, labeling and strong brand image in order to achieve a strong customer base.
Considering the above aspects, this research study focuses on exemplifying the wide range of impacts on consumer behavior of Integrated Marketing Communication. Specifically, the paper has focused on different methods of communication and marketing activities that are combined to communicate a message about the product. Seeing the extent to which the integrated marketing activities effectively reveal the actual message of the product, consumers tend to change their behavior and perception towards product. This paper also explores the importance of Integrated Marketing Communications in today’s competitive environment by critically measuring and assessing their effects on the changing behavior of consumers. In the discussion, the diversity and multiplicity of interests including the high risk factors involved in the hosting of mega-events are also uncovered. This study will help to determine the factors that contribute to the behavioral change in consumers caused by Integrated Marketing Communications and the reasons why companies are increasingly willing to adopt this marketing technique to promote their product.
The aim of the research study is to conduct a practical study to identify the impacts of Integrated Marketing Communications on consumer behavior. Since marketing of the product is the most essential element of any business which helps to create a customer base and promote a product, it is vital for organizations to identify major factors that can affect the marketing of the product. This research study will analyze the extent to which Integrated Marketing Communications is an effective and advanced way to carry out marketing activities.
This aim of the research study is further classified into research objectives. These objectives will support the researcher to carry out the research aligned with the desired goals and objectives in an attempt to obtain the best possible results and helpful findings for the whole research study.
Saunders, Thornhill, & Lewis (2011) defined the research objectives as the total of outcomes that will be produced after performing comprehensive and wide research. The research objectives for a given research study, that is the impact of integrated marketing communication, are defined as follows:
Research methodology is an important part of the research study which provides a way to gather information with the intention to achieve research goals (Friend, 2013). Research methodology sorts out the roadmap which defines the major areas that need to be covered in order to get the best outcomes of the research (Kumar and Phrommathed, 2005). For the underlying study “the impact of Integrated Marketing Communications on consumer behavior," the researchers have employed the alignment of both qualitative as well as quantitative method to enhance the accuracy of the study. Also, researchers have drawn upon academic literature as an important chapter of the study. For the literature review, researchers have collected data through secondary sources. Secondary data implies that the information has previously been collected for some other reason.
The Research plan of the complete study “The impacts of Integrated Marketing Communications on consumer behavior” has been categorized into five major chapters. Each chapter has been developed with the aim to explore the aspects to conducting a detailed study on a given subject. The chapters of the research study and their purposes are described below:
Chapter 1: The first chapter of the research study entails the introduction part of the study. This part defines the basic issue or subject of the research around which the research will revolve.
Chapter 2: The second chapter of the research presents the literature review of the study. The literature review is drawn from the critical analysis of studies conducted by different researchers and authors in relevant fields.
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Chapter 3: Chapter three presents the research methodology used in this study. Research methodology defines the ways to conduct research.
Chapter 4: Chapter four entails analysis and discussion of the research study. This creates a link between the literature review and the findings from secondary research and provides the overall outcome of the study.
Chapter 5: The last chapter deals with the conclusion part of the study. This concludes the result of the study, including ethical considerations and future aspects of the research.
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