A multi-country comparison of the drive for IMC

Philip J. Kitchen*, Don Edward Schultz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


This paper concerns the aegis and rapid growth of the concept of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), firstly in terms of considering theoretical underpinnings and, secondly, by means of a five-country empirical (but still exploratory) study of the topic within advertising agencies from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and India. We start by reviewing the burgeoning literature on the topic, considering academic and practitioner opinion on a worldwide scale. This is done in order to locate IMC conceptually and consider how valuable the concept is to advertising agencies or the clients they seek to serve in today's increasingly competitive markets. We then provide the findings from a five-country exploratory study. The findings, though based on convenience sampling, indicate that IMC is not a short-lived managerial fad, nor is it just a reworking of existent theory or practice. Instead, IMC is a very clear reaction by advertising agencies and their clients as they are affected by a multitude of factors such as new forms of information technology including development and usage of databases, media fragmentation, client desires for interaction/synergy, and global and regional coordination. But, there are also problems. These are associated primarily with how to measure or evaluate IMC programs, definitional issues, and whether IMC is one subject in and of itself. The previous paper published in the Journal of Advertising Research concerned the development of IMC in just one country - the United States (Schultz and Kitchen, 1997). By extending the geographical parameters in terms of a wider international perspective, we can compare and contrast the findings and extend consideration to how and in what ways, or developmental paths, IMC could develop in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-38
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Advertising Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Marketing


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