Perceptions of Integrated Marketing Communications: a Chinese ad and PR agency perspective

Philip J. Kitchen
University of Hull Business School
Tao Li
Foreign Affairs College, Beijing; University of Hull Business School

Introduction

With the marketplace evolving from manufacturer-oriented and distributor-oriented to customer-oriented, the marketing concept has apparently permeated every aspect of the business operation (see Kitchen 2003a, 2003b). This evolution has also led to great changes in the roles and functions of marketing communications, which is an essential and important element in the marketing mix. In the view of Kitchen and Schultz (1999), 'digitalization, information technology, intellectual property, and communication systems are major interrelated building blocks driving changes in the marketplace and thus driving marketing and marketing communication'. With consumers moving into ostensible control of these four systems, a very new communication system is developing, spearheaded by Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) in order to reach and communicate with customers efficiently, and respond to their needs more effectively than competitors. In the past decade, IMC has been widely discussed by academic researchers and practised by marketers worldwide, and it appears to be the major communications development in the marketing domain.