Integrated Marketing Communications: Practice Leads Theory

Philip J. Kitchen
University of Hull, UK and ESC Rennes, France

Ilchul Kim
Dongeui University, South Korea

Don E. Schultz
Northwestern University


The uses of integrated marketing communications (IMC) are widespread and varied. Throughout the world, a variety of concepts, approaches, methodologies, and applications exist around the mean that academic agreement is difficult. Yet, in spite of the continuing theoretical confusion, a large numbers of agencies and marketing organizations continue to deploy “integrated marketing” or “integrated marketing communication” programs. In a 2004 study, 89 percent of nearly 300 U.S.-based marketing decision makers reported they were “executing integrated marketing campaigns” (Mill-ward Brown, 2004). The list of global IMC program sponsors include the likes of IBM, Microsoft, FedEx, and Accenture (Kitchen and De Pelsmacker, 2004; Kitchen and Li, 2005; McArthur and Griffin, 1997; Prensky, McCarty, and Lucas, 1996).