The goal of this article is not to approach Communication and Marketing in the “traditional” way, for example as two separate areas of a product or service promotion, but through the view of IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication); a communication concept firstly introduced in the US that today has been recognized by the majority of marketers as the key to achieving high quality in visibility and promotion. “It has been associated with some positive results like brand awareness, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, positive brand image, unique brand association, greater profitability, increased sales and cost savings. IMC has major impact on organizational performance and brand equity”.¹
What is IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication)? There are many definitions. Given the emergence of Communication as a dominant position among the various promotion mechanisms, the following definition is preferred: “IMC is a marketing communication design concept that recognizes the added value of that integrated communication plan that evaluates the strategic role of a multitude of communication tools (e.g. general advertising, sales promotion, direct response actions, public relations) and composes these tools, in order to ensure consistency, clarity and maximum impact on the target audience”2.
Considering the above and analyzing the south eastern hotel businesses, we can argue that their approach towards the promotion of their hotel product shows the confusion that exists in the majority of the south eastern hotel businesses which, despite their generally good operating conditions, do not seem to understand that the Marketing department cannot replace the Communications department. IMC is performed in a manner of synergy rather than in isolation. Instead, there should be either two cooperating separate departments or the Communications and Public Relations Officer should get involved as a consultant when needed.
It is not possible – and it would be senseless – to challenge or minimize the marketing tools. However, as the marketing communication tools available to marketers worldwide are increasing daily thanks to globalization and the development of new technologies, it is now considered imperative to resolve any confusion. Besides, the importance of the proper communication of the product or service is confirmed by the two main characteristics of IMC. The first is neutrality in the choice of means and methods of communication. According to IMC, there are not any types of media or methods of communication better than others, but all those means to which the consumer is receptive and which are chosen on a cost-benefit basis are preferred. In addition, the potential channels of communication consider all the ‘contacts’ that the consumer has with the brand or the company. All these “contacts”/elements should work together to deliver exactly the same message and empower one another. The second characteristic is the relationship building. This is the “key” of modern marketing and IMC is the main instrument. Creating relationships requires the conversation between the brand/product in question and its consumer3. This planning and coordination is the exact task of a specialized Communication department.
Thus, since we are referring to a hotel company that wants to stay strong in its market, we automatically accept two views. First of all, when designing strategic communication plans, the role of the various elements of the promotion mix, such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, etc. must be fully clarified, because each element has strong and weak features which are being presented on a case by case basis. For example, advertising, despite its advantages, is often perceived by consumers as unreliable. Also, businesses cannot achieve their goals unless they have good public relations. It is therefore necessary that businesses develop relationships with their audience that are not limited to the mere sale of a product or service. This is something that is undoubtedly really important today because of the growing competition in the business arena.
We will not expand further on the relationship between Communication and Marketing techniques. We believe that the goal, which was to clarify the role of Communication in this relationship with Marketing, has been achieved.
- Saeed, R. (2013), Integrated Marketing Communication: A Review Paper
- Schultz, D., Tannenbaum, S., Lauterborn, R. (1993). Integrated Marketing Communications, NTC Business Books.
3. Shimp, T. (2000). Advertising, Promotion & Supplemental Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications, 5th edition, The Dryden Press.