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 Literature Review: Impact of Integrated Marketing Communication on Customer Perception in the fashion industry

The researcher will review some existing literature and findings that are closely related to the research topic. This chapter will include a broad discussion about Integrated Marketing Communication in light of previous literature. Also, the consumer perception regarding the company after the implantation of IMC will be discussed from the existing findings. At last, the researcher will draw a conceptual framework for the investigation of the previous literature, findings, and theories. 

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) 

IMC, a marketing strategy composed of both traditional and non-traditional marketing concepts, is mainly concerned with giving the best effort to deliver the message of the organization regularly to the potential customer and other stakeholders of the organization (McKinney, 2003). Integrated Marketing Communication is a process where it mixes up different marketing tools to enhance the effectiveness of those tools that focus on a particular goal of the firm. Integrated Marketing Communication is mainly concerned with getting synergy from the mix up of different marketing tools to consistently deliver the message of the company to the customer so that the customers can build a good perception about the company which in turn will increase the profitability of the company and foster the growth (Kotler, 2000). 

The Process of Integrated Marketing Communication 

The main focus of IMC is to make a better experience for the consumers. Hence, the IMC process is involved with certain steps that deal with consumers’ attitudes, behaviour and prospects. The steps of the Integrated Marketing Communication process is discussed below. 

  • Step-1: Identification of the consumers: The first step in the IMC process is the identification of the potential consumers because it deals with a specifically targeted sample consumer group rather than working with a huge population (Kotler and Armstrong, 2006). The consumers get selected based on the behavioural data because of the involvement of the IMC process with the attitude and behaviour of the customers. As incited by Lazo (2002), the consumers are differentiated by their psychological attributes. 
  • Step-2: Prospect valuing  The second step of the IMC process is valuing the prospect of the customer to assess the investment whether it will be profitable or not. It has become a necessity for organizations to assess the profitability of their potential consumer base as the organization spends a huge amount of funds nowadays for creating a loyal customer base. Loyalty and creditworthiness can be used to value the prospect of any customer (Lazo, 2002). But as incited by Marcus (2005), the prospects of the customers are valued by the frequency and amount of purchase made by the customers. The business organization moves to the consumer base that seems more profitable for the firm. 
  • Step-3: Creation and delivery of message  The creation and delivery of message and rewards are the third steps of the IMC process where the targeted consumers get rewarded by the firm if they seem profitable to the firm (Marcus, 2005). The firms use various kinds of marketing channels such as advertisement, direct marketing, and sales promotion to provide the rewards and message from the firm to the consumers. But the firms need careful while delivering rewards and messages that direct toward the firm’s goal and creates brand equity (Lazo, 2002). 
  • Step-4: Estimation of the return  For the successful implementation of the marketing strategy, the estimated return needs to be calculated than the firm can generate out of a targeted consumer base after convincing them to buy the organization products or services (Herras, 2009). The probable return needs to be estimated for both in the long run and short run. 
  • Step-5: The process of budget, allocation, recycling, and evaluation  In this step of the IMC process, the organization needs to make a budget about the requirement and sources of the fund (Marcus, 2005). Then the collected amount needs to be allocated in various sectors of marketing activities. In this step, the term ‘Recycling’ implies that the good strategies need to repeat and the faulty strategies need to be adjusted for correction (Marcus, 2005). At last, the overall process needs to be monitored carefully to check the performance of the strategies and decide whether the strategies should be used next time or not. 

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) principles 

The successful implementation of Integrated Marketing Communication for creating a good relationship with the customers is highly affected by the loyalty of the firm to the Integrated Marketing Communication principles (Kotler, 2000). The principles that have been identified by Kotler (2000) is described below. 

The organization focused on consumer 

The main theme of IMC is focusing on the customers. That means, it is an important characteristic for the firm to implement IMC in their marketing strategy. As incited by Kienast et al., (2007) the consumer-focused firms need to focus on consumer satisfaction not only on the firm’s profitability. 

Outside-In Plan 

The equal emphasis by the firm on the internal and external resources in developing the marketing strategy is called an Outside-In plan (Keillor and Owens, 2007). Consumers are the most important external resources in which the firms needs careful consideration and attention. 

Focusing on the total consumer experience 

It is a must for any organization while it is dealing with Integrated Marketing communication that it carefully focuses on the consumer experience (Jenkins, 2013). Both positive and negative experiences of the consumers regarding various offerings to the consumers need to be considered. 

Aligning the goals 

The differences in the firm’s goal and consumer’s goal can create a huge gap that may hinder the activities of the firms to satisfy their potential consumers. Generally, the customers have an objective to get the maximum utility where the firms have a goal to get maximum profit. As incited by Jenkins (2013), the goal of the firm need alignment that is the firm should fulfil its objectives by completing the objectives of the consumers. 

 The principle of treating the consumers 

Capital is considered as the blood of an organization with it the organization cannot even think to operate, and consumers are the most important part of this blood which actually builds the firms. So, the most important capital of the firm, the consumers, should be treated fairly. 

Converting the functional activities 

The IMC process involves converting the functional activities. That is it needs the conversion of mass to niche marketing, traditional to digital media marketing, limited to broad pervasive marketing within the firm (Doing business with Eastern Europe, 2002). 

Barriers of Integrated Marketing Communication 

Some of the factors that are the obstacles to implementing and operating the Integrated Marketing Communication process in the firm’s strategies are described below. 

Support of the senior management: For the successful implementation and establishment of Integrated Marketing Communication, the senior management must have huge support in this. Sometimes, the senior management refuses to provide this support which results in spoiling the IMC activities (Blakeman, 2007). 

Awareness of the consumers: The Integrated Marketing Communication should have a clear message to the firm because failure to do so can make the consumer confuse about the IMC process which in turn affect the goal of the firms. 

Consumer orientation: It is hardly possible for some of the firms to actually focus on the consumer goal and sacrifice their goal which hampers the effective functioning of the Integrated Marketing Communication process. 

Firm-employee relationship: The successful implementation of the IMC plan is only possible by outstanding employee performance which can be resulted from the good relationship between employees and the firm Cheverton, P. (2004). But, the employees hardly maintain a good relationship with the firms. 

Integrated Marketing Communication Mix 

The main theme of Integrated Marketing Communication is mixing several marketing tools to enhance the effectiveness of those tools (Chitty, 2011). The tools that are generally used in generating IMC mix is described below. 

Figure 2: Integrated Marketing Communication Mix 

Source: (Cateora, 2003) 

Direct Marketing 

In Integrated Marketing Communication, the most important tool is the Direct Marketing Strategy where the gap in-between the customers and the firms are reduced by eliminating the involved intermediaries to create effective and efficient communication among the parties. As incited by Bryman and Bell (2003), the direct marketing process needs to be interactive where the participation and involvement of both consumer and company are needed. 

Public Relationship 

Another important tool of Integrated Marketing Communication is a good public relationship where the firms maintain a good relationship with its customers to convince more potential consumers (Bothma, 2003). This process delivers information to the mass where no direct payment is required by the mass people. Public relationships are enhanced by the publicity process where various activities such as competitions, events, concerts are organized by the firms to make publicity about the firms. 

Sales Promotion Activities 

This tool of Integrated Marketing Communication can be used by the firms in the short run to enhance the sales of the firms by undertaking various strategies to convince customers to buy a product or service of the firm Zimmerman (2005). The sales promotion policy is not sustainable in the long run; it can be used in only the short run to promote a new product in the market. 

Personal Selling 

The face to face approach of IMC is personal selling where the employees of the firms make face to face communication with the targeted consumers by approaching them personally and showing the characteristics, features as well as benefits of the products or services of the firm to the potential customer (Pushparanjan, 2009). It is also possible in personal selling that the employees of the firms communicate with the consumers utilizing telephone or internet (Cateora, 2003). It is an effective approach for marketing but a bit costly than the other approaches (Bradley, 2010). 


The most traditional approach and birth concept of marketing is the Advertisement of the product or service. Both commercial and non-commercial advertisements can be made. As incited by Berkowitz and Berkowitz (2002), the most widely used IMC tool is advertising where almost 98% of the firms use advertisement tools like posters, newspaper ads, TV commercials, magazine ad and website ads. 

Consumer Perception 

The term ‘Consumer Perception’ refers to the thought of the potential consumers of a firm about its brand, product or service (Cheverton, 2004). That means the thinking of the consumers regarding the firm’s product is called consumer perception. The consumer perception is the thought that the consumers develop after using the firm’s brand, product or service (Pushparanjan, 2009). Quality, quantity, price and ability are the factors that help consumers in developing a good perception of a firm. The consumers investigate for a long time the factors that actually accounts for creating a perception of a firm. The positive consumer perception is the outcome where the consumers are highly satisfied by the firm (Cheverton, 2004). On the other hand, the negative consumer perception is the outcome where the firm’s failure to satisfy the consumers completely. 

Impact of Integrated Marketing Communication on Consumer Perception 

Integrated Marketing Communication is mainly concerned with getting synergy from the mix up of different marketing tools to consistently deliver the message of the company to the customer so that the customers can build a good perception about the company which in turn will increase the profitability of the company and foster the growth. In brief, the main theme of Integrated Marketing Communication is mixing several marketing tools to enhance the effectiveness of those tools. As incited by Chity(2011), IMC is mainly focused on consumers who are considered as the most important external resources in the firms. Hence, the firms in IMC develops various marketing strategies that best suit the consumers. In this process, the firms manufacture the products in response to the collected feedback from the consumers that can satisfy the need of the customers. The consumers get aware of the firms and satisfied by the activities of IMC which work as a catalyst to build affirmative thinking regarding the brand, product or service of the firm. Nowadays the usage of IMC is increasing and it is considered as the best marketing strategy in the fashion industry because Integrated Marketing Communication makes an impact on consumer’s tastes, attitudes, and behaviour which are the main drivers in the UK fashion industry (McCarthydid, 2008). Besides, the implementation of IMC has enhanced the sale of the product. So, IMC has a positive impact on consumer perception. 

Conceptual Framework 

The integrated marketing communication mix builds an affirmative consumer thought about the product, services and brand of the firm (Blakeman, 2007). This develops a strong perception in the consumer’s mind. The conceptual framework included below depicts the working process of the IMC mix for building consumer perception. 

This chapter after reviewing the existing literature regarding IMC and consumer perception discloses that the IMC mix affects positively the feelings of the consumer whichturnurns make them build a good perception of the company and purchase more from the company. 

Impact of Integrated Marketing Communication on Customer Perception in the fashion industry dissertation

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