In the early 1990s, the concept of mass advertising started to give way to target market advertising ways of making communication more effective to the target audience were needed. There was a need for synergy between the messages being sent out to the target audience. This need gave rise to the concept of integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).
IMC is a concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising sales promotion public relations and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.
The American Association of Advertising agencies defines integrated marketing communications as The concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines (general advertising, direct response sales promotion and public relations) and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact.
The power to influence the customer has now shifted to the retailer. In a highly competitive world, the retailer faces a knowledgeable customer and increased advertising clutter. The rise of the internet has created a new medium for advertising and communication for the retailer. Technology is a key enabler in retail. Use of technology enables the retailer to assess the audience through database technology. Faced with increasing costs and pressure on margins an integrated approach towards marketing and communication is necessary for the retailer.