Exploring the Possibilities and Challenges of IMC in the Digital Media Era
Kang Kyoung-Soo （Kansai Gaidai University）
The purpose of this research is to explore the possibilities and challenges of integrated marketing communications（IMC）in the new digital environment. In this research, six business people with considerable experience of IMC and six IMC researchers who had observed them for many years were interviewed individually, and the results are given below.
First of all, many experts emphasized the following points: in a greatly-changing communication environment, which is making good use of smartphones and other mobile devices, the integration of media and creativity is increasingly becoming important and it is now difficult to practice marketing without IMC. Secondly, in the evaluation of the effectiveness of IMC, a high evaluation score, 4.4 out of a possible 5, was given by experts, and the main reasons were its high cost-effectiveness and indispensability for strengthening client relations. Thirdly, as factors to accelerate the IMC implementation process in an organization, stress was given to the importance of top management involvement; for example, a strong commitment to IMC decisionmaking and strengthening cooperation among divisions. Fourth, as disincentives to IMC implementation, the advertiser side mentioned that management and responsible staff have little understanding and knowledge of IMC, and the agency side mentioned the company-wide lack of management and administration capability to conduct IMC campaigns. Fifth, it became clear that strategic consistency, starting from the initial selection of ideas, IMC planning and implementation, through to improvement activities, is essential for a successful IMC implementation. Lastly, it was confirmed that IMC activities should be assessed from the brand viewpoint, more specifically, the development of a positive attitude to the company and product brand.
The above analysis results clarified that in the 30 years or so since its inception, IMC has taken hold as an important concept leading the innovation of organizational culture particularly at a practical business level, and has been applied extensively. However, it was also confirmed that to more effectively implement IMC strategy, there are some challenges in need of solutions.