Academic journal article Researchers World

The Perception of Small and Medium Enterprises (Smes) Marketing Managers on Imc Strategy in Zimbabwe: A Case of Masvingo Urban

Academic journal article Researchers World

The Perception of Small and Medium Enterprises (Smes) Marketing Managers on Imc Strategy in Zimbabwe: A Case of Masvingo Urban

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

To date, there is little empirical research in Zimbabwe on Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) despite its appeal and accounts of its benefits. The author proposes that IMC is fundamentally a process in which marketing managers instil into Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) a sense of competitiveness in the organization. IMC has been recently postulated as a key determinant for a firm's competitiveness. Also, IMC has been found to encourage message integration and consistency, facilitating the interpretation of information for customers. The customer will not be confused by the vast amount of information from all contact points. Marketers can also combine all of their communications in order to plan and create a coherent and synergistic approach. One hundred marketing managers were interviewed at their offices in Masvingo urban and a series of regression analyses was done and standardised coefficients were used to establish their perception on IMC as a marketing strategy. Most of them expressed ignorance of the full knowledge of IMC and its employment as a marketing strategy. There is need for SMEs to embrace IMC as a new phenomenon that can catapult their businesses.

Keywords: perception, Small and Medium Enterprises, Integrated Marketing Communication strategy.

INTRODUCTION:

The Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) concept originated at North Western University, where Professor Don Schultz (1993) introduced and developed it further over the last decade. However, some researchers believe that the concept of IMC can be traced back to the1970s (Cornelissen and Lock, 2000; van Riel, 1995). The first study on IMC was conducted by Caywood, Schultz, and Wang (1991b) at the end of the 1980s, while the first ''conceptual ideas'' were published in the book ''Integrated Marketing Communications'' by Schultz, Tannenbaum, and Lauterborn (1993). IMC advocates believe that its emergence was down to the context of media upheaval of that time, for example, digital TV and mobile phones, market environments, that is, increasing global competition and rapid technological developments, such as the personal computer(Kliatchko,2005; Reid, 2003; Eagle and Kitchen, 2000; Griffin and Pasadeos,1998;Bruhn,1997/1998; Hutton, 1996).

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) emerged during the late twentieth century and its importance has been growing ever since (Grove, Carlson, and Dorsch, 2002; Cornelissen, 2001; Hartley and Pickton, 1999). Owing to the impact of information technology, changes came about in the domains of marketing and marketing communications which led to the Emergence of IMC (Kitchen et al., 2004a; Phelps and Johnson, 1996; Duncan and Everett, 1993). Businesses in the world are working towards embracing IMC and Zimbabwe is not an exception.

Integrated Marketing Communication is a step towards an integrated approach in achieving efficiency by synergy. By definition, It involves the merging of distinct communication functions in a way that allows an organization to speak with "one voice, one look" (Fitzer 2005). It is also considered as the planning and execution of all types of marketing communication needed for a product, brand, idea, company or place in order to satisfy a common set of objectives and support the positioning of promotion. The concept of integrated marketing communication has evolved over four fundamental stages, starting from tactical coordination of promotional elements, redefinition of the scope of marketing communication and application of information and communication technology to the financial and strategic integration (Panda 2009). The definitions suggest that any business including SMEs, may employ IMC.

BENEFITS:

The multiplication of media, demassification of consumer markets, and the value of the Internet in today's society are just three of the areas in which technological innovation has impacted (Pilotta et al., 2004; Peltier, Schibrowsky, and Schultz, 2003; Reid, 2003; Lawrence, Garber, and Dotson, 2002; Fill, 2001; Low, 2000; Hutton, 1996). …

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