Academic journal article Advances in Management

Marketing Channel Integration -A Review of Current Debates

Academic journal article Advances in Management

Marketing Channel Integration -A Review of Current Debates

Article excerpt


This article will distinctly focus on the most recent of research progress that has enriched the field of online and offline marketing integration and will therefore predominantly concentrate on the development of the field since 2010. On the basis of current literature, I argue that, on the one hand, channel integration is generally relevant but on the other hand that product category (hedonic or utilitarian, high-risk or low-risk) is a moderating variable for the decision making process. It is crucial to decide when integration is needed and when integration is expendable.

Keywords: Marketing, Online and Offline, Channel Integration.


Since Kotier and Armstrong1, published "Principles of Marketing", many previously unknown marketing avenues have been illuminated in the course of academic research and through practitioners' effort. When we use the latest definition of the American Marketing Association2'3 which says that "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large", one can see that from the end of the millennium we have experienced a paradigm shift towards internet-based marketing activities, which were thought to replace traditional offline marketing. In the course of the rise of the so called new economy, which accompanied the worldwide boost of internet use, a large body of literature has emerged on online marketing and related issues by a widespread dissemination of text books13'26 and journal articles from the prestigious Journal of Marketing (established in 1936, impact factor 3.37), the Journal of Marketing Research (impact factor 3.1), the Journal of Consumer Research (impact factor 3.54), Marketing Science (impact factor 2.20), among others.

However, the majority of contemporary scholars have stepped back and rejected the above mentioned replacement hypothesis in favor of a more differentiated argumentation: Offline and online marketing co-exist and possible substitution effects are insufficient. This has led to the conclusion that firms need to find ways to strategically connect internet-based and traditional marketing. This goes far beyond just placing the firm's URL in a print magazine advertisement.

Consequently, the integration of online and offline marketing has developed to a seminal and promising direction for both research and managerial practice. Along with the extensive use of smart-phones on every market, even more options for the integration are prevalent. The need to search for synergies between online and offline marketing first came up a little more than one decade ago, when Naik and Raman20 questioned the exclusive vanguard role of internet-based marketing activities and when Ha14 substantially contributed to possible synergistic effects when it comes to the encounter of online and offline media followed by the article of Chang and Thor son8 who detected synergies in the case of television and online advertisements. The Harvard Busmess Review approached the subject with the article of Abraham1 who points out that both advertising routines significantly overlap. Channel integration and strategic media synergies are keywords in that area of interest30.

Pal and Kapur21 have identified an increasing amount of media channels that coincide with a decrease of effectiveness of marketing efforts in the case that either online or offline campaigns are run. Thus, this calls for synchronization strategies in order to realize multichannel customer experience. The AMA2'3, publisher of the above two, first named, highly ranked international journals, that has opened his first international office in 2013 in Chma explicitly focuses on exactly the same and offers a straight forward description of firm-consumer-reality on their website:

"Customers today are hyper-connected and more empowered than ever. …

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