Strategic integration of marketing communications capability – Insights from Irish companies

Borisov, Ivaylo Nikiforov
As communication is essential for building profitable long-term customer relationships, Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) has been identified as critically important for organizational competitiveness. And as a complex strategic process, spanning the whole organization and even extending beyond the organization, IMC is a competitiveness-enhancing structural marketing capability. But companies have found it difficult to detect the IMC value and implement the IMC Capability (IMCC). The reasons for that are the lack of consistent conceptualization of both capabilities and IMC theories as well as managerial challenges of integrating the complex process in the organization. As capabilities are fundamental mechanism for improving the firm’s competitiveness, the marketing manager’s task is to determine the essential for the marketing function and competitiveness of the firm’s marketing capabilities and ensure their availability by reconfiguring existing capabilities or building new ones. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to reveal the constructive elements of IMCC and explore how its strategic integration is affected by the organizational characteristics. For that, this study explores the evolution of IMC, resource-based view (RBV), and dynamic capabilities (DC) literature to introduce a conceptual framework of dynamic capabilities and apply it to IMCC. Subsequently, the constructive elements of IMCC and their relationships in the context of the organizational characteristics are empirically tested and explored through quantitative research and analysis among marketing leaders of companies in Ireland. As a result, the study makes several significant contributions to management, marketing capabilities, RBV, and IMC literature. Firstly, using RBV and dynamic capabilities literature, this study introduces a function-agnostic conceptual model of dynamic capabilities, which researchers can apply for consistent analysis of organizational capabilities. Secondly, it empirically establishes that IMC can be conceptualized as an architectural marketing capability, through which it addresses long-standing issues in the research community about the nature of IMC. Thirdly, this study introduces and successfully tests a methodology for measurement of organizational capabilities, which addresses research challenges in RBV and capabilities. And finally, the study successfully applies measures of complex constructs from management, organizational, and supply chain literature to the marketing domain. Importantly, the study successfully addresses the strategic integration difficulties facing marketing and business leaders. It identifies the most important elements to build IMCC in the organization and reveals some of the relationships between them and with the organization’s structural characteristics.
NUI Galway
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland