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Integrated Marketing Communications and International Advertising

Chapter 1: Introduction

Significance of the Study

The issues of the market economy organization have special significance considering conditions of formation and establishment of international business relations and the tough and ever-increasing competition. Marketing is the tool that guarantees an opportunity for successful implementation of market activity. The need to introduce the marketing potential and its components is caused by the urgent requirements to develop an assessment of an applicability of the modern economic apparatus, management and other approaches in the practice of commercial activities of enterprises.

Taking into account the objective circumstances of the business organization and the need for existence in the saturated market conditions, fierce competition, the rapidly changing market environment, and an increase in diverse requirements of consumers, many executives and senior managers have come to the next conclusion. More rapid and relatively inexpensive marketing solutions, including the ones in the emerging business fields, should be developed. Today, a transition to the concept adopted in the West – a set of the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), which has responded to the growing complexity of marketing theory and promoted products and services on the domestic and international markets – becomes urgent and relevant.


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The basic principles of the IMC are the following. First, a set of communications is based on a variety of specially organized feedback channels. In essence, the feedback is the foundation of the IMC, which provides its activity and efficiency. Second, communication contains not only the multilevel creative advertising idea but the possibility to organize social and meaningful dialogues with potential consumers. Third, the use of the IMC has the distinct complex of the spatial and temporal border to pass the sound uniformation of all communications. Fourth, communication is designed to reduce the number of intermediaries that transmit information to a consumer. For these reasons, the study of the IMC and its tools is a significant issue in the framework of international marketing.

Statement of the Problem

There is a tendency to increase the advertising information according to the increase in requests, the needs of individual customers, and over-saturation of the consumer market with numerous product groups in the current economic climate. In this connection, the traditional means of marketing and advertising have lost its former influence. Changes in global marketing are primarily characterized by the dramatic shift in communication strategy. Competition forces companies to spend the efforts not exclusively on the development of fundamentally new and indispensable products, but on promoting the creation of unique technologies as well. International advertising is one of the most powerful and irreplaceable components of the system of marketing tools. Its improvement can help increase potential customers’ demand for the target product that will give companies that seek to go beyond domestic promotion substantial benefits to expanding activities in the international business arena.

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Purpose of the Study

The current exploration focuses on the examination of the Integrated Marketing Communications essence and the research of ways of international advertising as its significant component effectiveness improvement.

Research Question and Hypotheses

The following issues should be explored in the framework of the discussed problem solution: to explore the IMC foundations, to consider the forms of advertising and promotion of its instruments, to identify the most relevant type of advertising exposure, and to analyze the international advertising characteristics and to search its efficiency improvement options. The study aims to test the following hypotheses. First, the transborder advertising becomes the basis of IMT, given the scale of market globalization. Second, a direct consultation may become the key to improving the effectiveness of international advertising. Third, each region has particular requirements preferring a certain type of goods; thus, transborder advertising should focus on the cultural characteristics of a particular category of countries.

Definition of Terms

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is a concept of marketing connections planning, proceeding from the need to assess the strategic role of their specific areas and to find the optimal combination of clarity, consistency, and maximization of the communication program’s impact through the consistent integration of all individual requests (Rehman & Ibrahim, 2011). The system of marketing communications, or so-called promoting complex, includes the following means of influence:

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Advertising is a paid form of information dissemination on behalf of the customer designed for the consumer (Shimp & Andrews, 2012). International advertising is aimed at foreign markets. It is derived from the core economic trends, existing in the modern world - the worldwide processes of integration and specialization, taking place in the global economy and including the output of multinational corporations into new markets (Okazaki, 2012).

Sales promotion embodies actions, materials, techniques and methods used in addition to the marketing efforts for the coordination of promotional and marketing activity. Moreover, it is additional work to purchase goods and services. Its long-term goal is to create a perception among consumers of the greater value of branded products, marked by certain trademarks; the short term - the creation of added value of a product for a customer (Percy, 2008).

Propaganda or public relations (PR) mean an increase in demand for goods (services) through the dissemination of commercially beneficial information about a product (service) in the print media, on radio, television, or from a scene by the third parties (Percy, 2008).

Personal selling (an accent on the personality of a salesman) or direct marketing (without emphasizing a trade agent) is the oral presentation of a product to the potential buyer for the purpose of merchandising it (Percy, 2008). Each lever is determined by the following specific communication techniques: sales presentations, exposures, advertising by gifts, trade fairs, distribution of catalogs and promotional literature, posters, contests, and awards, etc.

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Chapter 2: Review of the Literature

Considering the many international studies devoted to the question of marketing technologies, it is proposed to consider the followings. Fundamentals of marketing and its tools are described in detail in the Strategic Integrated Marketing Communication: Theory and Practice (2008) by Percy. The study looks at core concepts and definitions, studying the work of companies in the field of marketing and brand promotion. Particular attention is paid to communication channels and messages to consumers. Rehman and Ibrahim (2011) have continued the research in this sphere synthesizing the common knowledge and concluding that only a union of different marketing methods can bring a productive result for a company. Their scientific research is an example of many other developments, which are conducted in the United States and other countries.

Shimp and Andrews (2012) in Advertising Promotion and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications are gradually shifting the emphasis from general marketing technologies to the significance of advertising as their key instrument. Further studies on the disclosure of advertising concepts, particularly the international ones, like The Handbook of International Advertising Research (2014) edited by Cheng, and The Handbook of International Advertising Research (2012) by Okazaki, combine findings of more than 50 leading teachers, researchers, practitioners, marketers, and thought leaders in the discussed field. These books focus on the theoretical foundations and methodology of the advertising technology studies, explaining the art of collecting and processing information to make better decisions. Studies concentrate on the description of the U.S. and international developments in international marketing and advertising and explore the basic concepts of international communications.

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The mentioned researches are harmoniously complemented by Dynamics of International Advertising: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives (2011) by Mueller. Besides theory, the book examines the practical application of marketing explorations. Ethical problems of international advertising are in the spotlight. The ways of increasing the effectiveness of communication programs for the foreign markets are proposed on the basis of cultural norms and values, political environment, social aspects, and economic policies of the countries in question.

Practical and statistical indicators that are used to test the hypothesis are taken from the “Global Trust in Advertising” (2015) by Nielsen and International Marketing Data and Statistics (2014). Quantitative and qualitative data is invaluable information, which makes it possible to evaluate different types of advertising and their perception by citizens of different states. For these cases, the current study has practical value and validity. Thus, using primary and secondary sources, the most useful and relevant research findings are obtained.

Chapter 3: Research Methods

The study is based on the analysis of primary sources (statistics) and secondary ones (the literature on the topic) (Mueller, 2011). Comparative and systematic analyses were applied to get objective results. Additionally, inductive and deductive approaches were used to study the relationship between marketing technologies. Scientific synthesis made it possible to highlight the core aspects of the total amount of information that was studied. Considering limitations of the study, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research methods were practiced (Okazaki, 2012). It was necessary to examine the effects of the national peculiarities of different countries on the results of the test. Thus, the chosen set of methodological tools was applied to get accurate results.

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Participants, Data Collection, and Analysis Procedure

Research participants were representatives of different countries who were involved in several types of surveys. The summation of results gave the basis for conclusions on the regional preferences of specific categories of goods, the dominant channels of the information distribution, and the use of promotional tools. Theoretical data was taken from the specialized books, the core of which was formed by numerous leading researchers in the field of marketing technologies. Statistical data contains large-scale studies, which are difficult to carry out without outside assistance in the scopes of the current study. Thus, the quantitative indicators have been taken from the latest explorations of the Nielsen Company. Comprehensive analysis of the received information has led to the conclusion about the effectiveness of traditional advertising and gave grounds for finding ways to promote international one.

Chapter 4: Results

Demographic Characteristics of the Sample

The online survey was passed by citizens of the states from the followings regions: Europe, Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East and Africa. The age of participants ranged from 15 to 65 years. Interests of respondents include all substantial topics that are related to the key areas of life, including family, health, pets, sports, children, values, life situations, and entertainment, etc. It shows the versatility of people and the rich demographic indicator that allows for more extensive research.

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Results of the Test

Studies have shown that 83% of the respondents trust the companies, which are advised by their friends and acquaintances or familiar people (“Global trust in advertising,” 2015). The branded websites are the second most confidence inducing international advertising format that is chosen by 70% of the participants (Nielsen, 2015). 66% of the international community trusts the reviews of customers posted online, as well as editors’ positions expressed in newspaper articles (“Global trust in advertising,” 2015). However, the level of trust in traditional advertising remains high. For example, six out of ten persons or 63% prefer ads on TV; in newspapers - 60%; and in magazines - 58% (“Global trust in advertising,” 2015). Television and the print sources occupy the provided places according to other research as well. For example, in 2012, it $60.556.4 million was spent on television and printed publishing - $45.111.2 million in the United States; in Brazil (respectively) – $11.108.5 million and $2.937.4 million; in China – $16.648.5 million and $9,251.7 million; and in Australia – $4.459.4 million and $4.399.9 million, etc. (“International marketing,” 2014).

The results also include the preferred theme of the goods and services distribution. For example, a humorous theme is most welcomed in the western markets; products related to health are desirable in the vast Latin America; ads that concern the real-life situations cause an increased interest in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. Respondents aged 15 to 49 years of age focus on goods and services that are related to high-energy actions and all kinds of activity while participants aged 50 and older ones are interested in a calmer and measured way of life (“Global trust in advertising,” 2015). Their area of interest may include pets, humor, spiritual values, and real-life situations. Thus, they are interested in advertising the concerned goods.

Chapter 5: Discussion

Summary of the Findings

International advertising is the basis of modern marketing, as the quantitative and qualitative responses have confirmed their interest in advertising and its importance. Thanks to it, they receive information about products that match the primary needs. It should be considered for further research. The survey showed that respondents are very dependent on the opinions of friends and relatives (or at least – famous people), as well as the traditional advertising on television and in print media. Numerous people tend to trust the Internet as the primary source of advertising. It makes sense, given the current realities of globalization. Moreover, the demand for goods depends on the region of residence and age category. These aspects are substantial in improvement of the international advertising approaches.

Limitation of the Study

The primary limitation of research is that it brings together representatives of 60 countries. Additionally, respondents are the Internet users who have been able to participate in online questionnaire. Thus, the test could have significant errors in the age variable as the global network users are mostly young people. However, the Internet is an affordable tool for those categories of people who would not pass the survey in other circumstances. It is caused by the second limitation - cultural and ethical barriers. For example, the probability of Muslim women’s participation in the study is small, given the behaviors adopted in most Eastern countries.

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An effective international advertising can be developed, when all IMC tools work smoothly. Before starting sales promotion in a new country, PR techniques to explore the cultural, political, and social climate in a state must be pushed (Cheng, 2014). The fruitful international advertising should be flexible and take into account the differences between peoples and nations. Although the same emotions are inherent in all humankind, the degree of people’s expression is different worldwide. The variety of cultures affects all aspects of business, including international advertising. For example, the camaraderie typical for the Western offices would have been unthinkable in Japan. The informal relationships in North America, when employees call each other by name, will not be acceptable in Germany.

Most practices do not manifest promptly; thus, they are easier to disrupt than laws. For example, quoting an unrecognized writer or poet could be risky in the United States, whose citizens will not respond to the name of an unknown author. Thus, the U.S. audience would rather reject such advertising than try to understand its essence. Another example is the Middle East, which is highly religious. For this reason, the agents of marketing and advertising need to apply new methods of sales, taking into account local constraints (e.g., to show women in advertising). Moreover, it is necessary to examine the age component of a population, to determine which products will be preferred in the market.

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Most respondents emphasized their confidence in familiar people. It means that international advertising will be more effective by pushing it through the means of direct marketing, which is related to the sale promotion. It is much easier to persuade one or several persons than the entire audience at once. Thus, direct marketing can be the first step towards the development of a new market.


The results could be used when the international promotion is being planned. Direct marketing can be applied to interest the heads of the internal market with new products. It is necessary to choose individuals who are trusted by most of the population. Being involved and convinced of the usefulness and necessity of the goods (services), they become friends, who will persuade potential buyers through TV programs or newspaper articles. The effectiveness of international advertising can be increased by offering products based on the overall regional needs of a country according to the studied indicators. The first batches of goods can be sold using the sales promotion techniques to attract those persons, who will advise a product or service to their friends. It is important to take into account the cultural and ethical aspects as have been mentioned above.

Future Research

The further research could be focused on the statistical data updating, as well as the study of other variables that may influence the effectiveness of international advertising. For example, survival strategies in a competitive environment could be explored. Moreover, it could be considered a function of PR technologies and their application to the new markets of pre-ground sensing. The research will be aimed at identifying the most annoying factors advertising can be applied to. It will give an opportunity to improve the IMC system in the international arena.

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The market economy transition demands new approaches to technology and efficient business that necessitate the communicative strategy of the enterprise to a new qualitative level formation. The basis of any commercial activity of the company is to attract customers and establish long-term relationships with them. Any organization operates not in isolated conditions but in a particular environment. Moreover, all activities are aimed at achieving common goals and must be interlinked and carried out in line with a unified, balanced strategy in the business community. Thus, numerous people realize the significance of using Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). The IMC allows turning a set of promotional activities, advertising, and PR into a fruitful marketing strategic policy with the involvement of the entire arsenal of research and promotional tools. The core of the IMC is advertising, in particular – on the international level, which works most effectively in conjunction with the sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. The latter is a particularly useful instrument, as the representatives of 60 countries have confirmed their willingness to purchase a product that is advised by a familiar person. Moreover, international advertising would be effective only if a company will consider the cultural and ethical aspects of the selected states, the age structure of their populations, and regional preferences in the required products. Thus, international advertising can become a priority tool for IMC.



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