Customer Perception of the Integrated Marketing Concept (IMC) and the Moderating Effect of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

2017 edition

Vera Butkouskaya

Over the past decades, integrated marketing communications (IMC) has received consideration as a topic of research priority. Enhanced by new technologies and the growth of competition in the market place, the concept of IMC evolved from the simple instrument of a tactical coordination of promotional tools to a complex strategic process.

As an important part of a company marketing strategy, the IMC concept is well accepted by marketing specialists. Being customer-centric, it highlights the importance of having detailed information about customers. The evidence of “digital marketing” brings the possibility to collect a large amount of customer information through interactivity.  Sensing of market changes and being customer oriented as a part of company strategy transfer IMC into a dynamic marketing capability, which together with good strategy can bring a competitive advantage to company.

As previous study of the IMC concept mainly based on the managers’ opinion analysis, it is important to understand customer point of view about integration of marketing communications.

Multichannel marketing practices affect not only customer perception of communications, but also customer behaviour: from how consumers learn and share about products and offerings in multichannel marketing, and, how they shop and buy, to their evaluation and post-purchase behaviour. As previous research has focused primarily on buying behaviour, it creates the necessity to study interactions between customer-based IMC perception and customer post-purchase behaviour (repurchase intention, satisfaction, word of mouth recommendations).

In competitive conditions, in order to retain the customers, companies invest in creating long-term relationships with them. These changes lead to the appearance of the term “relationship marketing” and research interest in customer relationship management (CRM) studies. CRM analyse customer data and translates it into value-adding by delivering personalized messages across multiple touchpoints based on customer channel preferences. So, it highlights the need of understanding the moderating effect of CRM on the relationship between IMC and post-purchase behaviour.

From a theoretical perspective, this research brings additional knowledge both to the study of the IMC concept and to consumer post-purchase behaviour research from the customer point of view. Bringing together theoretical marketing and management perspectives adds value to understanding the IMC concept research and CRM role in company-customer relationships.  From the managerial point of view, understanding the relationships between IMC and post-purchase customer behaviour with the moderating effect of CRM can give companies an added competitive advantage in the market, improve their marketing strategies, positively influence customer performance. It would help managers to know customers better and enables the development of a comprehensive theory of customer retention.