Communication Connection

Friends of Com Newsletter

Events and Happenings

Marketing and Communication: Integration that Excites

Monday, December 21, 2015

By JoAnna Culpepper

Defined by the American Marketing Association as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time,” Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) was added to the Department of Communication Studies curriculum shortly before the summer of 2011, presenting a need for open discussion around IMC topics and how to teach it. IMC is an umbrella term that covers everything from channels of advertising and different forms of marketing to public relations and event planning. With so many different paths in the IMC world, a variety of educational interests can be reached for students, making it a desirable addition to the department.

Dr. Jeanne Persuit, an Associate Professor of Communication Studies with a background in integrated marketing communications, had a desire to create a conference centered on one topic. With her experience and background in the topic and a need for more discussion around this new educational discipline, Dr. Persuit began planning the first IMC conference.

Held in June 2011, IMC and CMM: Finding Common Ground was met with great success as the first UNCW conference of its kind. The keynote speaker was Vernon E. Cronen, who led the conference attendees into a theoretical conversation around IMC topics. The event took place at 128 South in downtown Wilmington, allowing guests to enjoy the educational experience while basking in the historical beauty of the area. In 2013 the conference returned with IMC and the Polis where attendees discussed the use of IMC by varying businesses, how it influences governments and impacts public policy issues.  

Guests of the most recent IMC conference in 2015 were welcomed with the theme Creating Spaces for Engagement, which showed attendees how IMC is rooted in the communication department and within the community. Held in May, conference attendees enjoyed keynote speaker Dr. J. Kevin Barge whose work in communication design theory inspired the theme for the event.

As the IMC world is constantly evolving, so is the need to find a new and desirable topic to center the conference around. It’s crucial that this topic is flexible enough for participants to resonate with it, while still being somewhat exclusive to the world of integrated marketing communication.

As a staple of the COM department, Dr. Persuit hopes that throughout the years the value and style of the event will be maintained. While Dr. Persuit is the head conference planner, she receives promotional help, attendees, speakers and panel chairs from the rest of the department. The keynote speaker is always the highlight of the event, and the magnet that attracts attendees. Finding a keynote speaker from within the IMC world is crucial, as the direction of the event is dependent on what he brings to the table.

As the influence of social media and technology on IMC grows, so does the list of potential themes and topics that the event could be around. Staying on top of these trends allows the event to stay relevant and to grow as the years go on and to provide a space that people can “focus ideas around.” No matter the theme or the discussion held, Dr. Persuit’s main goal for the conference is for participants to leave thinking in a new way.

While the date for the 2017 conference is yet to be finalized, participants can expect to attend a one-of-a-kind event, and anyone can benefit. From students within the discipline, to students in other areas of academia, professors or individuals who are curious about the topic, there is something for everyone. What started as one single idea has now inspired thousands of ideas as guests leave the conference each year motivated and ready to take on the world of integrated marketing communication.

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