Integrated marketing: the process and challenge of implementing this evolving concept at three private universities
Morris, L. Michelle
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This multi-site case study conducted at three private, doctoral intensive universities in three different states used a semi-structured interview guide to explore the processes and challenges of defining, developing, organizing, implementing, and assessing integrated marketing. In the mid-1990s, the phrases "integrated marketing communication" and "integrated marketing" became popular in higher education, and results of this study indicate that the two phrases are often used interchangeably, despite their distinctive meanings. None of the universities in this study had integrated organizationally to include marketing, student recruiting, and fundraising under one vice president, as recommended by Sevier (1999b). However, all three universities were actively engaged with alumni; had strong, directive presidents; had governing board committees tied to the marketing efforts; had a clear institutional vision; linked marketing efforts to the institutional vision; and found it challenging to integrate professional schools and athletics into the central marketing effort. None of the participants had a written definition of integrated marketing, and none of the institutions had fully implemented the concept. Two of the three universities had formed a cross-functional team to enhance integration. However, in both cases, the effort was directed at coordinating promotion. Although one university had some influence on certain aspects of academics, most effort being expended for "integrated marketing" at all three schools related to communication and promotion. This study found little or no connection between integrated marketing and the academic "product" at these three institutions.