Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI4H215: Integrated Marketing Communications

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI4H215: Integrated Marketing Communications

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N5K309
Tied to N5K209
Tied to N5K609


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) aims to combine and integrate all relevant elements of an organisation’s marketing mix through an appreciation of the most up-to-date and innovative communication approaches. The module is designed to offer students examples of the application of IMC theory and analysis that complements other core modules on the programme including Marketing Theory and Consumer Psychology.
  • Through a systematic analysis of key communication and integrative processes, the relationship of consumers, marketers and stakeholders at the centre of IMC is comprehensively deconstructed. In doing so, current communication trends are critiqued to reveal an ‘outside-in’ approach that is important for students to understand in the context of reach to both consumers and stakeholders alike. Finally, students will appreciate the complexity of key influences that include social media, digital consumer data, customer-to-customer influence, consumer behaviour, strategies for the micro-management of IMC (e.g. real time data and consumer response), as well as communication analysis and future models for IMC sustainability
  • Key objectives include:
  • Part One – the introduction: The module will introduce the foundations of IMC, to discuss the most important features, and to analyse the advantages and challenges at a theoretical and practical level. The focus will be on how IMC affects the breadth and depth of a firm’s overall marketing strategy in order to ensure an appreciation of acquisition and retention key marketing communications techniques, as well as the influence of new technology and social software. Students will be led through the structure of the marketing communications industry and be able to identify the key working relationships within it.
  • Part Two – application of new techniques and complexity: The implications for marketing communications, communicators and stakeholder groups are explored in-depth. Using relevant marketing theory, IMC models are used to identify and to highlight the most important relationships between organisations and key stakeholders. Students will be directed through a range of action-learning activities in the lectures to be able to independently assess the impact of IMC and to provide timely insight into the various challenges of the new kinds of integrative approaches that are emerging.


  • The Communications Process and Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Big data and measurement of IMC
  • The Challenge for Image & Brand Management / Customer Relationship Marketing
  • Marketing Communications Planning & the New Horizons for the Communications Industry – including digital and social media
  • Theories & Models of Communication
  • Digital marketing analytics and intelligence, data archiving, privacy and surveillance
  • An overview of consumer behaviour and consumption studies
  • Trends in Digital and Interactive marketing communications and integration of social media content
  • Social media technologies in business – including digital advertising

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will:
  • Have a critical understanding of the relationship between marketing plans and marketing communications plans as the basis for selecting and achieving a balanced marketing communications mix.
  • Be able to explain how an organisation communicates with its markets and publics through the marketing communications mix.
  • Have acquired the specialist knowledge to be able to identify buying motivations in a given market, to ensure that marketing communications plans are correctly based.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will have acquired the following specialist skills at an advanced level:
  • Ability to design and develop effective marketing communications plans.
  • Ability to establish a system of implementation, evaluation and control of the marketing communications strategy.
  • Ability to place communications in the ‘new’/digital technologies – communications setting.
  • Ability to analyse data from social media, identify appropriate analytics and apply best practices to marketing strategy recommendations.
  • Ability to generate a marketing plan to enhance a particular strategic objective.
Key Skills:
  • Effective written communication skills
  • Planning, organising and time management skills
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • The ability to use initiative
  • Advanced skills in the interpretation of data
  • Advanced computer literacy skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught in 3-hour blocks to allow a greater level of engagement with students and to enable a flexibility of approach as appropriate.
  • The teaching blocks comprise a balanced mix of lecture-type teaching, group work, case studies, discussion and seminar style working such as will enable the learning outcomes to be met.
  • The summative assessment of the module, is an individual written assignment designed to test students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter and their ability to apply their knowledge and specialist skills in the context of specific marketing communications issues.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Teaching Blocks 9 1 per week 3 hours 27
Preparation and Reading 123
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Individual Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assessment will take the form of an individual assignment focusing on one of the core themes examined in the unit based around the development of an integrated marketing communications plan 2500 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Action learning will provide students with the opportunity to explore, discuss, critique and apply the key IMC topics in practice. Students will receive verbal formative feedback throughout the term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University