This section has examined marketing communications’ claims to strategic credentials. Historically there have been several barriers to this – the fragmented nature of development and execution in the absence of strategic co-ordination, rivalries between different communications disciplines, and short-termism in the marketing communications industry itself which has led to communications being seen as a tactical rather than strategic resource.
The traditional hierarchy of strategy has, however, been challenged by the increasing importance of brands as a source of competitive advantage. As a result, organisations are recognising communications as a strategic issue and reconfiguring their internal and external relationships accordingly. The traditional distinctions between push, pull and profile strategies (focusing communications on channel intermediaries, end-users, and stakeholders respectively) are giving way to ways of analysing and planning marketing communications which recognise the complexity of how customers receive messages.