The heart of every transactional exchange is communication between parties. The buyer seeks certain basic information about product features, price, quality, support service, reputation of the seller, and so forth. All this information is intended to assess how close each alternative is to meeting desired needs and wants. We seek information to reduce possible risk associated with the transaction. Presumably, the more solid the information we have, the more secure we feel in our decision. The seller also desires information. The seller wants to know whether you qualify as a buyer (i.e. do you really need the product and can you pay for it), which product features are important to you, what other choices you are considering, are you ready to buy, how much do you know about my product, and so forth. Therefore, all the parties enter a transaction with a whole set of questions they want answered. Some of these questions are quite explicit: "How much does it cost?" Others are quite vague and may almost be subconscious: "Will this product make me feel better about myself?" All these decisions relate to the marketer's ability to integrate marketing communications.
The primary role of IMC is to systematically evaluate the communication needs and wants of the buyer and, based on that information, design a communication strategy that will (a) provide answers to primary questions of the target audience, (b) facilitate the customer ability to make correct decisions, and (c) increase the probability that the choice they make most often will be the brand of the information provider, i.e. the sponsor or marketer.1 Marketers know that if they learn to fulfill this role, a lasting relationship with the customer can be established.