Untangling the strings of marketing and communications

May 9, 2024 | Gabrielle Walravens
3 min
Marketing communication


Marketing and communications are not twins but siblings: close, related, and undeniably distinct.

While these concepts share many commonalities, such as strengthening a brand’s voice and impact, they operate differently and with different aims. So, untangling these two disciplines’ strings is essential to implement effective communication and marketing strategies that avoid intruding on each other.

Marketing: the strategy

According to the Larousse dictionary, marketing is “all actions whose purpose is to know, foresee and, if necessary, stimulate consumer needs for goods and services, and to adapt production and commercialization to the needs thus specified.” More simply, marketing is a term that encompasses all the strategies used to achieve specific business objectives, such as increasing sales, conquering new markets, or improving market share.

Based on an in-depth understanding of the needs and behaviours of target customers, marketing aims to encourage a paradigm shift or behavioural change in consumers through targeted actions. Specifically, marketing seeks to align product development, price, place (distribution), and promotion – referred to as the “4Ps” of marketing – to induce a shift in behaviour and paradigm, thereby stimulating demand for said product or service.

Consequently, a sound marketing strategy that positions the brand to maximize its competitive advantage requires research, surveys, and studies to decipher and better understand customers, the market, the competition, and so on. In other words, it’s time for a diagnostic ! This is the first step Maïeutyk takes in its various services, enabling you to seize opportunities and stand out from the competition.

Moreover, marketing messages are structured to incite a paradigm shift or behavioural change in the customer. Marketing is the long-term planning process that paves the way for sales throughout the consumer buying journey.

Communication: the art of transmission

Communication is the art of conveying a marketing message to a target audience, focusing on informing, positioning, educating, and persuading. It is an instrument for executing a pre-established marketing plan, whether to sell a product or service or to increase the visibility and awareness of a brand. Communication is the bridge between marketing and the target audience.

Therefore, a communication strategy represents the plan for implementing the required communication actions, such as advertising, based on appropriate channels to reach the desired segment. It plays a crucial role in executing the marketing strategy, ensuring the message reaches the consumer and persuades them to adopt a new behaviour. In fact, at Maïeutyk, the development of your communication strategy takes the form of cocreation workshops with your teams to optimize the impact of messages and encourage a change in behaviour among the target audience.

A concrete example

To illustrate the difference between marketing and communication, let’s consider this example inspired by a LinkedIn publication by Emmanuel Goffin, trainer and lecturer in digital marketing strategy at a business school:

Marketing is like organizing a big dinner party. It involves selecting the guests (the target clientele), planning the menu (a meal that meets each guest’s expectations), and choosing the theme —everything necessary for a successful feast! Indeed, just as a good marketing strategy considers the needs and preferences of the target audience, a well-planned dinner party considers the guests’ dietary restrictions, food preferences, and the overall ambiance they would enjoy.

Communication, on the other hand, is the invitation to the meal. In other words, it’s how you inform your guests (which communication channels do you use? What message do you convey?) to make them want to come and give them a taste of what’s in store.

In conclusion, although marketing and communications often overlap, understanding their distinction is essential for any organization seeking to optimize its impact on the market. In the digital age, integrating marketing and communication into a company’s overall strategy is more critical than ever. Successful companies are those that maintain coherence between their marketing and communications strategies.

Would you like to know the strengths and weaknesses of your company’s marketing and communications? Take our free diagnostic to get a clear picture of your company’s situation in just a few moments.

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