This is an ongoing dispute within organisations Where does marketing start and communications end? Its a question of neurology and the mindset within each organisation. Its a discussion that usually detracts and distracts from the skills or putting the best people forward. It allows participants mark territory and take part in pointless conversations which are task driven by ideas of ownership instead of delivery of projects and strategy. It is indeed critical to overcome.
The answer is that it is a constant circle and cycle which interchange and feed on each other. The reality is that there should be no end and beginning. Marketing and Communications together are a constant process. Organisations that fall into a tremble over the lines of distinction tend not to progress and do not use the marketing function as something that is strategic and forward looking in either the B2B, B2C or the C2B spheres of marketing communications.
Todays world is led and dominated by content and the focus must be on creating the narrative and the story and then delivering it to the segmented audiences via various channels. It leads to the questions is there a 'pure' marketing person or 'pure' communications person? Possibly not. In effect these may be dated mindsets and descriptors.
It is the channel and its owner that will dictate whether it is a ‘marketing’ or ‘communications’ task or issue. But these lines should be blurred because the target audiences who populate the landscape has become atomised and blurred.
A popular misconception is that marketing communications is a press release, a photo shoot, an exhibition stand or a one off product launch.These represent a very small portion of marketing outputs. The real thing is a lot more granular, focused and interested in delivering value via research, analytics and data gathering.
When practiced correctly marketing communications when is a lot more sophisticated and generates revenues for a company. It is the creation of a brand, brand value and the conveying of this value to the market. It creates the perception of strength, trust and purpose. It succeeds because it has segmented its message to match its segmented audience. This is the 360 degree mindset which must drive and influence the function.
Why else do so many Venture capitalists in the US acknowledge and invest in the marketing communications pre and post investment? This is sometimes at 62% the level of the first round of investment which is purely used for brand building, awareness and engagement. It is because they acknowledge and recognise that it is marketing communications which both drives share holder value and overall revenue of products and sales.
Too often and one sees internal company disputes within and organisation which leads to being left out of the strategic mix. The focus and the drive sits with the engineers and the accountants. Marketing is allowed to operate but not as a full force and function on a limited level. While the accountants and the engineers ask why don't we sell more?
Theperfect scenario is when the function works hand in hand with sales, product development, logistics and operates by creating effective communication within and outside the company.
The marketing part is about analysis and research in the pre-going to market stage.
Marketing Tool kitCustomer analysis/researchMarket Segmentation
Understanding customer needs Forecasting
Competitor analysis/researchPromotion of brand
Pricing developmentPromotion of product
Product developmentDeveloping the right mix of product and service
The communications part is the activation and taking the brand, the product and company to the customer, stakeholders and the public.
Communications Tool kitIdentifying the best sales channel to target individual customer groupsCrisis Communications
Developing the content for the sales channelIssues Managment
Plan and activate the marketing campaignRisk Managment
Manage the corporate profileInvestor Relations
Media relationsInternal Communications
In essence business is about telling the market and potential clients what your company makes, activating their interest, engaging them with content and stories to encourage engage as they move through the sales channel to the point of purchase.
Companies that understand this will understand that marketing communications is the voice of the opera singer. Its loaded and loud and is focused on getting attention. The business benefits for investing in and developing a complete 360 degree marketing communications tool kit which develop the brand and create competitive advantage will be measured in sales.
So where is the start and the finish? its interchangeable. The strategy must be joint because we live in an communications landscape which is atomised. If a company was to only focus on B2B communications it would miss many of the consumers who could become their brand ambassadors.
If a company was only to focus on consumer marketing campaigns then it would miss on the partnerships and senior level decision makers in the B2B world.
So without fudging the issue it is a case of eyes open and seeing the full landscape and letting the two skills sets interact and work as interchangeable skills and functions under one strategic route.
Marketing Communications in its pure form is continuous process which is integrated throughout a business and is concentrated on creating competitive advantage increase revenue, reduce costs and increase profit. As a function it leads and supports sales revenue and increases the overall business performance.