Allow us to clear up the confusion: The difference between marketing and communications

Posted by Melissa Brown and Corie Farnsley on April 20, 2017

It’s easy to get the words marketing and communications confused, because the two terms are often used interchangeably in today’s business world. But there is a difference.  Allow us to explain.

Marketing vs. Communications

Marketing involves the creation of a high-level strategy or plan that a business will use to sell its product or service. It’s an umbrella term that includes many different functions. (Refer to the infographic below for a visual example of the functions that make up a marketing plan.)

Marketing addresses what the business world refers to as the “Four Ps” (also known as the “marketing mix”), which include:

  • Product – the product or service being offered
  • Price – what consumers will pay for the product or service
  • Place – where and how the product or service will be sold
  • Promotion – the strategy for how the product or service will be promoted (through communications, advertising, sales and branding)

Communications is one part of the overall marketing plan. A communications plan defines the specific tactics (or tools) that will be used to spread the word about a product or service. These tools could include written and visual materials, public relations, social media and more.

Think of it as Sell vs. Tell:
•    Marketers sell a company’s products or services.
•    Communicators tell people about a company’s products or services.

Our communications director, Corie Farnsley, created this infographic below to illustrate the difference visually:

Download a printable copy of the infographic here.

Where does CorComm Creative fit?

The professionals at CorComm Creative are first and foremost communicators – and marketers second. While we each have marketing experience in our career backgrounds and bring those skills to the table for our clients, our focus (and our value) at CorComm is assisting our clients with the tactical items in their already-established marketing plans.

These tactical items could include:

  • Managing social media profiles.
  • Writing or refreshing web copy to clearly promote a service while maximizing search-engine optimization.
  • Writing and designing printed collateral like brochures or fact sheets.
  • Writing and distributing press releases.
  • Writing ad copy and designing print ads.
  • And more! (See CorComm Creative's portfolio.)

But (bear with us here) we also do content marketing. Read on for an explanation.

What is content marketing? defines content marketing as a way for companies to provide "truly relevant and useful content to [their] prospects and customers to help them solve their issues."

In other words, instead of pitching or selling your services to customers, you're attracting them to your company with your useful content instead.

Examples of content marketing could include writing a white paper and making it available for download on your website or writing an educational blog post and posting it on your social media profiles.

So while we at CorComm Creative don't consider ourselves marketers, per se, we do provide content marketing services — because really, the tactic could be better named content communications.

CorComm Creative can help with the creation of these tools that marketers use for their content marketing strategies:

  • Writing and designing premium content, such as white papers, e-books and infographics.
  • Researching, writing and distributing e-newsletters or blog articles.
  • Sharing the content we create via social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, company blogs and others

Clear as mud?

If you still have other questions about marketing and communications or you’d like to share your own insights into how the two differ, please leave us a comment below.

If you aren’t sure whether you need a marketer or communicator for your business or organization, please contact us. We’ll help you decide.

Article Written By: Melissa Brown, Communications Manager, CorComm Creative
Infographic Written & Designed By: Corie Farnsley, Communications Director, CorComm Creative


Topics: marketing, communications, branding, advertising, sales

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Never miss an update! Subscribe to our blog.