Marketing and communication help businesses sell products, services, and ideas, as well as build and maintain relationships with customers, prospects, and internal stakeholders. The term ‘marketing and communication’ is often used to refer to all facets of a company’s marketing processes, including communication. Although marketing and communication go hand-in-hand, there are some distinct differences between the two, which we’ll cover in this article along with some recommendations for creating consistent marketing messages.
Essentially, marketing is an umbrella concept under which communication is a key component. Marketing focuses on promoting and selling products or services with the goal of driving revenue and profits for the business. Part of a company’s marketing strategy is likely to involve communication, which encompasses a broader range of activities related to the exchange of information, concepts, and ideas—such as public relations, media relations, internal communication from leadership, interactions between business functions, and other forms of messaging. Marketing communications are intended to inform, educate, and build relationships with customers, employees, investors, and the public. Simply put, communication is what gets marketing moving!
Communication is a crucial aspect of marketing because it brings everyone onto the same page. Before you can effectively communicate a brand and its benefits, you need to have a clear marketing strategy in place to:
- Establish the goals of your communication
- Identify customer segments
- Understand the people you’re talking to
- Know how best to reach them
- Formulate messaging that will resonate with your target audience and help achieve your goals
Communication should support and reinforce marketing goals and objectives and vice versa. For example, if one of your organization’s marketing goals is to increase brand awareness, then your communication activities should be designed accordingly—instead of sending a company newsletter to your most loyal customers, perhaps you get an advertising slot on a popular radio station.
Did you know that the estimated average revenue increase attributed to always presenting your brand consistently is 23%? Yet a survey of over 200 organizations found that although almost 90% agree that it is essential to present their brands consistently in all the places people might encounter them, fewer than 10% report that their brand presentation is very consistent. Unfortunately, inconsistent messaging leaves customers confused and employees embarrassed or disengaged.
That’s where integrated marketing communication (IMC) helps companies become more consistent with their messaging and make all their marketing channels work together in the long term, both internally and externally. IMC recognizes the strategic role of multiple communication tools and ensures cross-channel consistency and clarity to maximize the impact of the message on the target audience. Even if you don’t give it a fancy name, chances are that you’re incorporating IMC by default if your communications follow a solid marketing strategy.
In today’s digital world, marketing messages are delivered across multiple channels, from websites to social media, blogging, email marketing, and online advertising. Focusing on multiple marketing channels has become a necessity for many companies, but an omnichannel approach needs to offer a consistent experience in terms of messaging and branding. The goal of IMC is to ensure that communications across various channels reinforce and support one another to create a unified company image and messaging that has the desired impact.
Consistency of communication applies to both internal and external messaging, and this is the biggest breakdown we see in organizations that are struggling to retain customers. Although internal and external communications may have different objectives and deliver messages to different audiences, that doesn’t mean they should be working in silos. To amplify impact, marketing teams should align their efforts and ensure that their messages are unified across the board.
Inconsistent messages floating around in your organization can lead to an uncertain work environment for your employees. Ask any business owner that has struggled to respond to a negative online review. On the other hand, communicating consistent messages outside and within the organization helps you build and strengthen trust. For example, your company value proposition must become a promise that everyone in the company understands and agrees to uphold. If your marketing promises one thing, but the employee and/or customer experience is something different, you could end up losing trust from both.
Without effective and aligned communication and marketing, small businesses struggle to build and maintain relationships that promote their products or services. But with a good marketing strategy based on solid market research and an understanding of your target customers, you’ll be well-positioned to deliver powerful marketing messages at the right place, at the right time, and to the right people. Get in touch with the Brighter Messaging team to see how we can help.