Blurred Lines: Between Marketing vs Communications – The Messy Distinction

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Is it right to talk about marketing vs communications, or are they the same thing? My question comes on the back of a comment I tweeted the other week. In it, I conflated marketing and communications – and was (rightfully) called out for doing so by a fellow marketer.

The chap in question drew my attention to the famous 4 Ps principle, correctly pointing out that communication is just one part of “promotion”:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Placement

What is copywriting?

It’s a fair challenge and one he made well (the irony being that my previous tweet had made much the same point), but I do still think the marketing vs communications debate is complex (so much so reducing it to four definitions is insufficient).

There is, after all, a huge overlap between these components. Separating placement of a product from a promotional strategy is nearly impossible, and the price we set is both determined by – and inherently a part of – the product sold. Aston Martins are expensive because of how they’re built, and the customer experience of the product would be profoundly altered by a lowering of the price.

Marketing and communications strategy

In short, this marketing vs communications broadened out into an interesting debate with several or more sources). Although I love having my conceptions challenged, the discussion did highlight some common misconceptions – particularly around copywriting.

Marketing vs communications – where does copywriting fit in?

  • A good copywriter does more than write copy. They use their understanding of buyer behaviour to craft the key messaging and provide direction for every other person involved in the content production process.
  • One does not need the words “copywriter” in their job title to be a copywriter. In fact, the best copywriters are likely to be promoted to roles that don’t involve writing. But it doesn’t mean their ability to create and sell their ideas through the extraordinary use of language and stories become any less important.
  • Being a good copywriter does not mean the person has immaculate technical writing skills. The person who introduced me to copywriting (who incidentally was the single best marketer I’ve ever worked with and now runs a half-billion pound organisation at the age of 32) was severely dyslexic. Technically his writing was a disaster, but he knew what drove people, he knew how to capture their attention and he knew how to tell stories. With a little bit of polish from an editor, his content consistently had the desired impact and by his early 20s, he was already a multi-millionaire.

The Four Ps of marketing

Anyway, let’s return to my infamous marketing vs communications debacle on twitter.  The chap was right to challenge what had been a slightly careless tweet on my part (and in truth I knew it before I hit send). There is so much more to marketing than communication. Marketing is everything.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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