The main difference between corporate and marketing communications is the target audience. Corporate communications are targeted toward the stakeholders of an organization, such as media, investors, clients and analysts. Marketing communications are targeted to consumers of goods and services.

Corporate Communications Elements

Corporate communications disseminate information about an organization to create and develop relationships, foster a positive image and create or preserve a positive reputation. It includes public relations, advertising, collateral communications, social media, crisis communications, and investor and analyst relations. A company annual report is a collateral communications element of corporate communications.

Marketing Communications Elements


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Your marketing communications support your sales. They are the “promotion” in the marketing mix: product, price, place and promotion. These communications tout product benefits and features, advertise discounts and sales promotions, and persuade potential customers to adopt or change a behavior – namely, purchasing a product or service. Marketing communications include PR, advertising, social media, collateral and sales materials, and graphics. A point-of-sale sign in a store is an example of marketing communications.

The Audiences

The audiences for both marketing and corporate communications will overlap, but the emphases and objectives are different. For example, your corporate communications manager will cater to a broader audience, such as the general public. The target media will cover industry and finances versus products. Conversely, your marketing communications manager will narrow her audience to consumers most likely to purchase your product, and the target media will cover products and users, rather than companies.

Communications and Business

Both corporate and marketing communications are tied to business objectives. The marketing communications plan needs to be aligned with and derived from the marketing and sales plan, with communications accurately reflecting product features and prices, sales strategy and distribution points, and competitive advantages. Corporate communications objectives should be measured for a correlation in elements that affect the entire company, such as employee retention, profit margin, revenue and regulatory actions.