Difference Between Marketing & Marketing Communication

by David Ingram ; Updated September 26, 2017

Marketing is the business discipline that deals with sending messages to the marketplace about companies and their brands. The term “marketing” encompasses the entire range of marketing activities, of which there are multiple facets. Marketing communication, on the other hand, refers to the specific elements of the marketing function that deal directly with communication with customers. Understanding the difference between marketing and marketing communication can help you to more fully understand the marketing function.

Marketing Mix

The marketing function has taken on more responsibility over the years, and it can be argued that marketing is one of the most important contributors to long-term business success. Marketing begins with product conceptualization and development, determining what customers want and need before creating a new product or service. Marketing also includes product pricing, packaging and distribution, which people may not always associate with the marketing department.

The four P's of the marketing mix are product, place, price and promotion. Every function of marketing fits into one of these four broad categories.

Marketing Communications

Marketing also includes the more visible components of advertising, promotions, public relations and sales — collectively referred to as marketing communications. These activities are directly concerned with communicating with customers to achieve a specific goal. Marketing communications are designed to inform the public about products and services, remind them about aging products, persuade them to try something new or convince them of their need or as-yet-unknown desire to make a purchase.

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Marketing communications go a step further than other marketing activities to make customers feel personally engaged with companies' brands. Communicating with customers can create lasting impressions and garner customer loyalty, helping them to identify with their favorite brands while spreading word-of-mouth advertising. Marketing communications can also identify new trends in customer preferences, helping companies to stay on the leading edge of their industries.


Communications in marketing feature opportunities for one-way communication and two-way conversations. Advertising and public relations messages are generally one-way communications, from the company to the public, carefully designed to achieve one of the goals mentioned above. Sales, social media marketing and promotional activities are often designed to stimulate two-way communications, adding uncontrollable variables to the mix by engaging customers on a personal level. Two-way communication requires company representatives to be prepared to give unplanned responses to questions that truly matter to consumers in the marketplace.

About the Author

David Ingram has written for multiple publications since 2009, including "The Houston Chronicle" and online at Business.com. As a small-business owner, Ingram regularly confronts modern issues in management, marketing, finance and business law. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in management from Walsh University.

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