Marketing or Marketing Communications.

What’s the Difference?

Getting your marketing act together is like herding cats.

You need input from your stakeholders… Then you need to make a first draft of your plan… then you have to get buy-in from various stakeholders.. then the market changes. However, you have to start somewhere. Even if you’re in the middle of it.

The difference between the Marketing Plan and the Marketing

Communications Plan.

Both the marketing plan and marketing communications plan are critical road maps for your business. They answer who, what, where, why and how, and how much. But often people, even savvy business types, confuse the two. Here’s a quick, by no means complete, overview of the differences.

The Marketing Plan

First, you need a marketing plan. The marketing plan says why you’re in business and where you want to go with it, and the steps you’ll take to get there. It answers the questions about your unique sales proposition, your position in the market place, your customers, your competition, and your pricing. Your sales goals and are part of your marketing plan. Sales without marketing is like a dog without a master (or a cat you expect will come when you call). Your marketing plan should also weigh your strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities for your business (a S.W.O.T. analysis).

The Marketing Communications Plan

The marketing communications plan says how you will express your marketing and sales strategy. It will help you determine which communications disciplines will you use. What communications vehicles work best to achieve various marketing goals. And what you hope to achieve with your budget. Some marketing communications tactics will be qualitative and impossible to measure directly or immediately, such as an image campaign. Other marketing communications, such as digital advertising or direct response, can be measured and analyzed incrementally.

HOW TO Make a plan

  • Get a spread sheet and make a timeline for each marketing and related communication activity
  • Sketch up a diagram or use a mind map so you can see how these activities will interrelate and flow
  • Do some brainstorming with your team (white boards are good for this)
  • Write up a creative brief for each communications project
  • Get help getting any or all of these steps completed and contact me for a free 20 minute consultation.




marketing questions

  • How do your customers feel about your brand?
  • What’s your unique selling proposition?
  • What niche do you fill better than anyone else?  Perhaps you have a corner on a market or a product that no one else has. Maybe you’re a connector or facilitator. Maybe you’re a partner.
  • Who else like you is out there doing or making what you do/make? Your competitors might make good partners. And maybe your partners are also your competition. In which case, make a “cooperative analysis”

 marketing communications questions

  • What’s your brand? Basically, it’s your business identity and personality. It expresses what makes you different. It makes your business valuable and unique in the minds (and hearts) of your audience/target market.
  • What’s your communications goal for this year?
  • What new services/products do you plan to roll out.
  • How do these activities relate to one another?
  • What tactics and media might you use?
  • How do they fit into your marketing calendar?