Distinguishing Traits Among MarComm Disciplines

Yesterday my sister asked me to provided the distinguishing features of the major Marketing Communications disciplines. Last summer I wrote a blog on my view of the entire MarComm Matrix as it were, but below was my perspective on the respective definitions and delineations across the spectrum that I sent to my sister:

Public Relations:  Cultivating positive public perception and maintaining mutually beneficial stakeholder relationships through a foundation of sound strategic communication practices rooted in research, planning, execution and evaluation for the benefit of an organization’s brand, purpose and objectives.

In April, PRSA issued this as most accepted definition: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Marketing: A multi-channel communications process that meets customer needs by delivering on a promise and crafting an emotional connection via product or service differentiation, brand awareness and value recognition.

If sales might be considered as an overbearing uncle forcing a solution to a real or perceived need, marketing is the cool cousin who shares a story or song that has natural appeal and answers a question or addresses a concern in a welcoming, collaborative fashion.

Brand / Identity Work: A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary audit conducted by a marketing agency or in-house department that assesses a company/product/service’s cache in the marketplace, brand equity and caliber of creative campaigns or customer collateral.

The brand audit may be initiated by a full-team / agency-client messaging session that breaks down the market share characteristics, points of differentiation from competitors and other internal and external factors through a SWOT and/or PEST analysis.An agency creative director and account management live by the vast retainer work that arises from brand work through plan creation and full-fledged concepting and campaign development as a first option to sell an organization with a la cart projects as a contingency.

Business Development: Probably the most proactive, networking-based, sales-driven discipline of an agency or organization. The Biz Dev team will up-sell and cross-sell services and highlight capabilities while vouching for campaigns that can be delivered. Once the account is secured, the Biz Team will delegate the work to the appropriate groups whose expertise was showcased in the pitch pursuit and deal negotiation Business development can be akin to pre-game entertainers who venture off to the next gig as soon as the game starts.

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