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What are marketing communications?

Marketing communications, sometimes called marcom, are the combinations of promotional tools, marketing channels, messages, and media that marketers use to communicate with their target customers. 

A business or brand typically develops its marketing communications strategy around what’s known as the marketing mix, or the Seven Ps (formerly called the Four Ps):

  1. Product, which considers the features of the product or service that the business offers.
  2. Price, which considers the pricing model used, as well as the market position of the product or service.
  3. Promotion, which considers all of the ways in which the brand communicates about its product or service to the public. It also involves another P – Positioning – to evaluate how people view and respond to the brand.
  4. Place, which considers where the product or service is bought and sold.
  5. People, which considers all of the people who interact with a brand’s customers or clients, and has a direct influence on staff or internal communication efforts.
  6. Process, which considers the customer experience and communication process.
  7. Packaging, which considers how to best attract customers in the physical and online marketplace.

All of these are the factors that marketing professionals consider when developing a marketing communications plan, and should be carefully and thoughtfully blended together in what’s known as integrated marketing communications (IMC). This enables marketing managers and professionals to create effective marketing communications promotions, and successfully drive business.

What is the role of marketing communications?

Marketing communications is tasked with a number of important objectives:

  • Building brand awareness. Marketing communications is responsible for making sure people know that the organisation or business exists, and what it offers. 
  • Maintaining customer loyalty. Customer loyalty takes time to build. Consumers need to have trust in the brand, its products and services, and its intentions – and it’s one of marketing communications’ jobs to ensure that this positive bond develops.
  • Creating demand for products and services. It’s not enough to have a great new product or service – people need to know it exists in order to buy it. Marcom professionals work to make sure that their products and services are seen by the people who may want – or need – them.
  • Shortening the sales cycle. This can be achieved by better understanding customer needs – as well as customers’ buying motivations, influences, and processes – and conducting market research, then harnessing this insight when engaging with consumers. 
  • Highlighting a competitive edge. The 21st century marketplace is a crowded one, which is why marketing communications professionals ensure that any points of differentiation – the things that make their products and services unique – are shared with the public.
  • Understanding and reaching the right people. A key job for marketing communications teams is knowing who their audiences are, and how best to communicate with them, in order to create a strong market share.

In order to achieve these objectives, marketers will leverage a number of different types of communication formats and marketing communications areas.

What are the areas of marketing communications?


Advertising is one of the most commonly seen areas of the marketing communication mix. Adverts are used by businesses and organisations to promote their products and services through different mass media communication channels, such as:

  • televisions.
  • radios.
  • newspapers, magazines, and other print media.
  • billboards.
  • websites. 
  • social media apps. 
  • text messages. 
  • blogs.
  • Google search results ads.

Advertisers develop and control their own messages, and pay for advertising space on channels that will be relevant to their target markets. 

Digital marketing

Digital marcom takes place online in new media spaces (rather than within traditional media, such as televisions and radios, newspapers and magazines) and is separate from advertising – although both may be used in combination. For example, a brand may advertise its products and services through paid-for adverts on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, while also maintaining a business account on these platforms to engage with customers, answer questions, and educate people about its business, products, and services.  

In addition to social media, other important areas of digital marketing include:

  • Official websites. An organisation’s website is essentially its digital window to the world. It highlights important information about the business – its brand, its purpose, and its values – and frequently operates as an online shop for e-commerce.
  • Email campaigns. Email marketing campaigns are a popular tool for both attracting new customers and encouraging repeat customers. They can be used to remind people about products and services, offer discounts and promotions, and share helpful tips and information that are relevant to the target consumer.
  • Virtual multimedia campaigns. Multimedia campaigns that take place online are a growing area of digital marketing. They can be highly sophisticated, working with different messaging and assets to target different people on different platforms, and due to the instantaneous wealth of analytics and feedback metrics information available to markets online, campaigns can be adjusted and tweaked on-to-go to deliver the very best results. They can also be effective in creating viral reactions and positive word-of-mouth responses.
  • Content marketing. Content marketing is a strategic area of marcom. Brands develop and distribute valuable and relevant content – such as blogs, videos, and webinars – to attract people within their target audience, and in the process, build brand awareness and position themselves as an expert in their field.

Direct marketing

Direct marketing is a more personalised form of marketing communications. It occurs through direct communication or distribution to individuals, rather than via more generalised marketing messages on mass media channels.

Examples of direct marketing include:

  • Direct mail, which includes letters and other printed promotional materials that are personalised and delivered to individual people via post.
  • Telemarketing, which targets potential customers via telephone calls.

Public relations

Public relations (PR) is the area of marketing communications that is focused on an organisation’s reputation. Through PR marketing activities such as press releases, communication campaigns, and crisis management, and by building positive relationships with different media figures and other stakeholders, public relations professionals aim to influence public perception about their organisation or business, and create positive associations with their brand.

Sales promotion

Sales promotion is the area of marketing communications that aims to stimulate business revenue through a promotional mix of providing incentives, short-term discounts, and other promotional offers, displays, demonstrations, and sales presentations.

Personal selling 

Personal selling is a crucial area of marketing communications, but it may not be one that immediately comes to mind. It is the face-to-face interaction that happens between a salesperson and a customer, and relies on having engaged salespeople that are educated and enthusiastic about the products or services on offer. 


An organisation’s brand is its identity, and one of its most lasting marketing communication tools. A brand image includes everything from its logo to its packaging, and sets a business apart from its competition. A brand message should be consistent with the organisation’s purpose and persona.


Print marketing materials may be used in a number of different marketing communication areas – such as advertising and personal selling – but they’re also an important area of traditional marketing in their own right. Examples of print marketing include:


Sponsorships are an effective method for reaching a large audience. Sponsorship marketing avenues can include sports games, concerts, or conferences, and typically involve the business providing financial or other support for the event in return for advertising that can build brand awareness and recognition.


Event marketing aims to create positive interactions and experiences for consumers at events such as trade shows and exhibitions. 

Develop expertise in key areas of marketing

You could learn how to manage and market a business with the MSc Management with Marketing from the University of Lincoln. With key modules in international marketing planning, digital marketing, strategy marketing, global relationship marketing, and applied consumer behaviour, you’ll have the opportunity to gain the tools and knowledge you need for effective marketing campaigns and initiatives. You could also develop skills in organisational strategy, project management, leadership, and finance and accounting.

This flexible master’s degree is taught 100% online, so you can study around your current professional and personal commitments, and earn while you learn.