Integrating communications and marketing to reach your target audience

Beach versus mountains. Winter versus summer. Coke versus Pepsi. Many aspects of our society thrive on taking sides. On the topic of communications versus marketing, what side is your organization on?

To decide if you should be #TeamMarketing or #TeamCommunications, you must understand what each side brings to the table. Communicators focus on how people use messages to generate meanings across various arenas – including culture and media. Marketers shape an organization’s brand; they help it stand out among its competitors and deliver value to consumers in a unique and tailored way best suited for its target audience.

Communications and marketing both have roles which benefit organizations and their consumers. So what’s the catch? How do you decide which side to take?

When it comes to the communications-versus-marketing debate, the most successful organizations don’t take a side. They establish a way to integrate teams and / or strategies to come together in storytelling. Even if an organization only has one team comprised of marketers and communicators, that team is best suited to meet its needs. Reaching target audiences should encompass the thought process of communications and the implementation of marketing.

By sharing and merging skill sets, communicators and marketers can work together to use different frames of mind to expand to the target audiences which matter most. Keep these tips in mind for your organization’s communicators and marketers to create storylines which resonate as intended:

Ensure communicators and marketers are aligned on priorities

Communicators and marketers should have shared organizational goals in mind. Whether they’re trying to decide on the best way to approach a campaign or to determine the best strategy to revamp an organization’s image, communicators and marketers should be able to merge their skill sets to contribute to a shared objective. To successfully bring an idea to reality, communicators’ messaging should align with marketers’ tactics.

Example: Your organization’s communicators want to appeal to the Millennial and Gen Z demographics who tend to be more passionate about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion than others. Your marketers want to shift the organization’s brand to help consumers of all backgrounds feel engaged and connected. The common priority: Improve inclusivity across the organization and appeal to a demographic who values it.

Keep messaging consistent across the board

Consistent messaging enables your consumers to remember what it is you stand for and help keep you top of mind. Communicators and marketers must understand their target audiences. Communicators determine what messaging would best resonate with them while marketers ensure that messaging is reaching audiences in an effective manner.

Example: Your organization’s communicators know professionalism ranks high among your target audiences’ values, and their communications should reflect that. Your organization’s marketers translate that value into deliverables and digital representations revolving around professional language and product design. The messaging communicated across the board revolves around language that resonates with target audiences and is presented in a way that garners positive attention.

Be open to shifting gears

From time to time, communicators get the messaging wrong or marketers implement the wrong tactics – or implement the right tactics poorly. Sometimes the messaging and tactics are right in theory but, once put into practice, aren’t telling the story the way it should be told. Be open to trial and error when it comes to your communications and marketing strategies; the best idea isn’t always the first one.

Example: Your organization’s communicators nailed down the messaging that best resonates with your target audiences. Your marketers came up with a strategy to reach those demographics, but those efforts missed the mark and resulted in low engagement. A solution? Your communicators and marketers can collaborate to analyze their mistakes before forging a new strategy that better connects with those target audiences.

Ultimately, effective communication and marketing are both crucial to organizational success. When it comes to messaging and strategizing, there is no “right” side – just the right balance of teamwork.