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Marketing vs. MarCom: What’s the difference?

A headhunter called today.  Seems there’s a company searching for a Chief Marketing Officer and the headhunter wanted to know if I knew anyone that might be interested.

So I asked if there was a job description – and what I heard was disappointing but not all that shocking.  (The following is not the actual job description – details have been changed to protect the innocent.)

A growth-oriented company is searching for an experienced marketing leader to be our Chief Marketing Officer.  The qualified applicant must understand how to develop lead generation programs including designing and writing motivating email campaigns, landing pages and websites.  A deep understanding of PPC/SEO and the ability to improve keyword selection in order to drive page rankings and PPC volume.

The description went on and on…all focused on tactical skills rather than strategy, innovation, vision, leadership…

And it reminded me of this response to a simple question posted back in 2005;

My experience has taught me that when there is a departmental differentiation as you have, the roles are as follows:

Marketing: Develops marketing plans, strategies, tactics. Determines target markets, segments. Determines overall message/offer for product(s). Calculates desired response rates, ROI, guages the effectivenss of the marketing effort and compares against desired goal.

MarCom: Implimentation of Marketing strategies and tactics. Production and creative. Makes the tactics tangible. Handles the design, printing and distribution/mailing of “the brochure” or DM piece. Produces TV/Radio. Works with vendors/outsources work. Works with internal/external Web designers to design/launch on-line marketing efforts.

Example: Marketing says they want to market product Z and reach target X with Direct Mail and TV driving to Web site over timeframe Y. They want to segment target X into 1X, 2X and 3X and utilize message A, B and C, respectively. Marketing will have calculated expected response rates and returns.

Marcom makes it all happen, checking along the way with marketing that they are on target creatively with offer and message strategies. Marcom becomes like an ad agency, but they don’t do the upfront work. Marketing is the client.

Hope this helps.


Strategy and tactics – your business won’t succeed if you don’t have these two key pieces of the puzzle.  And having them working together, collaborating, playing to the strengths of each individual…that’s going to take you to a higher place!

Back to the headhunter for a sec – his client is in trouble.  They want to hire a designer/writer to be their CMO.  Where does the vision come from?  The strategy?  What will provide a real designer/writer with some unique and valuable to work with?

Does your business have a clear understanding of marketing and marketing communications?  Do these two groups work well together or is there a gap between them?  How does your business get these two groups working together in order to maximize performance and success?

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