Sticky notes outlining marketing and communications strategies.

Marketing vs. Communications: A Comparison of Careers and Degrees

Rachael Warren

What is MarCom?

If you’ve heard the term “MarCom” tossed around, you might have wondered what this acronym stands for. In its simplest form, MarCom is the convergence of marketing and communications. MarCom involves the message being sent, the way it’s being sent, and the people the message is designed to reach. While marketing and communications overlap in many ways, they each have their own distinct goals, objectives, and career paths.

What is Marketing?

Marketing describes the act of promoting and selling products or services to a target audience. Generally speaking, marketing is used as part of a company’s overall business plan, as a means to reach new and retain existing customers. A successful marketing plan requires thoughtful strategy, competitive analysis, market research, and extensive knowledge of industry trends. Marketers use communications to share messages with their audience.

What is Communication?

The term communication refers to the process of exchanging or imparting information. Communication focuses on conveying a specific message, but unlike marketing, the message does not necessarily have the goal of selling a product or service. Communicators are storytellers who write compelling copy within a marketing plan to strategically develop a particular message that will resonate with a target audience.

Common MarCom Tools

Since MarCom bridges the strategy of marketing with the storytelling of communications, many companies use the strengths of each to best connect with their prospects and customers. A few ways businesses put MarCom to use is by utilizing the following tools and approaches:

  • Running Advertising & Sales Promotions
    (e.g. running a campaign to increase brand awareness, offering a discount to convert new customers, or launching loyalty programs to retain existing customers.)
  • Advertising on Social Media
    (e.g. running ads on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to reach prospects at a greater scale.)
  • Launching Email Campaigns & Deploying Newsletters
    (e.g. assessing whether or not a prospect opens and engages with emails and nurturing them through email campaigns to convert them from a prospect to a customer.)
  • Sending Direct Mail & Catalogs
    (e.g. sending out printed catalogs, flyers, print ads, etc. to reach new or retain existing customers.)

As you might have guessed, careers in marketing and communications employ a variety of these efforts to inform, educate, and/or sell their products or services. This can make it difficult for students to understand which side of MarCom they should study and where a career in this industry can take them. To better discern the similarities and differences between the two, let’s more closely compare marketing vs. communications.


Marketing vs. Communications

What are the Similarities Between Marketing and Communications?

Marketing and communications should complement each other. They work together to enhance a company’s objectives and bring awareness to its brand. Some of the biggest similarities between marketing and communications include:

  • The tools they use. Marketing and communications share tools like social media, television, and print to convey their messages.
  • Their focus on brand awareness. Communication works to tell the story of a brand while marketing does the work of advertising it. They share the responsibility of protecting and bringing awareness to a brand.
  • Optimizing performance. When a marketing strategy isn’t working, marketers rework their campaigns to optimize performance. When copy in an ad or blog post isn’t engaging readers, communicators rewrite the content to optimize performance. Both sides of MarCom analyze their work and make changes as needed to ensure their respective efforts are generating leads, making conversions, and engaging customers.
  • Their shared goal of engaging customers. Marketers and communicators both aim to engage with a target audience. Whether they’re working to connect with new customers or retain existing ones, marketers and communicators center their efforts around the customer.

What are the Differences Between Marketing and Communications?

For as many similarities as marketing and communications share, they have just as many differences. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Marketing focuses more on numbers. Marketers study economic trends in their industry, analyze campaign performance, and report on the results of advertising efforts.
  • Communication focuses more on words. Communicators concern themselves with writing compelling copy that will engage prospects and retain customers. They’re able to change voices depending on the audience they’re targeting. Communicators are skilled at writing across a variety of mediums, whether it be paragraph-style for a catalog or list-style for a brief print ad.
  • Marketing measures customer behaviors. Marketers measure customer visits, requests for information, activities in emails such as opens and clicks, and their overall rate of purchases.
  • Communication measures customer attitudes. Communicators concern themselves with the attitude customers have toward their company’s brand. In most instances, communicators focus on measuring customer satisfaction and credibility.

Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in MarCom?

If you’re interested in a rewarding career in marketing or communications, a bachelor’s degree in MarCom will arm you with a sophisticated understanding of both. Businesses looking to hire a MarCom professional specifically search for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in the field. Champlain College Online (CCO) offers a 100% online and flexible bachelor’s degree that gives you the option to focus on digital marketing (an emphasis on the marketing side of the program) or content strategy (an emphasis on the communications side of the program). Learn more about CCO’s MarCom program here.

Career Options for Graduates with a MarCom Bachelor’s Degree

Regardless of which concentration you select, CCO’s MarCom program will provide you with the knowledge and subject matter expertise necessary to succeed in a variety of fast-growing careers in marketing and communications. From advertising to brand management, public relations, digital marketing, and more, you’ll have the education and in-demand skills to excel in whatever MarCom career path you choose to follow.

Here are a few popular and competitive MarCom careers to consider:

  • Brand/Product Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Media Planner
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Sales Representative
  • Social Media Manager
  • Publicist
  • Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Content Marketing Specialist
  • Data Analyst
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Account Executive

Ready to get started with CCO? Apply now!

About the Author

Rachael Warren

Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Rachael Warren is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Champlain College Online, where she is the voice behind the CCO blog and helps tell the college's story across multiple digital platforms. Rachael has extensive experience in writing, editing, and content marketing for mission-driven businesses and non-profit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Communication and a Minor in Sociology from the University of Southern Maine.

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