Marketing vs. Communicating

Communicating vs. Marketing: Who will win the Tug of War?

Posted by JD Collier on August 05, 2011

When you listen to communications professionals and marketing professionals, you can sometimes find yourself listening to a Tug of War between the value of engaging customers and the importance of lead generation. Who will fall in the mud?

Let me oversimplify the two perspectives for the sake of this conversation.


Communication professionals will talk about engaging your audience in a conversation. Two important concepts on this side are transparency and authenticity. Many people can smell marketing tactics a mile away, and will disappear if they feel they’re being “marketed to.” It is vital that you be real, that you speak to your audience in a way that connects with them. Communications concepts are vital to engaging your current audience.


Marketing professionals will talk about strategies to increase your leads. Two important concepts on this side are “call to action” and SEO (search engine optimization). If you are to grow your business, you need to increase your audience. Marketing concepts are vital in helping you find someone you haven’t talked to yet.

The eternal struggle

How can either of these perspectives be the side to win? We have to reach new customers, and we also have to keep the ones we have.

Real-world example

We recently had a Digett team discussion over our policy about including a call-to-action at the bottom of all our blog posts. One team member had written an article that was more personal, and we didn’t have a related offer to which to link.

So we wondered, Is it always necessary to have a call-to-action at the bottom of a blog post?

We’re all communicators around here, but we have to wear marketing hats, too — so our game of Tug of War was particularly tough. After some good conversation though, we decided that a balanced approach was best:

  • It’s good to post things with clear calls to action: related links, whitepaper downloads, or our upcoming social media webinar.
  • But it’s also good to be transparent, to share our thoughts and opinions, to be genuine, and to talk about how we feel — with no real marketing purpose.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to post junk; no one wants to read (or write) that.

Who should win? Should we focus on marketing, or should we focus on communication? Do you have a different opinion to share? Let us know what you think.

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