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A Marketing Communications Toolkit


After 40+ years of marketing communications practice I've discovered the term "marketing communications" is subject to wide interpretation. To clear away the confusion (or begin a discussion) I've drafted a concise definition of "marcom" as shown below.

Following that, I've outlined an overview of marcom as a dynamic process. Whether you are a freelancer, part of a small organization (I work with six or seven colleagues in my virtual organization on any given day) or a division of a large enterprise, you'll find practical advice—dare I even say a general methodology—you can use in your day-to-day work.

Throughout the following guide my intention is to inform the actions or working professionals like you in a simple, easy to understand and straightforward way.

For this reason I have resorted to the use of terms familiar to professional marketing communicators. If you are "in" public relations, advertising, design, Web development or broadcast media, many of the ideas and much of the content that follows will be familiar. Students will find this material of interest, as well, but it is purely the product of a journeyman's pen and in no way is offered as comprehensive or authoritative. Far from it.

Therefore, feel free to comment, criticize, or reject it outright. No feelings will be hurt and relevant constructive content will be included (with your permission and a credit, of course) in revisions subsequent to this first version.

In any case, my main intention is to inform the practice of working professionals in the countless thousands of business, not for profit, civic and government organizations that make up the shared experience of our times. If you believe, as I do, that if "talk is cheap," then surely we should be doing more of it, we both share the same perspective.

That means if you have "Vice President of Marketing" or "Director of Marketing" written on your door, what follows may be of interest. Similarly, if you are a creative director, director of development, campaign manager or a media relations manager, what follows may be of interest, as well. If you're a president or executive director and have no time for this discussion, pass it on to someone in your organization that does.

Business school students, both in marketing and in other disciplines, such as finance or operations, will find the investment of fifteen minutes here quite useful. In doing so you will be better able to understand the impulses and actions of your colleagues in marketing and sales. Just as an understanding of good design or rhetoric will contribute to your eventual success in any aspect of business, so will that of marketing communications.

Most certainly, if you count yourself among the ranks of staff or freelance writers, editors, publicists or Webmasters—the great unwashed among whom I count myself—you will find something of interest here.

Just a few more thoughts before launching into the work—Under the heading of "What is this fellow really trying to say to me?" you can write three words: intuition, passion and leadership.

My sure feeling—Check that, make it understanding —is that along with wisdom, a discussion of which we will have to wait for another day, it is our deepest feelings and aspirations, our gut need to express them and put them to work, and our compulsion to do the right thing that define us. These words, which underlie much of the human condition and the collective impulse defining it, are what good marketing communications are all about.

I personally believe marketing culture is good, and that like politics, religion, sports and family life, our efforts to sell to and persuade each other are natural and human.

What you are about to read is written in a kind of shorthand. Do not be discouraged if it seems enigmatic or confusing. In the months ahead I will fill in the concepts and main ideas underlying this overview. Remember, being a good marketing communicator is as much a matter of role-playing as practical skill. You cannot build the structure of a complete marketing communications program all by yourself, but by knowing which tools to use, how to apply them, and how they work in concert; your chances of realizing a successful outcome are that much better.

Or maybe it's just a matter of learning how to sharpen a chisel! Now, go ahead and open the Marketing Communications Toolkit!

Copyright 2002, 2014 The Golden Group.
The Golden Group is a marketing, creative and Web services firm located in the Metrowest area of Greater Boston, Massachusetts.

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