CEO Insider

The In’s and Out’s of Marketing Nuance: Why you struggle to communicate with Marketer

Marketing people not only wear many hats, have unique skill sets, and are creatives by nature.  They also live and breathe by nuance.  Talking to marketing professionals is like knowing the technical jargon of coders or the medical terminology of physicians.  However, most businesses don’t know the lingo of marketing.   They think words like advertising, public relations, So, let’s review some words to help you talk to your marketing staff or hire a fractional CMO to help guide you through the strategy and tactics best suited for your business.

First, let’s talk about all of the different strategies for marketing.

Advertising is quite simply the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services.  An advertisement (often shortened to advert or ad) is the promotion of a product, brand, or service to a viewership in order to attract interest, engagement, and sales.  Sound pretty straightforward, right?  But it isn’t.  Advertising is aimed at an immediate sale, purchase, or direct collection of information (such as email) for future possible sales.  Advertising is direct.  

Promotion refers to advancement. A sales promotion entails the features—via advertising or a discounted price—of a particular product or service. You aren’t directly asking for a purchase…you are just making it more attractive.  For instance, you can promote a concert.  At no time do you mention the price of tickets?  However, you talk about free T-shirts, VIP passes, etc. as a promotion to drive purchases.

Publicity is the public visibility or awareness for any product, service, person, or organization (company, charity, etc.). It may also refer to the movement of information from its source to the public, often (but not always) via the media.  Media can refer to more traditional means such as TV, Radio, and Print.  However, it can also mean paid advertorials within online media sources.

Public Relations is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.  This strategy can include charitable work or alignment with specific social causes.  It can be showcasing or highlighting a community needs using personal or company influence.  However, the efforts are a win-win for both the individual/company and the charitable/social cause.

Sales is NOT a strategy of marketing.  It is a separate strategy all its own.  However, you have probably heard sales and marketing grouped together.  While marketing can help grow sales, marketing also includes information, education, entertainment, values, and culture.  Marketing includes so many additional ways of engaging and servicing customers and clients.  Sales, by its nature, is one strategy aimed at one goal – making the sale; closing the deal.

Now, we can talk a little about tactics.  Tactics are everything else and can be applied in different ways to all the different strategies of marketing.  The strategy helps define your overall goals.  Tactics help you implement in the most direct way possible for your target audience or market.  Just as most companies don’t utilize all the different strategies of marketing, they may also not implement all available tactics.  Customization is the key to effective marketing.  However, in order to customize, you must understand the nuances of each strategy.

Now…how do you determine strategy?

First, you don’t start with strategy you start with these questions:

**What business objectives does the strategy need to support?

**How will you determine success or failure?

**What strategies have you used in the past and with what success?

**Who is your audience and are they currently engaged?

**Who will be tasked with the implementation of the strategy? Are they capable?

**What is your marketing budget for this strategy?

You must know your goals and resources before selecting a strategy.  Once your strategy or strategies are selected, then you must define your audience and product/service.  Tactics are the last stage in developing a marketing plan.  However, most business leaders want to jump straight to a discussion of tactics.  Marketing professionals, fractional CMOs, and marketing agencies that are qualified professionals will help business leaders focus on the necessary questions and decisions that must be made before a plan is built and implemented.

Let’s think about it this way.  You have a story you want to share with a group of children.  Just as any great storyteller knows, you will have to engage those children so that they will listen, retain and engage with you.  You know that some of the children will need you to use different voices to make the story come alive.  Others will need you to show them beautifully crafted images that will add drama to the story.  A few will need to have a hands-on experience to stay engaged.  All of them will need you to ask questions to determine what they are learning or gaining in value from the story.

If you can tell a story for children with care, why wouldn’t you tell your story (the strategy) in multiple ways (tactics) to engage your audience (ideal client avatar)?  The problem is that your business may not have a clear story; or you may not be considering the best ways to engage people in your story.  All you are doing is trying different ways of telling a story with no clear message or way of determining if your “listeners” are listening.

Understanding the nuance of strategy vs. tactics.  Understanding the nuance of marketing vs. sales.  Understanding the language to select the marketing professionals you need to tell a great story; these are the nuances of marketing that will help you guide your business toward best plans, tools and people.  Consider the story-tellers you need to bring life to your marketing and influence to your sales.


Written by Liz Papagni, CEO of Marketing Initiative Worx, Inc.

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Liz Papagni
Number One Best Selling Author of “Your Marketing Roadmap,” Founder of MyCMO, and CEO of Marketing Initiative Worx, Inc., Liz Papagni is a leading brand and marketing thought leader who has worked with a vast array of clients, from established small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. As a marketing and leadership expert with a passion for helping companies develop strategies that convince and convert customers, she has launched and propelled numerous brands nationwide. You can contact Liz at marketingiw.com


Liz Papagni is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.