Marketing communications are messages and related media used to communicate with a market. Marketing communications is the "promotion" part of the "marketing mix" or the "four Ps": price, place, promotion, and product. It can also refer to the strategy used by a company or individual to reach their target market through various types of communication.
Those who practice advertising, branding, brand language, direct marketing, graphic design, marketing, packaging, promotion, publicity, sponsorship, public relations, sales, sales promotion and online marketing are termed marketing communicators, marketing communication managers, or more briefly, marcom managers.
Traditionally, marketing communications practitioners focused on the creation and execution of printed marketing collateral; however, academic and professional research developed the practice to use strategic elements of branding and marketing in order to ensure consistency of message delivery throughout an organization - a consistent "look & feel". Many trends in business can be attributed to marketing communications; for example: the transition from customer service to customer relations, and the transition from human resources to human solutions and the trends to blogs, email, and other online communication derived from an elevator pitch.
The communication process is sender-encoding-transmission device-decoding-receiver, which is part of any advertising or marketing program. Encoding the message is the second step in communication process, which takes a creative idea and transforms it into attention-getting advertisements designed for various media (television, radio, magazines, and others). Messages travel to audiences through various transmission. The third stage of the marketing communication process occurs when a channel or medium delivers the message. Decoding occurs when the message reaches one or more of the receiver's senses. Consumers both hear and see television ads. Others consumers handle (touch) and read (see) a coupon offer.
One obstacle that prevents marketing messages from being efficient and effective is called barrier. Barrier is anything that distorts or disrupts a message. It can occur at any stage in the communication process. The most common form of noise affecting marketing communication is clutter.
Social commercials market share is rising, thanks to services like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo. According to a 2011 study, "88% of all companies that have conducted social media advertising are satisfied with it."  Indeed, social commercials are steadily permeating our everyday lives, in the forms of billboards, apps, TV, and even print media. There is a large increase of businesses using video via YouTube for local business pages such as Google Local (formerly knows as Google places) which was integrated as part of the Google Plus network in 2012.
In branding, every opportunity to impress the organization's (or the individual's) brand upon the customer is called a brand touch point (or brand contact point.) Examples include everything from TV and other media advertisements, event sponsorships, webinars, and personal selling to even product packaging. Thus, every experiential opportunity that an organization creates for its stakeholders or customers is a brand touch point. Hence, it is vitally important for brand strategists and managers to survey all of their organization's brand touch points and control for the stakeholder's or customer's experience. Marketing communications, as a vehicle of an organization's brand management, is concerned with the promotion of an organization's brand, product(s) and/or service(s) to stakeholders and prospective customers through these touch points.
Marketing communications is focused on the product/service as opposed to corporate communications where the focus of communications work is the company/enterprise itself. Marketing communications is primarily concerned with demand generation and product/service positioning while corporate communications deal with issue management, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, etc.
- Clow, Kenneth E & Donald Baack. "Integrated Advertising Promotion and Marketing Communications", 3rd Edition, Upper Saddle River, 2007(6-7).
- The Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications
- STC Marketing Communication Special Interest Group