The last few years have been challenging for PR and marketing communications professionals, whether working in-house or in agencies. It’s been a steep learning curve to get to grips with the various social media channels and understand how they can best be used, or even to figure out their relevance. Traditional print media have changed dramatically, sometimes moving entirely online, and the power of search engines to deliver sales leads has grown exponentially. Even the smartest marketers have struggled to keep up with the challenge of proving ROI on marketing efforts, and decisions on where to spend hard-won marketing dollars have become harder.

Now imagine how your CEO, COO and CFO feel. Some will have experience of marketing. CEOs/COOs may have risen to C-level roles having been marketers, but it’s a minority. In the electronics sector, they more often come from engineering or financial disciplines. Then along come the marketers demanding budget for events, CRMs, social media, advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, outbound marketing, e-mail marketing, digital marketing, webinars, podcasts, SEO, video production, owned media, earned media, paid media more. It’s little wonder that confusion abounds. And if we carry on spouting marketing jargon, rather than explaining clearly and simply how everything fits together to drive sales, it’s little wonder that we struggle to get budgets approved. If those that hold the purse strings can’t understand what they’re being asked to buy, they are going to be rightly protective of their money.

Marketing jargon is a major barrier to winning budget dollars – confusion reigns

At its simplest, marketing communications may be described as a 4-stage process: determine the message, create content that communicates it, pick the best channels for delivery then measuring the outcome.

With many companies now deriving the majority of sales and sales leads directly as a result of online search, there is now a vital fifth step: ensuring that everyone involved in content creation has a fundamental understanding of search engine optimisation.


The B2B marketing communications and PR process from messages to marketing qualified opportunities


The simplified diagram shows clearly how the various facets of marketing communications are interrelated. Most important perhaps, it links the process to the desired outcome, the generation of marketing qualified opportunities (MQOs) that are the feedstock of sales.

I’ve seen hundreds of diagrams that seek to describe the various facets of marketing communications and PR but many are so complex that even marketing specialists find them hard to follow. The one proposed here is simplified deliberately and I welcome any feedback on how it could be improved without adding too much clutter. Its strength lies in presenting the whole process in a clear way that any competent C-level budget holder will understand. And achieving this understanding is a critical first step towards winning more marketing dollars.

If you’d like to use it, you can download a high-resolution JPEG of the diagram here:

In my next few ‘Marketing Views’ blog posts, I’ll take a look at each block in the process in more detail.