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Communications and marketing are our primary tactics when we talk about building the modern employer brand. But what is the difference between communications and marketing? And how does advertising, campaigns and promotions fit into this context?

Most employer branding and other talent marketing practitioners have a background from talent acquisition or HR (people operations) and are not necessarily that familiar with the marketing mix.

As you gain more footing in talent marketing, it’s important for you professionally to understand what the differences are and how to use talent marketing communication to your advantage.

Scroll down to listen to this episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast in which I’ll talk more about the key differences between marketing and communications in the context of talent marketing.

What is talent communications and marketing?

While marrying marketing and communications together into marketing communications, marketing and communication separately mean different things. And it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to comprehend when I married marketing, communications and employer branding into one union and gave it the name talent marketing!

Working in the talent marketing includes:

  • Internal communications targeted to the company employees, middle managers and the management.
  • External communications targeted to talent publics such as prospective applicants, actual candidates and other talent stakeholders.
  • Recruitment marketing targeting relevant job seekers for your vacancy.
  • Employer awareness marketing and the actual employer branding which can be targeting internal and external audiences equally.

To summarize, talent marketing includes communications, marketing, employer branding and promotional campaigns used to win attention, grow awareness, build affinity and get conversions specified as your talent marketing goals.

Download the free eBook on all the six Key Talent Marketing Team Roles >>

Listen to episode 88 in the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

In this episode:

  • The key difference between communication and marketing.
  • Talent communications summarized.
  • Talent marketing summarized.
  • Communications, marketing and advertising in modern employer branding.
  • Talent communications in employer branding.
  • Talent marketing in employer branding.

Download the free eBook/Guide on the Talent Marketing Team Roles to help figure out your ideal career path in modern talent marketing >>

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Communications is about clarifying the message

Communications is about clarifying the message. Tactics such as persuasive words and other persuasive methods such as storytelling are better at captivating attention, convincing and inspiring change.

Check out this post and episode on how to get your message right >>

Within communication, there are also public relations (PR). You are probably familiar with the popular example of Talent PR called employer advocacy? There are a lot of opportunities to exploit in talent PR and that’s why I have included Talent PR as one of the key talent marketing team roles.

Marketing is about sharing and promoting the message

When you share and promote your messages to your talent publics you are marketing. Marketing can be both organic, as in free and paid, known as advertising and other promotional campaigns.

The most common form of organic marketing in the modern talent marketing are the social media posts you write and publish on your company social media profiles.

Advertising your job posts is the most common form of paid marketing in talent marketing. Buying a job slot on a popular online job board or placing an actual job advert on the news paper or an industry magazine are examples of paid talent marketing, more specifically known as advertising.

Check out a Comparison Table about the Difference between Marketing and Communications >>

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Organic marketing

Organic marketing means you don’t need to pay to promote your message because you already have a relevant audience and you have nurtured this audience for long enough to have their attention. We are most familiar with organic marketing from the context of social media. But sending regular emails to your earned email list is organic too.

What you do is you share your message in the form of content, email, direct message or for example social media posts to your followers. The actual sharing of the message is free. Time you spend writing and sharing the message is what it costs.

The problem is, the number of people who actually sees your organically shared messages is limited. That’s why most companies need to pay for marketing.

Susanna Rantanen

The problem is, the number of people who are being shown your organically shared messages is limited. That’s why companies pay to get visibility for some of the posts as well. On social media, this activity is known as sponsored posts and it’s paid marketing, not organic.

Even though your account might have tons of followers unfortunately only a fraction of those followers see your posts on their news feeds. That’s why you either need to be actively engaging with your followers to grow your organic reach or you pay to get your messages delivered to your followers.

Paid marketing and the difference between campaigns and advertising

Promotional campaigns and other advertising are paid marketing. Marketers need to pay for attention, awareness and conversions when they don’t have an attentive audience waiting to hear from you next.

You can also opt for ongoing promotional marketing. A great example of this is to use digital advertising such as keyword advertising or social media advertising to drive traffic to your career site and job posts with no end date to it. When your promotional marketing doesn’t have an end date to it, it’s no longer a campaign. It’s ongoing advertising.

Building the modern employer brand means you are building your own audience in order to avoid having to pay big promotional bucks when you conversions such as applicants to your recruitment processes.

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