Communication Management and Its Relation to Marketing

Employees gathered around a white board for a marketing presentation.

Communication management is an umbrella term referring to the flow of information within a company or between multiple companies. It focuses on reaching a company’s target audiences by planning and implementing different methods of communication. These target audiences include consumers, vendors and media groups — but they can also include employees.

Whether the audience is internal or external, communication management plays an essential role in the overall health and vitality of any business. Building an understanding of communication management and how it interacts with marketing can help set businesses up for success.

What Is Communication Management?

Communication management is an integral part of how businesses interact with consumers. When a company wants to communicate a message, it must first determine who the target audience is and what makes that audience unique. Then it must consider the fastest and most convincing way to reach that audience. Determining these factors first can help a communications specialist tailor a specific message to a specific audience.

There are two basic types of communication. Both types are complex, and a communication manager can specialize in either:

  • Internal communication is the process of exchanging information between participants within the organization itself, including employees at varying levels. This may be accomplished through email, training, internal documentation and company memos.
  • External communication uses various media channels to communicate between an organization and outside groups or individuals to facilitate cooperation and present a positive company image.

Communication Management Methods

There are several methods of communication management a company can deploy to achieve successful results. One example is a company newsletter or training handbook that is distributed solely to employees of the company. Companies can also take advantage of online tools that allow them to efficiently send out important messages while also encouraging employee collaboration.

Another, more intensive example of communication management is a website, which a company can use to contact multiple audiences with customized messages. On the website, vendors may be directed to one section containing information pertinent to them, while employees and customers can be channeled to another group of pages. Additionally, the company can pull in new potential clients through diverse ad campaigns on various media channels — yet another example of communication management.

Implementation of Communication Management

When assessing communications needs, it’s important to remember that feedback from employees and customers is invaluable if a company wants to improve and maintain healthy growth. This is often referred to as an “open communication” model. A company should focus on the easiest way for an audience to give feedback, and then create ways for that to happen efficiently. And with the vast array of communication methods available in this digital age, communication management experts must seize on shifting innovations and adapt quickly to ensure they are reaching their audiences.

One way to keep from getting bogged down by technological whiplash is to keep the big picture in mind, and there’s no better way to do that than by making sure all communications follow the five W’s. The five W’s of communication management are:

  • “What information is essential for the project?”
  • “Who requires information, and what type of information is needed?”
  • “What is the duration of time required for the information?”
  • “What type or format of information is required?”
  • “Who are the person/s who will be responsible for transmitting the information?”

These are good general guidelines, but it’s important to keep in mind other considerations such as cost and access to information.

The Role of Communication and Marketing Managers

Communication and marketing managers ensure an organization’s marketing and communication strategies align with who they are as a company, service or brand. Their work is integral to developing a corporate identity. This multilayered process requires those in marketing and communication management roles to apply their communications knowledge and skills in different ways.

Brand Building Is the First Step

While sales messages and percentage-off deals were once the top marketing method, modern marketing is about creating and building strong brand awareness. Consumers expect companies to provide them with some type of benefit, and the brand needs to communicate that fully. Additionally, brand building needs to be consistent across all areas, including social media, other online locations and offline.

Brand building is done in a variety of ways. For marketing professionals, it might look like this:

  • Engaging with the company to establish its brand, including what the company is, how it defines its vision, its mission statement and its unique selling points (value proposition)
  • Developing a strategy for communicating these factors in both bite-size and long-form capacities
  • Determining which audiences these messages will resonate with and where they spend their time
  • Marketing across a variety of channels ― from advertisements, to organic social media, to organic search, to television and radio

Why does brand building matter?

  • A consistent brand voice across platforms can increase revenue.
  • A positive brand image can make new product rollouts more effective.
  • The right brand voice sends a powerful message to consumers — 68% of American consumers say a brand’s reputation for social responsibility has some influence over their purchasing decisions, according to a 2020 report by Forrester.

Social Media Marketing Still Matters

Once the brand is determined and the message is developed, companies must be sure they are available wherever their target audience spends time. And for most companies and audiences, that location is social media.

Social media is the TV of this generation. Current and future generations of consumers are always connected ― on their phones, on their computers and even through voice search using smart devices. Social media is at the heart of this, with billions of users active every day.

Consumers often turn to websites and online reviews to learn as much as they can about a company and its products long before they decide to make a purchase. Companies must have a way to connect in these areas.

While this may initially seem like posting blogs and tweeting messages, there’s much more to social media marketing. The use of market research and analytics to develop key campaigns for both paid and organic social media traffic lies at the heart of any modern social media effort.

Targeted, Personalized Messages Are Essential

Personalization is where market research and analytics skills become critical, particularly since the increased use of big data analytics can provide such comprehensive information on customer behaviors. Customer data can be used to not only create targeted materials, but also to segment audiences by their interests, purchasing behavior and online browsing activity.

When developing personalized marketing, companies:

  • First, build marketing personas by exploring the types of people who buy from them ― demographically and behaviorally.
  • Then build materials and messaging that will resonate with these ideal personas.
  • Finally, create presences based on where these personas might spend their time.

This last point is particularly critical when considering social media campaigns. A 2021 Pew Research Center survey notes that 65% of adults ages 18 to 29 use Snapchat, compared to just 2% of adults ages 65 and older. Taking these metrics into account could spell the difference between a campaign that thrives and one that sputters.

Use Your Communication Knowledge to Make a Difference

Companies need marketing professionals with skills to take new marketing concepts and translate them into strong ROI. In a fast-paced and ever-changing industry, that’s not easy to do, especially when technology and analytics capabilities are constantly evolving.

Those equipped with advanced communication knowledge and communication management skills can use this shifting landscape to their advantage by building campaigns that engage the right customers at the right time. This can do more than grow a business — it can help advance your career.

USC’s online masters in Communication Management helps students stand out in this new world. This online degree program, available from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, helps students home in on the latest strategies and learn to thrive in an environment that requires constant adaptation. Learn how we can help you position yourself as a trusted leader in a critical field.


Recommended Readings

The Future of Digital Marketing in a Millennial World

How Business Communication Rules Have Changed (and Stayed the Same)

Using Audience Analysis for Better Marketing Communication


Sources:, “9 Most Effective Apps for Internal Communication”

Houston Chronicle, “How to Use a Newsletter to Communicate Better to Employees”

Forrester, “The Power of the Values-Based Consumer — and of Authentic Brand Values”

Indeed, Communications Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Indeed, A Complete Guide to Internal and External Communication

Investopedia, “Brand Identity: What It Is and How to Build One”

New Jersey Business Magazine, “Big Data Enables Personalized Marketing

Pew Research Center, “Social Media Use in 2021”

SmartCapitalMind, What Is Communications Management?

Society for Human Resource Management, Managing Organizational Communication

Tutorials Point, Communications Management