I am often asked, “What is the difference between marketing and public relations (PR)?” PR is about managing perception and developing relationships. Marketing uses the media to send a message, while PR engages the media in what you are doing so they send the message for you.
Public Relations Defined
According to PR News, PR is defined as, “The management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”
In short, PR discovers what people think, connects your organization to what they are thinking about, and motivates interest in what you do.
As an organization you probably devote valuable resources to marketing your unique brand message. Why not find ways to engage the media that will motivate them to communicate your message for you? When done properly, integrating your marketing and PR efforts will lead to increased brand awareness and higher revenues.
Adapting with the Market
As we find ourselves in a sluggish economy, with marketing and advertising budgets being cut every day, it makes a lot of sense to focus more of your attention on PR. Additionally, PR campaigns often cost a fraction of what it costs to launch a complete marketing or advertising campaign.
One key to a successful PR campaign is to build relationships with the right people. And when I say the “right people,” I mean the writers, journalists, editors, producers, etc., who can champion your cause and effectively communicate your message to your target market. What others say about your brand is much more powerful than what you say about it yourself!
I’ve heard it said that having an article printed in a trade magazine is five times more valuable than purchasing a full-page ad. (And have you seen the price of a full-page ad in your favorite trade journal or magazine lately? Ouch!)
A More Value Minded Perspective
Anytime a journalist mentions your organization, or you are featured in an article, it’s like getting a written testimonial from that individual. Think about it: Which do you tend to believe more, the ad for the product on TV, or the written review from someone who actually used the product? Third-party endorsements carry a lot of weight with consumers. It’s what gives PR an edge over advertising. Today’s growing organizations continue to look for creative ways to generate interest and create third-party credibility.
Now, marketing and advertising still have their place, and it is still the quickest way to get your story to a large audience, but it’s not enough. Especially now, with the increased popularity of the Internet and social media, your organization needs to maintain both an integrated marketing campaign and an effective PR campaign.
By Sean T. McCartney