How PR differs from marketing
I'm often asked what is the difference between PR and marketing. Frequently, people consider public relations and marketing as falling under the same umbrella. However, each requires a vastly different set of skills and expertise, but both are vital to the success of brands. In an earlier post I discussed how customer service was good for PR and a brand's reputation. In this post its about how PR is beneficial for marketing.
6 ways PR differs from marketing:
- Area of focus: The major goal of marketing is to increase sales for products or services while the major goal of public relations is to build relationships and trust with stakeholders and customers.
- Unpaid Coverage: Editorial coverage generated by public relations can’t be ‘bought’. Consumers often see editorial coverage as more credible than paid advertising and therefore effective public relations is paramount to any integrated communication strategy.
- Indirect Style: In some cases, public relations can be indirect compared to marketing. An example of this is event sponsorship. By sponsoring large or even small local events positive brand awareness and increased publicity can be built up.
- Broader target audience: While marketing focuses on creating target markets and a loyal customer base, public relations aims to build relationships with anyone exposed to the brand. This broader audience includes employees, shareholders, the general public and media. Public relations focuses on how a brand and its reputation appears to not only current but future stakeholders. Building and maintaining relationships across a variety of different areas is the key to effective public relations.
- Multiple benefits: Public relations works to build ties with the community, stakeholders and government. Creating a favourable and positive image across these areas can have a positive influence on a brand’s bottom line. Another benefit of public relations is its ability to manage crisis situations and resolve complex issues. Any negative news about a brand may hamper its image. Public relations consultants, who often also have experience and qualifications in journalism, are trained to handle issues, negative publicity and damage to a brand’s reputation.
- Duration: Marketing campaigns tend to focus more on the short-term with an end site in mind by which they aim to have reached tangible success, whereas Public Relations is ongoing. A good public relations program should be viewed as an investment that the company will continually reap rewards from in the future.
PR and Marketing departments in organisations have traditionally worked separately, often oblivious to each other's projects. However, if you're looking for a new job in PR today it's vital you understand some marketing and if you're in marketing then you could certainly learn from you're PR colleagues. While, the goals of marketing and public relations may be different their strategies should be complementary and in keeping with the overall feel of a brand.
As content marketing becomes the dominant form of marketing PR professionals are skilled to plan and execute strategies to build upon a brand's authentic voice. By his own definition content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi says: "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
While certainly about driving sales, content marketing is also about building strong reputations - a merging of both PR and marketing. It's simply all about collaboration between the two specialties.