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In today’s ever-changing world of new technologies and continuous innovation, it is safe to say the once fine-line between marketing and public relations has been somewhat blurred over time. Thanks to new forms of marketing that have emerged throughout the years, including social media, professionals in the field have found themselves clouded, unable to distinguish one function from the other. This is in-part due to the fact that press releases, PR announcements, and other marketing campaign materials can be conducted through social media, thus blurring the traditional boundaries of years past.
It’s time to distinguish the difference between marketing and public relations once and for all.
According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), public relations are defined as a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their public audiences.
At its core, public relations builds trust, credibility, and is meant to maintain the good reputation of a company in the media. It targets a range of audiences that collectively support an organization’s mission and objectives. Examples of these audiences include customers, the media, legislators, suppliers, local communities, investors, stakeholders and more. The fundamental objective of PR is to influence the public in a desired manner, whether it is to make a purchase, a donation, a vote, or to invoke a certain emotion, mindset or opinion.
Marketing on the other hand, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA), is defined as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
A simple way to look at this distinction is to remember that marketing focuses on products and services, while public relations focus on relationships and attitudes. Marketing’s target is the customer, while public relations target the public. Marketing focuses on both customers (existing and potential) and sales by meeting customer demands and moving through the supply-demand chain quickly and effectively.
Here is a quick rundown of what ARTÉMIA suggests for conducting an entry-level PR project:
A press kit includes press releases, which are crafted to focus on the highlights of a client’s offering, and how that story ties into current events or other broader storylines in the news. Media alerts, leadership bios, FAQs and other documents determined in conjunction with company stakeholders is also an essential component in this step.
Develop a list of media contacts. This list includes bloggers, journalists, new outlets, and others from news sites, newspapers, radio and TV. It is also important to consider those with large followings who specialize in the relevant subject area, as they may further be designated as an ‘influencer’ and can be targeted for extra attention.
Create a customized pitch for each group and each individual you are targeting, that focuses on the benefits of the company’s offering to that particular segment. Targets should then receive customized pitches with full follow-ups through phone or web to those who are interested. Help coordinate interviews, answer questions and provide access to images, videos and other collateral to help the journalist understand and value the offering.
After these steps are taken, track the coverage and collect data on circulation and social media followers. Additionally, it is important to keep journalists updated on any new developments to potentially secure additional coverage.
In conclusion, both marketing and public relations are essential to the positive growth and overall success of any company. Without marketing, the customer is unaware of a product or service, and without PR, the customer does not trust a brand enough for purchase. These two distinct practices should be used in sync, to ensure optimal results.
So the next time someone tells you that marketing and PR should be a single department, or are one in the same, please let them know: marketing and public relations are two distinct entities!
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