The difference between marketing, advertising and PR

Identical twins, and even triplets at first glance can look spookily alike, but scratch the surface of that “mirror image” exterior and you will find that upon further inspection they do in fact have very different and multifaceted personalities.  They may very well finish each others’ sentences and sometimes even dress alike but there is no getting away from the fact that despite sharing the same DNA they are not the same.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with this week’s blog, well, the same can be said for PR, Marketing and Advertising.  To many, at face value and to all intents and purposes they are much and such the same thing, right?  Well no, not exactly.  Whilst they may very well be three peas from the same pod each is unique in its own way.

First you have the big, fat, well rounded one, AKA Marketing in this analogy.  Marketing is a business process which operates via a formula that we call the marketing mix in the biz. It’s also known as the 4Ps – product, price, place and promotion.   Using elements of this mix, which include advertising and public relations, the aim of marketing is to deliver a product, tangible or otherwise, to a specific target audience – something that is achieved by having a clear and concise marketing plan in place.  The purpose of a marketing plan is to develop a strategy to sell products or services by ascertaining potential customers and communication channels, and then deciding which resources would be best suited to each individual area.

Then there comes the slightly leaner one that’s a little flattened from being sandwiched in the middle of its counterparts: Advertising.

Advertising’s biggest association is paid media including such channels as radio, television, printed publications and internet advertising.  It too is a means of communication with the target audience being reached through specific branding, messages and defined portrayal of services and products.  How you decide which avenue of advertising you go down is very much based on the results of market research and constraints of your marketing budget, as well as the media habits of your target audience.

And last but by no means least is the small but perfectly formed one that I’m calling PR …or Public Relations to use its Sunday name.  PR is a method of communication that businesses use to speak either directly to a target audience or, on a wider scale, to the general public.  Public Relations is about conveying a positive image and telling your audience about newsworthy information.  Examples of how this is commonly done include; press releases, involvement in community projects, speaking at events and interviews. Companies will use PR as a way of highlighting achievements therefore establishing a brand image and getting their company name recognised.

So you see, they are all different, serve different purposes and relate in some way or another with the main differences being;

  • PR is great at raising reputation and brand awareness but is not an effective way of selling

  • Advertising offers the benefit of you being able to guarantee the exact content of your coverage whereas this is difficult with public relations

  • Marketing is supported by PR which is usually in the form of an endorsement, adding credibility and a trust factor to your brand.

  • PR keeps you in the forefront of people’s minds.

  • You can pay for and choose your advertising positioning and publish date whereas with PR this is not so easy.

  • PR and advertising are both part of your overall marketing communications strategy. Marketing is a much broader discipline.

So the next time you think, “which is right for me, Marketing help, PR advice or Advertising pointers?” remember this blog and get in touch as we will be only too happy to help you find your perfect match.  Next week I shall talk about raising your brand awareness and how Début Marketing can specifically help you.

The difference between Marketing, PR and Advertising

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