What is the Difference Between Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations?

Though marketing, advertising and public relations can all be integral to the success of your company and they all have some glaring similarities in how they can help your company succeed on some level; each is indeed a different element, approached in a different way in order for it to work the way it is supposed to work in an effort to reach an ultimate goal.

Marketing could be considered the whole ball of wax in this equation. A company’s marketing department could be subdivided into several smaller sections that operate as separate entities, but all work toward the same ultimate goal – which is the success and growth of the company.

A company’s marketing department could, and should include smaller departments that are responsible for: public relations, advertising, customer service, market share research as well as pricing, distribution and product placement.

The piece of the equation that is advertising has the sole responsibility of putting your product or service where the public can see it. Advertising lets the consumer know what it is that you have to offer, then lets them know why exactly they need it. A company could pay a pretty penny for advertising; in fact the advertising budget is often the largest part of the marketing plan’s expenditure. As the saying goes, “you have to spend money to make money.”

Public relations can make prospective consumers want to buy your product or your service, but public relations is a much less direct approach to gaining sales than advertising. The point of public relations is to highlight all of the positive things that your company does and is involved in, while simultaneously keeping anything that could possibly be construed as a negative out of the public eye. It is the public relations departments’ responsibility to make the company look good in the public eye and they will take several routes and measures to get there. A public relations department may schedule charity events, distribute press releases highlighting company achievements or company community efforts and schedule public speaking appearances at educational or industry seminars – anything that can put the company under a good light while in the public eye is the public relations department’s main concern.

The company marketing plan is how both of these integral parts of business come together, along with several other aspects, to ensure company success and growth. Each individual focal point of the marketing department is integral to the success of the marketing plan.

Market research, which is probably the most intensive piece of the puzzle, will determine exactly who your target customers are.

With this information in hand, the product or service that you are offering can be priced accordingly for the target audience. Once pricing is established, the advertising department can begin its job of getting the word out that your company has a service to offer. Depending upon the advertising budget, this can be done in many ways: through television, radio, print ads, billboards and/or flyers pointed directly toward the target customer.

The PR company departments’ work can coincide with the advertising departments, to ensure that the company is being viewed by the potential consumer in an overall positive light while the flood of advertisements are reaching the target audience. Working every angle of public relations along with following a sound advertising campaign will ensure that the most positive message possible reaches the masses of your target audience of customers.

Once the customers are reached and desirous of the company has to offer, details like distribution of product and inventory management are put into place to ensure that the service or product is always available and delivered on time.

From the above description, advertising and public relations may just seem like small pieces of the overall marketing puzzle, but without them the marketing plan could never fully be realized and the company’s success would suffer accordingly.