Marketing ≠ Advertising ≠ Public Relations

Synonyms? No. Almost the same thing? No. Duplication of efforts? Absolutely not! Contrary to how the words ‘marketing,’ ‘advertising,’ and ‘public relations’ are commonly used in the marketplace, they are not interchangeable. Here is the simplest definition I can give you to help you understand the relationship of these three words. Marketing Marketing is the big umbrella term here. I like to describe marketing using Four Ps: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. As you can see, marketing means more than promoting a product or service. It means developing and offering a product or service that people want, then putting it in the right market, at the right time, at the right location and then strategically getting the word out about it. The P for Promotion branches into two segments: Advertising and Public Relations. These two ways of promoting an item or service (your Product) are not the same thing. Both Public Relations and Advertising are meant to evoke feelings about your product to the point that your audience will be inclined to buy your product, that’s where the similarities end. Though they have a common goal, they are completely different and work hand-in-hand for a really successful campaign. Advertising The easiest way to define this was how my advertising professor in college described it. “Advertising is paid persuasion.” You buy ads. You dictate where they will go, the size, the copy and the artwork. You get exactly what you paid for and if you placed the ad in an outlet that reaches your target market, then you might garner some sales. Placing just one ad won’t do it except in rare circumstances. You have to keep the ad going with some consistency to get the results you want. Public Relations If Advertising is an anchor, then Public Relations is a cloud. Public relations activities are those things that help you relate to your customer. The message is carried through different channels than advertising. Contests, giveaways, news articles, awards, advocacy efforts, and so on, down to the basics of how you answer your phone are all elements of public relations. As deliberate as PR activities are, the results are in the hands of others. Journalists, editors, and your target audiences decide what they will do with the information you give them as part of your PR plan. That’s as simple as I can make it. Now you can use the words...
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The Envelope Please

One way to really get your name on the map is to issue an award or awards. There are several ways to do that and you don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to get a name for yourself. If you think your organization or company doesn’t have enough stature with the public to offer an award, think again. Would you know what the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is if they didn’t host the Oscars? Here are a few categories of awards to consider. Regardless of the type of your awards, tie the awards ceremony to an event. It makes a great centerpiece for a lunch or dinner and allows you to create a fundraiser. This will help spread the word about your award. If you have a product that you sell, announce the award on your website or blog and draw people in to a sale to commemorate the award. Advancement Is there a scientist or advocate who has furthered the cause that your company or nonprofit organization supports? Acknowledge them with a humanitarian award. If they also happen to be a great speaker, allow a time for the recipient to speak about the strides they have made in your field. You need to gauge how interesting the topic is and how dynamic the speaker is. Keep it short and if the audience is enthralled you can let it go longer. Have they written a book? Having a book signing is another way to bring people to your awards ceremony. Review the book first so you know what it is you are promoting. Make sure it has something to do with why you are giving the award. Quality You see a lot of “quality” awards when it comes to children and baby products and toys—Year’s Best Toy, Safest, Smartest, and so on. Cars and restaurants also have layers of awards bestowed upon them. Do you even know what J.D. Power and Associates does besides give out awards? Who was Malcolm Baldrige? James Beard? Zagat? These awards had to start somewhere and it might have been a list of top ten, based on some simple criteria. Using social media it is much easier to issue a list of your own and disseminate it to the masses. Three simple steps to acknowledging quality: Hold a press conference to announce the criteria you used and what made...
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