PR vs. Marketing
PR and marketing are like cousins: relation is obvious, but its degree is hard to define at once. And what do the press say about them? Usually reading an article on marketing or PR leaves an impression that both of them are absolutely essential for business, but their functions and the difference between them remains vague; in fact, it's unclear even whether they are different branches, or one of them is the part of the other.
Contiguity of Marketing and PR
PR and marketing are like cousins: relation is obvious, but its degree is hard to define at once. And what do the press say about them? Usually reading an article on marketing or PR leaves an impression that both of them are absolutely essential for business, but their functions and the difference between them remains vague; in fact, it's unclear even whether they are different branches, or one of them is the part of the other. It's hard to understand whom to hire if a product needs promotion. Should it be a marketing specialist or a public relations officer? Or maybe both should be hired, because only one of them is not enough? And if both are hired, will they work independently or will they collaborate? And is it possible that they will start to interfere with each other's work? So there are lots of questions, but to get these questions sorted out is not such a desperate task as it seems to be. Let us clear up the difference between marketing and PR point by point, because today they are the necessary tools for any company that wants to inform a customer about its product. Make the best use of them - and they will lead you to the great success.
Definition of Marketing
We come across these words here and there in newspapers, magazines, on the Internet, sometimes even in everyday life. So let's see what they mean. There are several hundred definitions of the word marketing. Some analysts hold the opinion that nowadays the essence of marketing is not a customer service, but beating business rivals; but classic definitions support another viewpoint. Philip Kotler, the world's foremost expert on the strategic practice of marketing, states that "marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit". The most comprehensive definition, in our opinion, was given by the American Marketing Association (AMA): "Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders".
Definition of PR
PR (abbreviation for public relations) is a set of actions aimed to promotion of a man, company, social movement, party and so on, based on informing the public and cooperating with it. One of the most popular definitions was given by Sam Black, former President of Public Relations Association: "PR is art and science of achieving harmony by means of mutual understanding, based on the truth and complete information awareness". The definition, that reflects the essence of PR, was developed by Public Relations News magazine: "Public relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance".
If we compare the definitions, it's easy to notice that there is a connection between PR and marketing, as both of them deal with informational influence on a customer. To understand it better, let's consider tasks and goals of marketing and PR.
Goals and Tasks of Marketing
Textbooks define goals of marketing as highest consumption, highest consumer satisfaction, and widest choice. The tasks of marketing include research, analysis and estimation of real and potential consumers' needs, supporting development of new products and services, analyzing condition and development of markets, developing pricing policy, sales, and so on. The tasks are performed during marketing process, which includes the following steps: market opportunities analysis, target markets choice, marketing mix development and marketing events execution. So, marketing studies demand for a definite product and opportunities of promoting sales and encouraging consumers.
Goals and Tasks of PR
As for PR, it aims to create a positive image of organization and prevent spreading unfavorable rumors and information. The tools used to manage public opinion may also be considered the three main parts of PR. They are:
1. Promotion, which implies activities aimed at creating and encouraging interest for a person, a product or an organization.
2. Lobbying, that is responsible for establishing and supporting relations between interest groups and government, in order to influence legislative and governing processes.
3. Media relations - this PR-team activity embraces producing informative articles for mass media, organizing media support for various campaigns, and making news to draw media attention. Small and medium-sized enterprises usually consider PR as just media relations, because this part is the most important one for their business.
Relationship Between PR and Marketing
Let's keep in mind that all the PR tools are used successfully to achieve marketing goals of stimulating consumption. PR campaign is essential for positioning. It also increases the popularity of a product, influencing a customer and rising sales volume. Does it mean that PR is one of marketing tools? In this case - absolutely yes. However, public relations' functions are not limited to this. Let's get back to the beginning and compare the definitions: marketing is aimed to manipulate a customer, while the goal of PR is to manipulate company image. Not only products, but also companies and persons need a new image, and in this case PR is not just a marketing tool, but an independent practice.
One more question is when one should choose PR from all the variety of tools. During the last twenty years the price of company image has increased, and now it comprises about 80% of the total company value. Even a minor growth of company image price results in a considerable increase of stock value price. Positive, stable company image has become an important intangible asset. And that is exactly the job of the public relations team: to create the image of the company. Using PR, one can correct image, thus immediately raising the profit.
So we see, that marketing and PR are very close, and they often become allies on the battlefield of customers' minds. That is the reason they are often mixed up. But in general, marketing and public relations are two independent disciplines, equally essential and important for everyone who wants to increase profit and efficiency of the company.