Why the distinctions matter to your company and bottom line
In some companies, public relations and marketing share the same space, with their goals and functions used interchangeably. At other companies, they’re separate, with different reporting structures and a constant battle for budget dollars between the two. Some organizations have one function reporting to the other. How does your company handle these disciplines and, more importantly, are you using them correctly?
This was just one of the topics at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s highly anticipated 2017 Global Communications Study. How we structure and utilize PR and marketing is a major issue facing the PR industry and one your company must tackle to ensure you’re getting the maximum benefit and profitability.
Aren’t PR and marketing really the same thing?
If you ask most people about the differences between PR and marketing, they’ll probably reply, “Aren’t they the same thing?” The answer to that question is a firm no.
The public relations function typically focuses on mastering communication channels between your company and its key audiences to improve your reputation and advance your brand. Overall, marketing activities support the sales team to help drive revenue by promoting and selling your product. While the objectives may be similar, the methods for achieving them may be vastly different.
PR helps you maintain a positive image for your company as a whole, using communication tools such as media, social media and company messaging initiatives. The marketing function uses mechanisms like advertising and market research to help with happenings like product launches and driving sales.
How PR and marketing each measure success is also dissimilar. Marketing looks at issues such as whether the company exceeded sales goals and if it generated buzz about the product. It also looks at the ROI for the marketing campaign. PR pros consider whether they generated positive press, if they won awards and if they created buzz from industry influencers and the general public about your organization.
Owned media such as website landing pages and brochures fall under both marketing and PR. Additionally, the opinions of customers are important to each. Since you have to sell your product and boost your reputation to be successful, and you can’t do one without the other, they’re equally vital. Just be sure you understand how to get the most out of both disciplines for the benefit of your company and product.
What does the Annenberg Report say about the issue?
- Sixty-one percent of marketing professionals believe PR and marketing will become even more intertwined in the future, while less than half of PR professionals feel the same.
- A majority of in-house PR (55 percent) reports to the president/CEO and about 20 percent reports to marketing. Most companies that use PR agencies have them report to corporate communications (40 percent).
- Internally, many companies are restructuring their marketing departments to include PR.
What’s the best way to use PR for your company?
- Earn credibility.
Having third-party influencers praise your company and product is better than any advertising you can create.
- Tell your story.
Today’s customers expect to know a lot about your company before they decide to make a purchase.
- Hire a PR firm.
Save yourself the hassles of internal squabbling and blurred lines between PR and marketing. Axia Public Relations will help you create a targeted, effective plan for increased visibility and brand loyalty to make sure you’re getting the most from your limited time and budget. Contact us today or download our complimentary e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment to learn more.
Lisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
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