Public Relations & Marketing may not be one of the greatest divides in life – it’s not in the Nature vs. Nurture, Cats vs. Dogs, or Coke vs. Pepsi category – but it is one that will elicit some strong responses. PR and Marketing serve important roles – and ones that blur at times. But some have come to view the two almost in a combative opposition to one another, which certainly should not be the case. This probably stems from people working in one arena or the other feeling slighted, overlooked, underappreciated, or under-budgeted. The two should not be considered mutually exclusive — although aspects of them certainly are — but two sides of the same coin.
The traditional definitions explain that PR functions are focused on maintaining a positive public image of a company (or individual), whereas Marketing is concentrated on promotion, advertising, and sales. Each entails research to a greater or lesser degree. The target audiences for Public Relations cover a broader spectrum – customers, investors, media, suppliers and distributors, and even competitors in the same industry to some extent. Marketers’ target audience is the customer or potential client.
Clearly, strong public relations will help to lay a strong foundation that will benefit the marketing team’s job. Conversely, if the marketers do a great job rolling your service or product out there so it gains popularity, it gives the Public Relations team – in the words of the Bonnie Raitt song – something to talk about.
The measurements for success differ for each. Marketing is the more tangible of the two – have the sales goals been met? What’s the profit line of the campaign? Public Relations is usually more nebulous. The success is often seen in the relationships with key constituents and the long-term growth of a company or organization. A marketing team’s success (or failure) can be established in smaller snapshots, for the most part, while the PR department’s triumphs and pitfalls may not come into clear view for an extended period of time. Strong PR will sustain marketing campaigns or product roll-outs that fall short. A marketing team cannot be expected to hit a home run every time it steps up to the plate. It simply is not the way life or business works (or baseball for that matter). But the strong PR that a company has established provides a cushion that offers the marketers some good will from the public.
The bottom line (figuratively and literally) is that Marketing and Public Relations should not be viewed through a competitive lens but one that sees that they have an important symbiotic association. The two are connected through good products, reliable service, and economic value. While these fundamentals do not guarantee success, they certainly are the elements that fuel prosperous marketing campaigns and positive PR!
When it comes to both PR and marketing, Steven James has you covered. Contact us today to get started!