What is the Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations Anyway?

Recently I’ve been sharing information on Online Marketing for small business owners and how you can effectively use these strategies for your business.

Sometimes I focus on social media but I hope that you have been able to use some of my tips on integrating all your business marketing activities together so you can start getting audience engagement and customers purchasing your products and services. I also hope that my easy tips give you clarity on how all your online activities are connected and that it makes it easier for you to understand how to put it together.

I’ve received some really great feedback and questions and because of that, I want to take the time to explain the difference between marketing and public relations.

Most people find it difficult to distinguish between marketing and public relations let alone small business owners who are wearing pretty much every hat running their business and now find themselves having to become mini-experts on marketing.  And then you add into the mix social media which even furthers the confusion.  You are most likely advertising on every social media platform, creating your own content and the lines are becoming very confusing.

So, despite the confusion, I’ve put together some important differences between marketing, advertising and public relations just for you – the really small business owner or individual professional selling your products and services.

Focus – marketing focuses on products and services while public relations focuses on relationships.

So on Facebook, if you post something that shows you with your pet on your business page – that is PR – that helps your followers feel like you’re a real person. But if you post a flyer promoting an item, product or service – that is marketing.

Function – marketing directly contributes to your business’ bottom line. Public relations indirectly supports your business goals and objectives.

Your business might have a mission to donate a portion of proceeds to a community service group – that’s PR. But if you make your money selling your products or services then you have to market those to generate income.

Target – marketing’s target is the customer. PR targets a range of your public and goals that support your business objectives. This can include your customers, the media, the community as examples.

Paid, Earned and Owned Media

Paid Media – You pay for your marketing campaigns that could include print, radio, television or social media advertising.

Owned Media – are the media that belongs to you. Like your website, Facebook, social media accounts, blogs, and any other content you’ve created that lives on your own platforms. All of these are essential and is the key in the world of social media because the original content is what matters most.

Earned Media – also known as ‘free’ media is published through third parties like journalists for newspaper, radio or television stories, or other influencers. It is what you get as a result of a successful PR campaign. Earned media is when someone else is talking about you and your business making it more credible in the public’s eye and making it more valid than paid advertising. That is why social media’s word of mouth is so important because when someone else tells people how great you or your business are, people are more likely to believe it over your bragging about yourself.

So there you have it. Both marketing and public relations play significant roles in accomplishing your business goals and objectives.

Simply put marketing is all about sales and public relations focuses on your customers, media – paid and free, influencers, etc. to develop relationships and reputation.

Both are essential to effectively grow your business. Savvy business owners can learn to integrate their strategies to achieve success.

But remember even if you feel like you don’t have a lot of money to spend or time to even do it, it is essential.

There are plenty of ways that you, the small business owner and professionals can easily and affordably launch your marketing and public relations campaigns.

I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts or questions? Do you have a marketing campaign strategy?