What Is Marketing Anyway? Pt. 1

16 Feb

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I get asked all the time, “What is the difference between marketing, advertising and public relations?” Well, I’m here to definitively answer that question. And then I’ll talk about how each relates to the other.

Marketing – While there is not just one definition for marketing because it encompasses such a large range of topics and practices, the American Marketing Association sums it up perfectly: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” At the core of marketing is defining the identity of your product or service while invisibly presenting it as mutually beneficial to both buyer and seller. It is the broader subject of the three disciplines.

Advertising – Advertising is probably the easiest one to define because it’s the one we know the best; it’s what we see. Advertising is a paid, public promotion or announcement of a company’s message intended to persuade an audience to take action. It’s used to reveal the product/brand and its personality to the target audience. The look is just as important as the message to convey character. If marketing is invisible, than advertising is prominent and obvious.


Public Relations (PR) – Public relations is another practice that has several layers of explanation and because of that is not easily defined in one concise summary. According to the Public Relations Society of America, PR “… helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” While that’s an apt definition, I don’t think it does much to explain how. So, here’s my definition: Public relations is the art of cultivating advantageous relationships and disseminating positive messages about a company or brand by means of free* media. (*Keep in mind, “free” here simply relates to money in it’s strictest form. I’m not taking into account time and resources. Also known as “earned media“.)  It’s understated and behind-the-scenes.

Now that we’ve defined what each is, check back tomorrow to find out how they integrate to create a fully functioning brand.

See you back here tomorrow!
~Laura~


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