Advertising, Marketing and PR: What’s the Difference?

by | Apr 7, 2008 | Marketing & Selling

You hear these terms bandied about all the time. They sometimes seem to mean the same thing — it can be confusing, especially for small and solo businesses. So here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference.

Technically, advertising is a promotional activity that you pay for. It includes ads placed in various media, such as billboards, e-zines, and radio. Advertising is where you pay someone to put your message in their space.

Marketing encompasses all promotional activities that aim to gain clients or get customers to buy. It can include advertising, newsletters, mailings, and more. Marketing can also be considered a mindset, and without it, your business does not exist.

Both marketing and advertising cost money and have the goal of making money. However, there are ways to market your business for low or no cost. These would be promotional activities outside of advertising.

Although public relations can make you money, its underlying goal is to save money. Public relations’ goal is to build relationships with target markets and to make sure they stay in good standing with the company or organization.

What gets confusing these days is that these functions, once very clearly separate, are now experiencing such an overlap in technique and purpose that they’ve really become merely nuances of the same over-arching activity, usually called marketing.

So, when you create or tweak your business marketing plan, you should remember to include all three types of activities. This will make your plan more balanced, efficient, and successful.

This month, I’ll discuss several tips and techniques you can use in your marketing plan that generally fall under advertising’s umbrella.


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