When it comes to differentiating between marketing, advertising and public relations, its quite challenging to delineate the exact differences between the three.
Unless, of course, you know someone who’s an expert at all three. Luckily you’re at TOP’s Blog, so you’re in safe hands! 🙂
After all, public relations to publicity to sales, there are different terms that are used interchangeably to describe the activities that all contribute to the broader company goal.
So, before we dive into the differences between the three lets define what is marketing and advertising so that it’s easy to differentiate them from public relations.
What is Marketing?
The formal definition of Marketing is, “An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.”
When you think of marketing you need to have a holistic view point rather than a tunnel vision. Marketing is basically the whole puzzle, as opposed to a single piece.
It’s for this exact reason that many companies have marketing departments which are performing a whole multitude of activities including public relations and advertising.
Marketing is the overall activity that represents the steps taken by a company to get more eye balls for their product or services.
What is Advertising?
The formal definition of Advertising: “The action of calling something to the attention of public especially by paid advertisements.”
In contrast, you can think of advertising more like a singular activity – as opposed to a strategy.
Advertising is a marketing communication that deploys an openly non personal, sponsored message to promote a product or service.
Advertisements come in many different formats, form interactive video to copy, and have evolved to become a crucial feature of the overall promotion framework.
The major differences between PR, Marketing & Advertising
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, the structure between the three is a key differentiator between the three.
We really liked how Laura Lake in a post for The Balance summed up the difference.
“Think of marketing as a pie. Inside that pie you have slices of advertising, market research, media planning, public relations, product pricing, distribution, customer support, sales strategy, and community involvement.
When we talk about the structure, this practically means that public relations and advertising are pretty much the same – they are both part of the bigger marketing pie.
Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising have the same goal: Increasing Sales of a service or product.
However, within that larger goal, all three have individual goals as well:
- Goal of Marketing: To acquire new customers while fostering and maintaining a great relationship with them well into the future.
- Goal of Public Relations: To create, maintain and protect the companies reputation, enhance its prestige, and present a favorable image.
- Goal of Advertising: To inform, persuade, or remind your clients about your service or product.
Different efforts and activities help differentiate between these often confused labels.
As a brief example, answer a simple question (consider it as a quiz). Which of the following is not an aspect of advertising?
- Purchasing a half-page in a local newspaper to promote your new service.
- Placing ads on LinkedIn to target your target market.
- Putting a Press Release about your new service.
If you guessed “C”, you’re correct. For recall, advertising involves paying for a specific promotion.