Many people often confuse marketing and public relations (PR). However, the difference between PR and marketing is fairly simple – PR handles the relations between a company and its various publics, such as the media, while marketing does not.
When trying to become well known, you need a lot more than an ad in a newspaper. You need the help of a PR specialist to promote you and your company to important people, such as magazine and newspaper editors and news producers. When you can tell your clients or prospective clients that you were featured in Life Insurance Selling magazine, or they can tune in to FOX 6 News every morning for your financial tips, you have received third-party endorsement and earned your status as an expert.
By creating good relations with the media, you can become a mini-celebrity in your own town. According to Dr. Glenn Broom, a professor of public relations at San Diego State University, public relations is the “management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends.”
PR firms create campaigns or programs that will develop or maintain a positive image for their clients. Many tactics and strategies can ensure that the media and the public always see the successes of an organization. If a company finds itself in a rough patch or in the mist of a scandal, there are ways for practitioners to lessen the negative blow to its public image. PR firms serve as a proactive and reactive buffer for a company or organization.
In contrast, according to Dr. Broom, marketing is “the management function that identifies human needs and wants, offers product and services to satisfy those demands, and causes transactions that deliver product and services in exchange for something of value to the provider.”
In marketing, there is no damage control. No one is charged with making sure the company is consistently viewed in a favorable light. Generally, marketing teams don’t concentrate on the media. Instead, they focus on moving a product or service to satisfy customers’ needs.
As consultants to large and small companies, PR firms come in many sizes. They can be large for bigger clients, or they can be small boutique shops for clients who have specific needs. My firm, Crittenden Communications, Inc. (CCI) is an example of a boutique shop. For the past six years, CCI has created small media campaigns for producers in their local markets. Numerous clients have gained recognition as financial advisors in local newspapers, magazines, and news stations. These media campaigns are a part of CCI’s Published Author Program, which works exclusively with financial advisors to help communities become more financially savvy.