Monday, February 16, 2009

Marketing Mix-Up

I have come to realize this quarter that Marketing (or at least Marketing in academia) has a skewed view of the value of Public relations. I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit angry in my Marketing class when the prof and the book described PR as, "commnication with noncutsomers, including labor, public, interest groups, stockholders and the government." UGH WRONG!!! I almost stopped class. Not. Kidding.

Public relations as I have studied it is the, "Management function of two-way communication between an organization and its publics." What's the difference??? There are several actually. 

  1. Marketing has PR as subordinate to the "Marketing manager" and is as my prof so eloquently stated, "basically the same thing as Publicity, or they're so close you can almost count them as one." In actuality, PR is more appropriately placed directly in communication to the CEO or President, and equal to the "marketing manager." The reason is because PR and Marketing bring different but equally important aspects of the company to the public. Only PR seeks to bring the input of the public, back to the company. Two-way communication. What could be more valuable than accurate external knowledge of your standing in the market? Also publicity is a tool, not an element of the promotion mix in itself.
  2. Marketing also focuses on paid advertising and promotion. But PR can prove more valuable, especially given these current economic times. PR seeks to place as little cost on the company/organization as possible and the fact that the attention it attracts comes from unpaid efforts adds credibility to the info being dispursed. DUH!
  3. Marketing's version of PR is limited to persuasion and while that is an important part of PR, it isn't the whole. PR also focuses a lot of energy into informing the public. This can be the most important part of PR, esecially for a company without a huge marketing budget. Without PR, journos would have nothing to write about or at least they would have to work harder to find stories. PR does the grunt work for journos and marketers, getting the message out ethically and timely.
  4. Public relations focuses on excellent writing, something that cannot be said for Marketing at all...

I really think PR gets a bad rap just because of a few practitioners who used their knowledge irresponsibly instead of ethically. PR is still growing, and I think it's up to students like myself and my classmates to tip the scales of public opinion in PR's favor by practicing responsibly, honestly, ethically and excellently. We've got nowhere to go but up!

UPDATE: I found this post by Bill Sledzik that completely explains my issues with Marketing and it's understanding of PR.


Crystal said...

Hi, Evan. Thanks for taking the time to read my post at Culpwrit. Thanks for the comments. I agree that settling can be difficult; however, it can be valuable as I have learned first-hand. I have been able to bring in PR elements to the Marketing side of things and help everyone in my office understand the differences.

Your post is great. I agree that there are a lot of key differences between the two fields. I have always thought of Marketing as selling services or products while PR sells ideas. I think you are right in saying students like us are paving the way to make sure more people understand the differences and realize that PR is a must have for a company. Who else is going to do the talking, right?

Kennel said...

You also have to take into consideration that your book focuses on the INTRODUCTION of marketing concepts. Later on, if you so choose to take more marketing classes, PR is relished and cheered for it's work. And also remember who your MRKT professor is =)

REK said...

Perhaps useful to separate public relations tools used to manage relations with various constituencies - e.g., government, antagonists, etc. - from pr as a tool kit useful for addressing key marketing communication objectives (e.g., building awareness). Also, take a look at how the distribution of promotional dollars has shifted in recent history. Fewer $$ are going to advertising, while more $$ are going to pr activities. For building buzz, nothing is better than pr.

But do recognize that, from a marketing perspective, PR is one tool kit that is part of the Promotion Mix. The Promotion Mix, in turn is but one part of the marketing mix.

Evan Roberts said...

Thanks for the comments Crystal, Kenny and Prof. Kleine!

I understand the Marketing mix, and how PR is supposed to stem from that. I just don't think it's accurate. Or appealing.