Public relations is often confused with advertising and marketing, two neighboring but quite distinct disciplines. We have examined the differences between public relations and advertising in another article. Here we look at the relationship between public relations and marketing.
What Is Marketing?
In everyday language, the word “marketing’ is often used as a synonym for promotion. We talk about the marketing of a new product when we mean its advertising and promotion. Promotion is only one part of marketing. Marketing includes other activities as well.
Marketing’s starting point is the identification, using market research, of consumers’ needs and wants. The aim is to find out what consumers want before you develop a product or a service. What is the product or service that does not exist and that people would buy if it were supplied? This could be a challenge for many businesses which may be content to go on making and selling the same things. But, as the saying goes, marketing is “making what you can sell, not selling what you can make”.
Firms that specialize in market research help manufacturers determine if there is a market, that is, a sufficiently large number of potential customers for a product. They conduct surveys, asking people what kind of products they want, and they forecast probable sales of the product.
Marketing includes all the activities necessary to develop a product and move it from the producer to the consumer.
The Marketing Mix
These activities are known as the marketing mix, or the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion.
- Developing the right product, one that meets needs.
- Charging the right price for it.
- Getting it to a place where consumers can buy it.
- Promoting it so that potential customers know about it and be persuaded to buy it.
Public relations may be regarded as the fifth P of the marketing mix, standing for perception. PR helps shape people’s perception of a company. Customers prefer to deal with companies they hold in high regard. If customers have a poor perception of a business, they will be reluctant to buy its products, no matter how good or affordable they are. Effective PR builds positive perceptions, creating a fertile environment for successful marketing.
For added benefit, PR and marketing should be coordinated. When the marketing department advertises new products or services, PR reinforces the campaign by supplying the media with press releases and background information.