Sunday, November 8, 2009

Public relations vs. marketing

The agendas of public relations and marketing are different. Marketing is interested in the market — consumers and demand. Public relations is interested in relationships — reducing conflict and improving cooperation.Good public relations will create a healthy environment for marketing. But simply providing technical support for marketing is not the same as good public relations.

An important study on excellence in communication management identified four major public relations models:
  • Promotion and publicity (one-way communication/hype)
  • Applied journalism (one-way communication/credible)
  • Research, persuasion (two-way communication, win/neutral)
  • Dialogue, mutual solutions (two-way communication, win/win)

The same study found that excellent organizations were associated with three factors:

  • Effective organizations treat PR as a management function.
  • The most effective model of PR involves dialogue and mutual solutions.
  • The commitment of key leaders and asking the right questions are critical.

The two critical questions were:

  • How do we manage our interdependence with the community?
  • How do we develop excellence within our organization?
The bottom line is a balance of receivables and payables. Marketing adds value by increasing income. Public relations adds value by decreasing the expenses that are necessary when issues are ignored.

Consider the alternatives to these situations:

  • Activist groups being satisfied with your performance.
  • Customers comfortable that they can count on you.
  • (or) Donors being loyal to you when money is tight.
  • Employees respecting you as a good and fair employer.
  • Fewer people feeling like suing you.
  • Journalists knowing you to be responsive and credible.
  • Legislators seeing you as ethical and having public support.
  • Neighbors not minding your presence on their street.
  • Shareholders regarding you as competent and competitive.
  • Your industry considering you a leader.
    Marketing and public relations both work best when they're treated as distinct management functions. These two functions can pull together as equals on a team, and this works to integrate the business process.

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