As PR students, we are always quick to defend our field to those who throw public relations into the same pile as marketing.
Marketing involves the process of selling and promoting a product by via direct (and often one-way) messages to a target audience, whereas PR practitioners base their campaigns around relationship building.
With marketing, your agenda is to get some kind of action from your customers. For example, you may send a letter asking people to send off for a free sample or even place a coupon in magazine with a tear-off section, while PR focuses on creating and maintaining relationships. It could be relationship between the chief executive officer and his employees or even an organization and its investors. Whoever the relationship is with, PR is still about maintaining those positive relationships with a multitude of publics.
The post titled, “Shift Your PR From Push to Pull” by Adam Singer, says that marketing and PR are complete opposites as PR is far more than publicity and the “push” of traditional marketing. The new PR is about reforming itself away from the conventional marketing push and into the “pull.”
The traditional way of PR is failing and here’s why.
- Traditional media- they are much more concerned in today’s economy about if they will have a job tomorrow then about reading the mass daily emails of pitches they receive. “While just a decade ago, traditional media and PR shared a symbiotic relationship, that relationship is currently on the rocks.”
- Blogging– bloggers don’t want to be seen as marketers. Technorati’s 2009 state of the blogosphere showed that 72% of bloggers are more interested in sharing their personal experiences. Furthermore, more than 75% of bloggers post in order to share their thoughts and opinions.
PR is melding itself into a new realm, one that offers sustainable growth. Adam says that the “pull” strategy allows enormous potential because PR professionals can include tactics like content marketing, which will build your digital presence over period of time. Therefore, you bring the publics to you, which is where the terminology “pull” comes into play. You’re placing little “digital hooks in the water.”
Another positive to the “pull” strategy is that it’s far more strategic. By implementing a PR strategy that brings people to you, instead of you out there badgering and marketing them, you are going to create a different kind of reputation. People are bombarded with hundreds of marketing tactics daily, and many people don’t even bother listening because they don’t want to be sold. With the “pull” PR strategy the relationship you build will be one based on permission, as people want to actually know more about it.
The “pull” method will also make PR professionals less reliant on traditional mass media because “it’s more powerful to be found by influencers than seeking them out.”
What would you say is the biggest difference between marketing and PR? What do you think of the PR concept the “pull”? Do you think it’s better to let the publics come to you or is it best to find them? Why or why not? What if your client’s company is small and they don’t have the same magnitude of “pull”?