Want your marketing efforts to go the extra mile? PR and marketing go together to boost your bottom line.

By Karla Jo Helms

A recent study showed that a large percentage of business entrepreneurs have misunderstandings about the purpose of PR and its relationship to marketing.

Some thought PR was about drawing attention to your business and getting it well known, while others believed it is the actual advertising of your product or service.

As you can see there is some confusion and misconceptions about Public Relations and its relationship to marketing – whether it is marketing…or something else.  The two concepts go hand-in-hand, but by the same token, they are very separate entities.

Despite the wide misunderstanding, a majority of businesses surveyed would like to have their companies well-known and held in high regard.  There is no better way to create that kind of reputation, than with PR.  So, let’s figure out what PR’s real relationship is to marketing, and how you go about doing this.

The Relationship of PR to Marketing

Public relations is really a way to take an idea or vision that you have and make people start thinking the way that you want them to think about it, or change their minds if they are not already thinking that way, so that when you deliver your marketing materials, people already have the idea that you have instilled in their minds.

PR lays the foundation so that people are more receptive to and will respond to your marketing efforts.

The whole purpose of business PR is to make sure that you get a better return on investment for your marketing dollars by establishing your credibility before marketing your product or service.

Marketing Before PR is Bass-ackward

Since PR should precede marketing, the preconceived notion of it being about advertising your product or service goes out the window.  You can do marketing before PR and it will still work to some extent, however, there are a lot of people you won’t be reaching that a public relations campaign can help you with by lending credibility to what you do on a wider scale.  If you really want to blow the roof off; if you want to tear down that emotional barrier of distrust BEFORE your marketing materials are launched, then PR is the way to go.  There is an entire group of people who may have seen your ads, but they passed on the opportunity since they know nothing about your reputation or your company.

PR is beneficial to your marketing campaign because it will highlight your acts of good will, things you have accomplished and your contributions to your community which provide you with ‘worthiness of belief.’  When people see your advertisement they will know you are a reputable company and contact you because you laid the groundwork ahead of time before marketing your product or service.

This is how Public Relations can separate the professional marketer from the amateur who doesn’t understand the power of great PR.

The Power of Extreme PR

We once did a PR campaign for a banker who had been trying to attract new clients through traditional advertising.  The advertising was working to some degree, however, his shareholders were not happy with the results.  He was a visionary – he knew that the reputation of the bank was solid and he wanted a campaign to SHOW that.  He knew he needed PR.

When his PR campaign was executed, through the strategic placement of several articles and interviews with journalists, he landed an interview on Fox News which provided his bank with so much validity that he instantly began to get professionals with money who wanted to bank with him – simply because they saw his news segment.  And this was done during the banking crisis, mind you.  This is a prime example of the power behind first-rate PR and a great return on investment for your marketing dollars.

As you can see there is a huge difference between marketing and PR, but the two units still go hand-in-hand.  You cannot have marketing without PR and you cannot have PR without marketing.  Eventually, each one is going to need the other.  An exceptional PR company understands this and knows how to implement a PR strategy that gets tangible results, i.e. people who are interested and more comfortable doing business with you.