And what do they mean for the Phoenix Business Owner?
Once upon a time, there were three unique and distinctive methods of promoting your business. They were advertising, marketing and public relations. But as communications has evolved, these three disciplines have converged, for as you hear these terms bandied about, they sometimes seem to mean the same thing.
So what do these terms mean and how do these techniques affect the Phoenix business owner? Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference.
What Is Advertising?
Technically, advertising is a promotional activity that you pay for. It includes ads placed in various media, such as bill boards, e-zines and radio. Advertising is where you pay someone to put your message in their space.
Depending on your target market, this can either be a very effective technique or a total waste of business funds. Before you pay to place an advertisement in a magazine, newspaper, television station or billboard, make sure your target market will see it and be likely to respond. People have gotten used to advertisements and often will filter them out.
From what I’ve heard, local “entertainment” based businesses, such as restaurants and theme parks do well with television advertisements. Whereas business to business companies do better with targeted B to B magazines.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing encompasses all promotional activities that aim to gain clients or get customers to buy. It can include advertising, newsletters, mailings and more. Marketing can also be considered a mindset, and without it, your business does not exist.
Both marketing and advertising cost money and have the goal of making money. However, there are ways to market your business for low or no cost. These would be promotional activities outside of advertising.
Local business marketing often includes such things as going to networking meetings, such as the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, speaking at these types of meetings, and holding special events for your prospects and customers (such as the Phoenix Coyotes Taco Bell promotion I’ve mentioned before), as well as the basics such as your business card, brochure and website.
What Is Public Relations?
Although public relations can make you money, its underlying goal is to save money. Public relations’ goal is to build relationships with target markets and to make sure they stay on a good standing with the company or organization.
Media relations is a subset of public relations and focuses on getting your business mentioned in the media — radio, television, newspapers and magazines.
The Online World Changed Everything
What gets confusing these days is that these functions, once very clearly separate, are now experiencing such an overlap in technique and purpose that they’ve really become merely nuances of the same over-arching activity, usually called marketing.
Much of this change has been brought about by the explosion of the Internet and online marketing. Blogs and social media have really changed the landscape of business promotion.
So, when you create or tweak your business marketing plan, you should remember to include all three types of activities. This will make your plan more balanced, efficient and successful.
For more information on how to grow a business you truly love, visit The Women’s Business Gallery.