PR or Marketing?

imagesPR and marketing is one of those expenses that get put on simmer on the back burner in start-ups.  There is always this lingering question about when is the time to spend on PR.  Do we need PR?  Perhaps we only need a marketing person who can help drive home the brand with social media and at the same time work on customer acquisition.  Both can make an impact but sometimes you need just one and others times you need both.

Marketing is a key component of most start-ups.  The role of marketing person is changing in start-ups.  They focus on the product that in turn connects with the customer.  The hope is that customer will then become a customer and that can be anything from buying the product to consuming the content on the site.  Essentially customer acquisition.  Marketing campaigns range from just making sure that there are tweets going out to Instagram posts or keeping up the Facebook page on a daily basis.  It can also be about paid ads on Facebook that drives traffic.  Using either paid media (paying for ads), shared media (social media posting) or earned media (bloggers and other third party sites that will drive traffic by writing about the company).

PR on the other hand is a component of marketing because one could say with our marketing how can we do any PR.  PR is about promoting the brand through a campaign.  It could be getting articles written about something specific that has happened.  PR pushes out the marketing efforts in a big blast.  One way communication.

Marketing is defined as: the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising

PR is defined as: the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public.

As the media landscape continues to evolve yet it is important to realize that marketing is to find your customers and determine a way to engage them.  PR is about being visible about what you are doing for potential customers that weren’t so easy to find.


Comments (Archived):

  1. johndodds

    Every employee’s a marketer.

  2. awaldstein

    Welcome to my world!Thanks for writing this. I agree that they are supersets of each other but I don’t think the line of when and for what is quite that black and white.I recommend two posts that never stop getting read of mine for your readers.On PR:Our love/hate relationship with PR heads up that the social web is not in and of itself marketing:Back to marketing basics topic is right on the money. Thanks!

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks for sending these articles. the line is still blurry for most.

      1. awaldstein

        I find that it you have a really clear grasp of your value and the community that you are selling into, PR with a great practitioners who is part of that community pays back in spades.Being crisp on who you are and finding the right person is not trivial of course.

  3. suesol

    Marketing is put on the back burner, I believe, because many people fundamentally misunderstand what marketing really is. The minute you come up with a name & a logo, determine who your target audience is, understand why they would benefit from your product, what words to use to grab their interest – and in a tone that is uniquely yours, the marketing has begun. If that hasn’t been thought through (well!) no amount of tweets or Instagram posts are going to bring much success. And you just end up with a great product that no one has ever heard about.

  4. William Mougayar

    It’s great that you are giving visibility to this important topic. Many startup founders that are product or engineering focused don’t fully understand nor use marketing properly.A common mistake is to use PR too early when your product is not conducive to repetitive usage yet. Then you’d be amplifying your flaws to the market instead of touting your capabilities. Resisting PR campaigns til you’ve nailed it and have a great narrative & messages is hard. (I’ve written extensively on all this, and the subject of my next book is on Startup Marketing: Messaging, Positioning & Branding.)

    1. Gotham Gal

      Totally agree. Early PR can and is usually not the best foot forward

    2. awaldstein

      Yes and no.Sure, don’t sing your song until you want it to be heard and have some preparation in place.But reality is that companies at the $10-20M range have product and invariably don’t have their ‘repetitive’ anything together. This idea of maturation of process as a trigger to opening your voice to the market is not nearly as scientific nor as studied as you make it out to be. In my experience.

      1. Gotham Gal

        Be sure. Be smart

  5. Sunchowder

    Wish I could squeeze the money out of my business to hire someone to do both! I do it all and severely lack the time and energy required to manage all aspects of my business. Keeping customers in the funnel is the most difficult job when you are doing all the product development and production.

  6. Endorphin

    The answer is always. And both. Meaning that even if you’re not engaged in a specific PR or advertising campaign at a particular time, you must maintain:1. a level of awareness about your brand in the greater scheme of things (I.e. listen to customer buzz, monitor press and social media) and,2. a level of communication about the brand and the things that are important to you as a company to stay relevant.PR is not just one-way media placements. It should include powerful interactions with affinity groups which enrich your relationships and boost your profile.In my opinion, live experiences are the new luxury.Overall, most brands will benefit by “putting more doors on your store!” Meaning that there are many ways in which customers can experience your brand, including smart marketing partnerships and alternative media channels.Fun fun..

  7. pointsnfigures

    Yup. Two most important business school majors are Marketing and Operations (not Accounting and Finance) When I was in college it was reversed. Even if you build a better mousetrap, you better learn how to target customers so you can sell it.