How are you Aiming Your Marketing Message to Consumers?
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Marketing. Public Relations. Advertising. Branding.
You’ve probably heard of all of these, but aren’t sure what the differences are. In truth, they overlap a lot. The lines are often blurred among them.
I couldn’t say it better than that, but I’ll go ahead and ruin it by trying. Let’s order them in terms of blatancy to the most subtle.
1. Advertising (bang your message over someone’s head) 2. Marketing (consumers are aware you’re sending a marketing message to get them to buy) 3. Public Relations (they don’t have to know you called the news station after rescuing that kitten from a tree) 4. Branding (word of mouth is a great example). Branding is usually seen as the most sophisticated because it involves associating the brand with a lifestyle or particular experience, therefore the advertising can be around the Brand rather than the product or service.
As I showed in my Marketing 2.0 article, consumers today are leery of traditional advertising. We understand that a television commercial is designed to get us to buy a product, and we balk at that.
Marketing is slightly sneakier at getting the medicine in consumers’ mouths. Marketing might include networking (building relationships) or blogging (giving away free information. Ahem). It’s more strategic in its tactics, but gets the same results: sales.
Public relations creates a buzz. Okay, we all know that press releases are another form of advertising. But they’re more digestible in that they present some tidbit of news that we as readers might be able to use. Likewise, my being on the 5 o’clock news may not have businesses banging down my door, but it does help establish me as someone to pay attention to.
Branding is the pinnacle. It’s the place you reach when your brand and/or product speaks for itself. Coca-Cola, while it does put out television commercials occasionally, doesn’t have to sell us on the benefits of its products. We know the brand, trust it, and will purchase it if we like the taste. They’ve done a great job at making the brand a part of our lives. It’s not a soft drink, it’s an experience. That’s the idea behind branding.
So where do your efforts fall? You may never have considered that question. It’s fine to use all four concepts, or a combination of a few. Just be aware of how you’re reaching your intended audience.