When discussing Public relations, we usually encounter the reality of not many people understanding what PR really is and what PR Companies actually do. There is also confusion as to what Marketing really stands for and what is the connection between Public relations and Marketing.
We, therefore, need to try and define those two terms in order to grasp their meaning.
Marketing and PR – what are those?
Marketing is, simply put, a consumer-driven business concept that aims at satisfying consumer needs by providing a product or service tailor-made for the target market or audience.
It uses 4 elements of the marketing mix – 4P’s which are moulded to fit and satisfy a certain market. One of those P’s is Promotion which incorporates Public Relations.
Public relations is the activity aimed at creating a good or favourable public image of a company, its activities, and finally – products.
The aim of Public relations is to maintain good relations with the audience, market, or a customer without directly trying to sell products or services. It tries to create and maintain an interest and a positive view of the company and thus its business activities and products.
So, PR can be viewed as part of the marketing activity and marketing concept of a company. It provides support to other promotional and sales activities of the company by creating and selling the company – its image.
Public relations companies – what do they do?
Public Relations has, with time, separated to become service by itself. Frequent changes in marketing and a continual need to adapt and learn prevented many companies from doing their own marketing and PR. It turned out that far more effective PR could be provided by hiring specialized companies.
Those companies provide PR as their primary service and are specialized in performing PR trough many different channels. These companies develop a continuing professional relationship with media, online media and influencers that can help to disperse the wanted message through.
Buy developing credible content and dispersing it through the right channels they create a favourable relationship between the company and the public, stakeholders increasing the reach of the company at a reasonable cost.
Analyzing and planning is crucial to quality PR activity/ a business meeting
The number of PR Companies is on the rise. The offer of PR services is always rising, especially with the changes in media used to disperse the message.
The diversity of new media, social media and other communication channels today has increased the competition in the PR market. These companies are forced to prepare and develop complex and more effective marketing strategies for their services to come up on top.
Basic requirements – what a strategy must incorporate?
There are always differences in opinions about the precise definition and elements of the marketing strategy. Usually, there is confusion about the differences between a strategy and a plan in marketing. Without getting into the discussion we can say that Marketing strategy mirrors the core value of the PR company in the long run and incorporates the key value of the company’s brand. In comparison, a marketing plan represents the plan of marketing activities prepared and implemented within certain marketing initiatives.
So, what would be the crucial elements and defining points of a Marketing strategy?
The Marketing strategy entails a couple of key elements:
Market research and segmentation
The marketing strategy can only exist if we understand an define our market. Research and market segmentation in groups of customers according to their needs is the basis for creating a successful marketing strategy.
On the bases of fully understanding the product, PR service in this case, market research can define different target groups and niches it can address through its strategy. This is the bases for quality segmentation and positioning of a company on the market.
Selection of the target market or niche and market positioning
Quality market research combined with precise analysis using several marketing tools can then allow a PR company to target certain market segments. The analysis of all of the external factors (PEST analysis) and companies Strengths and weaknesses (SWOT) will reveal the best course of action regarding the market.
The analysis can give us insight into which market segment (or segments) should be targeted to achieve success. This analysis can also provide the answer as to how a company should try to position itself on that chosen market segment.
Marketing plan, Promotional strategy, and tactics
With the target segment defined, the company can then try to define a suitable marketing plan, promotional strategy, tactics, and activities.
The promotional activities will depend on the type of customer the company wants to address and the message it wants to communicate. The key is to create a brand and increase its visibility and awareness.
The company then has full disposal of tools and methods to relay its message and communicate it with its market/customers, stakeholders, and the wider community.
The creation of a marketing strategy and tactics also entails the creation of a measuring and control mechanism designed to measure effectiveness and make corrections to maximize results.
The adaptation of marketing strategies means having to change the way of thinking, direction, and action. This change can be a small one, but it can also be significant – almost like the change, you would make when moving to Miami after living in NYC.
The success of any marketing strategy is centred around its continual improvement based on measuring its effectiveness and achieve results. How to make your strategy successful:
- Focus on the market and the needs of your customers. Adapt to their needs and exploit existing market potential before expanding to new customer groups
- Focus on market niches
- respect and satisfy 20% of customers pulling in 80% of profits
- measure, analyze and correct your actions
- avoid assuming the market needs (research) and don’t ignore the competition (it doesn’t sleep)
- don’t rely on just one customer group
- work on creating new value for customers (don’t be complacent)
Tree of success requires teamwork and planning to thrive
To conclude, PR has evolved from a Marketing Mix element to a completely separate service provided by a vast number of companies.
Its supply is now fueling competition to the extent that PR companies have to prepare and develop whole marketing strategies and plans in order to stay ahead of the competition and attract new customers.
Their activities are leading to the advancements in PR that cannot be foreseen. Will have to wait and see what the future holds for both PR and Marketing.