Friday, January 4, 2008

Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations. What's the difference Part II

This is the second of a three part series. The previous post dealt with Public Relations. The next will deal with Marketing.

As competition increases, the focus on marketing also increases. When I started working in marketing in the Caribbean 20 years ago, very few companies had marketing staff. Today, that's the exception rather than the rule. Unfortunately though, it is not always clear to non-marketers and some marketers alike what the function encompasses. Terms such as public relations, advertising and marketing are sometimes used interchangeably. When we do so, we omit to consider all the tools available to attract good customers.

This is an effort to provide some clarification.


When competition increased, companies started to try to explicitly convince buyers to buy their product. Up to quite recently accountants and lawyers in Curacao did not do so. Now they have started putting up advertising, telling us what they are good at. Soap manufacturers went down this path many decades ago. Banks started some 20 years ago and now are at it in full force.

Advertising is "any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor" (Armstrong, Kotler). It involves designing advertisements and campaigns and placing these on radio, TV, billboard, Internet, in the paper or magazines, etc. Some companies, "advertising agencies", are able to do everything following a well-thought out strategy. Others do part of the process. Graphic designers in principle just design an advertisement following the specific instruction of the advertiser/client. Copywriters just write a text following instructions of others. Independent photographers, video producers, etc. in principle also follow instructions of others. Their creative juices should be flowing within boundaries set by the client or determined by a strategy.

Marketing communication
Advertising and public relations are now often referred to as marketing communication.

(Sales) Promotion
The term "promotion" may cause confusion. It is conveniently used in the four marketing P's to denote everything that has to do with communicating with the client: advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales, customer service, and sales promotion.

However, if you want to use the terms correctly then (Sales) Promotion is "short-term incentives to encourage the purchase or the sale of a product or service" (Armstrong, Kotler). Think of sweepstakes, raffles, buy-one-get-one-free, give-aways, coupons, programs in which you save and get something later, etc. In Curacao we often call them "kampana" or "speshal".
Why are they used? Everybody already has a toothpaste. If you are introducing a new toothpaste you must convince the customer to leave his old toothpaste and buy yours. An incentive in the form of a gift, lower price, a free trial, etc. may do so. A good sales promotion always induces the customer to "ACT NOW" or its gone.

Read about Marketing in the next post.

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