When asked about the difference between marketing and public relations, I often try to come up with elaborate comparisons and metaphors. If you really want to boil it down, though, the difference is fairly simple. Marketing is you talking to your customers while public relations involves influencing them.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of talking in public relations too. However, when you’re marketing to a demographic you’re essentially speaking to the crowd without listening. It’s a one way street. Public relations allows you to influence customers by getting into real deep discussions with them which can last much longer and lead to more sales.
So why is influencing so important to your business? Is there really that much of a difference to talking TO people as opposed to WITH them?
Let’s put out two scenarios. The first one is a company “MegaSpice Inc.” that’s come up with a wonderful marketing campaign. It’s witty, intelligent, and silly enough to capture everyone’s attention. It gets pretty moderate attention around the country.
Each person who views the commercials and other media in the campaign laughs, nods, and moves on. Some of them undoubtedly buy the product due to how great the commercials are. However, while there’s a few people who show the commercial to their friends, that’s where it ends.
Influencing your customers, though, can go much further than this. In scenario two, “Spice World” focuses more on a strong PR campaign. They realize the importance of real interaction with their customers and the public and work on building up their social media, blogging, and general openness in the community.
This may not bring immediate satisfaction to the company’s bank account. It could take a long time to see any results. However, when your fans see what great things you’re doing and learn about what drives you, they’ll their friends. Those friends will tell their friends, and so on and so forth. Eventually you have thousands of fans who will be around for a long time.
Tips on Influence
Want to do better when it comes to influencing your followers, fans, and customers? While it sometimes seems like a total mystery as to what works, often it’s the simplest tips that help the most. This is because it’s usually the simplest things that capture people’s attention.
One big thing to keep in mind is to avoid being dishonest. Customers will know if you don’t mean what you say. If you hate spices but insist that’s going to be the next big seller, it won’t come off as genuine. This is one of the worst things you can do as it may do the exact opposite of what you want – it could chase everyone away.
Another thing to keep in mind is to treat your customers with intelligence. They’re so used to businesses treating them like cattle with obnoxious marketing campaigns that a well-done PR campaign can be a breath of fresh air to them. If you really listen to them instead of only pretending to the influence over their buying habits can be huge.
What do you think is the most important aspect of a PR campaign when it comes to influence?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/beginnersguide.html