Sure, They Are Related ... But Each Serves a Different Function

You hear the terms "marketing," "public relations" and "advertising" talked about all the time. But, they seem to mean the same thing sometimes ... it can be very confusing, especially for small or solo-businesses owner. So, in this article, I hope to clear things up.

Technically, advertising is a promotional activity that you pay for. It includes ads placed in various media, such as bill boards, e-zines and radio. Advertising is where you pay someone to put your message in their space.

Marketing encompasses all promotional activities that aim to gain clients or get customers to buy. It can include advertising, newsletters, mailings and more. Marketing can also be considered a mindset, and without it, your business does not exist.

Both marketing and advertising cost money and have the goal of making money. However, there are ways to market your business for low or no cost. These would be promotional activities outside of advertising.

Public Relations
Although public relations can make you money, its underlying goal is to save money. Public relations' goal is to build relationships with target markets and to make sure they stay on a good standing with the company or organization.

What gets confusing these days is that these functions, once very clearly separate, are now experiencing such an overlap in technique and purpose that they've really become merely nuances of the same over-arching activity, usually called marketing.

So, when you create or tweak your business marketing plan, you should remember to include all three types of activities. This will make your plan more balanced, efficient and successful.

Author's Bio: 

Carma Spence-Pothitt has more than 20 years experience in marketing and public relations and holds a Master's degree from what U.S. News & World Report called the number one public relations graduate program in the nation. For more tips and advice like this, visit her blog, The Women's Business Gallery, and pick up a copy of her special report, The ART of Business, at