What is the difference between public relations and product or service promotion?

Marketing is part science and part art, but it does involve some technical terms that should be known and understood. For example, too many people use the terms �marketing� and �advertising� interchangeably, but this is incorrect. In the same way, it�s much too common getting concepts like �public relations� mixed up with �product promotion�. Those are not the same!

To put an end to this confusion, we�ve prepared this article explaining exactly what each term means. Read on and your understanding of these words will be clear.
Public Relations is how your business is perceived

As the term itself suggests, �public relations� focuses on how the company relates with the public. A business relies on this communication method to adjust how their image is perceived in the market; this includes both the audience they�re trying to reach as well as the public in general. A public relations campaign can rely on different techniques besides mere press releases; it should aim to interact with the community as well as taking a stand on public matters that relate to the area of operations. A successful public relations campaign should manage to push forward the accomplishments and contributions of a company, in order to reinforce a positive perception by potential clients.�It is a good idea to choose a firm that specialises in your industry, such as Vantage PR for Technology Public Relations, or Push PR for Fashion Public Relations.
Marketing is what you call your master plan

This is how you should think of marketing: as the master plan behind your every business strategy � from development to communication and ultimately selling. As such, you should realise that �marketing� is a broader term that encompasses all the other terms discussed in this article. Some people seem to assume marketing is mostly intuition and guesswork, but it really isn�t; marketing is more science than art, as it�s based on extensive research. It bridges the gap between your potential clients and your business � which is done by identifying target clients and development communication strategies to reach them, and ultimately make them want to purchase a product or service. This work constitutes what is called a �marketing plan�, which outlines a mix of techniques meant to be used for promotion.

Promotion involves taking action to communicate

Whereas marketing is essentially an exercise that hinges around understanding the market and planning accordingly, promotion is the main action plan. This plan necessarily involves a marketing mix comprising different aspects such as product, distribution channels, market research and budget. The actual plan for promotion can vary widely depending on the type of business, its size and current goals. For example, a small business looking to improve sales may focus on direct sales leaflets, media space from local newspapers and social media � whereas a big company may instead focus on purchasing media space on national television or organizing big events to increase brand awareness. Promotion of a business often covers two angles: public relations (getting people to appreciate your brand) and product promotion (getting people to appreciate your product).

Advertising is paying to spread a message

If you can�t put your finger on what advertising is exactly, think of it this way: advertising is paying to communicate a message. This involves getting advertising space in a media channel, which can be as diverse as a newspaper or magazine, TV or radio ad, internet adverts, local advertising, and so forth. The media used for advertising is planned carefully in the marketing mix, where a budget is allotted for promotion. When the time comes to actually pay for advertising space, a lot of preliminary work should have been done to determine the best course of investment. Effective advertising should do more than try to sell a product: it should also take the opportunity to establish a brand by conveying the intangible qualities that go together with a product.