Jan 142009
 
Thursday Afternoon City Hall Wedding
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I just read a post in my Feedreader from Damien’s corporate portal, Mulley Communications, where he looks at the difference between marketing and PR — the former, he surmises, is akin to a “quick shag”, while the latter is more of a long term relationship….

I can see what he’s getting at, but to my mind PR — the building of relationships and reputation for a brand — is part and parcel of the bigger overall concept of marketing. Marketing encompasses pretty much everything from the inception of a new product or service (what does the market want, need, demand?), it’s design (to meet that want, need, demand), it’s promotion and sale, follow up support… everything! Including PR.

So yes, there are companies out there who subscribe to the “short-sharp shock” approach to marketing and to PR — snapshot advertising campaigns, a flurry of press releases / coverage for a new product or service… and then silence. There are also companies that understand the value of building long-term productive relationships with their customers, with influencers online and in traditional media, with society at large.

I think it’s probably more useful — borrowing Damiens relationship analogy — to compare businesses with people. There are those of us who perpetually lurch from one short-term relationship to the next, but have commitment issues when it comes to investing in a long-term relationship. They have plenty of fun, and can see great short-term results, but ultimately end up lonely and unfulfilled.

Then there are those who come to appreciate the value of building a relationship over time… of getting to know the subtle nuances of another person’s character, and yes, in some ways, even compromising a bit of our own to mesh more effectively and make that relationship work.

Of course most of us start our adult life in the former category… but over time, as we realise there’s more to life, we gradually see the value of commitment and long-term relationships. It’s an evolution — one that I think applies equally to businesses.

Short-sharp-shock marketing (including PR) is typical in the early stages of an organisation — it’s the old-way of getting the message out their in a blitzkreig of advertising and press coverage. Hammer home the message, build an audience. And then, silence, until the next campaign.

As the business grows (smart businesses, anyway) it begins to realise that there’s more to this equation… that it could be missing out on something much more rewarding and fulfilling. It realises that it needs to start listen to and interacting with its customers, to deliver more value, refine it’s offering. It needs to get over its commitment issues and engage in a long term relationship.

Call it marketing, call it PR, call it whatever you want — but if you want your business to become more than a one-night-stand get over your commitment issues and start engaging with your audience…. Woo them, before another suitor proposes and you lose them for good!

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  One Response to “Grown up Marketing….”

  1. hi Calvin,

    I agree with you on this one. Although it may be just some clarification over the wording. Most people see ‘marketing’ as ‘advertising’. Even people working in marketing still don’t seem to make the distinction. Advertising is probably a one night stand. Often there isn’t even another person in this relationship. But as you said, marketing is really about understanding and fulfilling the needs of customers, better than the folk around you. And this may or may not lead to advertising, PR or any one of the promotional mix.

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