Where Does PR Fit in Marketing Communications?

Where does PR fit in marketing communications?

According to Gartner, ‘Marketing communications (also known as marcom) is the messages and media that marketers use to communicate with target markets. Examples of marketing communications include traditional advertising, direct marketing, social marketing, presentations and sponsorships’.

Marketing communications can build brand awareness, create loyalty among customers, and generate leads, convert into sales, and grow your business. This is through methods such as content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), and email marketing.

An important aspect of any marketing communications is creating interesting content relatable to your target audience. There’s little point in writing content about your product or service if it’s not interesting or useful to your target market. Examples of this include blog posts, eBooks, infographics, case studies, and how-to guides.

Just a quick word about how-to guides. These are in high demand because they provide step-by-step instructions that readers can follow to learn something new, solve a problem or accomplish a task. They have added value in that they are usually free to find online in text, video, audio, interactive or PDF format.

Something to consider for any marketing communications plan is the inclusion of evergreen content, i.e. not time-sensitive. This is especially important in marketing communications because it can attract new readers again and again with very little or any maintenance. Examples of evergreen content include product reviews, top tips, and listicles.

Using The Right Channels

Channels mean the places or platforms where marketing communications are distributed. Commonly, these may include television, radio, websites, social media, blogs, email, newspapers, and magazines. Not all channels will be effective in reaching everyone, so it’s important to consider which channels will work best for your target market.

It’s also important to consider whether your target market is active online. For example, if you’re targeting a younger demographic, they’re likely to be more engaged with social media than those who are older. As such, you would need to focus more of your marketing efforts on social media channels.

The same principle applies when using other channels such as websites, email and newspapers. If you have a good understanding of your target market, it will be easier to tailor your marketing communications accordingly.

Now that we have summarized marketing communications, let’s look at public relations and the important role it plays.

Team Work Makes The Dream Work

You may think that marketing communications sound remarkably similar to public relations in that they both aim to reach target audiences with brand messaging. Except there is one major difference.

Public relations is a tool of marketing just like advertising or social media and marketing decides the channel, platform to use and, importantly, provides the funding for these activities.

Not all the time, but most of the time, marketing is the big boss and PR reports into this function.

PR should not be confused with advertising as its intent is to generate awareness and interest in a company or product by securing positive media coverage in print, online and broadcast outlets that reach target audiences.

Sometimes the PR role is more behind the scenes in that rather than the content being ‘audience facing’ (as with a blog post), it’s more ‘media facing’ (such as a press release).

Other times, PR is used to help create a splash by generating media coverage through a press event such as a product launch or demonstration, with the aim of this coverage then being picked up by other news outlets.

See our blog post on event management tips here

Credibility is essential in any business and PR helps to build this by creating relationships with the media, thought leaders, and other important influencers. These relationships are built on trust and mutual respect and take time to develop.

There are many ways in which PR can support marketing communications objectives and, as with any tool, it’s important to use it correctly to get the best results.

In Conclusion

Marketing communications is a broad term that covers all the messages and media that marketers used to communicate with target markets. Public relations is one tool of marketing communications used to build credibility and establish trust with the media and target audiences.

The underlying aspect of any marketing communications is that it must be compelling to attract attention, interesting enough to be read or watched, and shareable to reach a wider audience.

In this blog post we have described some instances of marketing communications, but we’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg because there are many more. Every way a customer can engage with a brand is an opportunity for marketing communications. These include Augmented Reality, virtual reality, QR codes, streaming, social media, trade events, workshops and conferences.

The bottom line is that marketing communications is an important way to reach potential and current customers, build brand awareness and credibility, generate leads and sales, and grow your business. By working hand-in-hand with public relations, you can create a well-rounded and effective marketing communications strategy.

Eight Public Relations is a PR agency in Hong Kong. We help technology and legal clients enhance their profile through public relations, media relations, content development, corporate reputation, thought leadership programmes, and digital communications. 





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