Small Business Marketing Communications

by Jim Smith on July 31, 2017 · 0 comments

Marketing Communications

Marketing Communications








Marketing Communications focuses on any way a business communicates a message to its desired market, or the market in general. A marketing communications tool can be anything from: advertising, personal selling, direct marketing, sponsorship, communication, promotion and public relations.  In this article, we will concentrate on the ends of this spectrum, Advertising and Public Relatons (PR).

PR versus Advertising

The art or science of Public Relations (PR) involves generating favorable publicity for your business and knowing what kind of story is likely to be printed or broadcast. There are a wide variety of existing media: newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, there are publications of professional associations, direct-mail lists, on-site promotional events, and today, the Internet. PR optimizes good news and forestalls bad news; and when disaster strikes, PR helps your business assess the situation, organize the response to minimize damage, and collect and present the right information to the media.

Advertising on the other hand is the activity of attracting public attention to your product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media Advertising employs techniques and practices to bring your products and services to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way. In addition to newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media, advertising media include direct mail, billboards and posters, transit advertising, the Internet, and promotional items such as matchbooks or calendars. When your small business advertises, you attempt to choose media that are favored by your business’s target audience.

Like the old adage says, “ you pay for Advertising and you pray for PR. Or you can say that advertising places advertisements while PR places news.

Credibility of PR versus that of Advertising

With PR your business can tell its story through third-party outlets, primarily the media. People believe what they read in newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, what they hear on the radio and what they see on television and the Internet. People are skeptical of what they see in an advertisement. You may reach your intended mass audience with enough frequency and still not increase sales of your product or service. The emphasis of PR is not on reach or frequency, but the credibility of the medium and the quality of the placement. A published article or a broadcast story on radio and television is more credible than the most well placed advertisement. Consumers will trust a report on the morning news channel describing why certain cars are having braking failures more than they will a slick advertisement from the cars’ manufacturer claiming that their cars are safe.

PR is non-intrusive, Advertising is invasive

Advertising can be perceived as an imposition – the harder the sell, the harder your prospect resists the sales message. Whereas public relation produces results subtly by presenting your message through an objective third party – the media.

PR Is Cost-Effective, Advertising is Costly

Television or glossy magazine advertisements are slick and very expensive and way outside the typical small business budget. Also, even though a commercial may have entertainment value, it doesn’t cause prospects to purchase the product. On the other hand, a good news feature in the local or regional newspaper can build credibility, position your business as a leader and build awareness without costing a penny.

PR has longer life than does Advertising

Advertising is very short-lived whereas, a well-placed story can reap benefits for an extended period. Your strategy can be to place a story in one publication and move it up the ladder to another magazine or newspaper, or transfer it to another medium such as radio or television or the Internet. A story can also be sent down the ladder. For example, an article in a regional paper often later appears in smaller local publications, further enhancing the story’s effectiveness.

In summary, when determining whether to spend your small business marketing communications budget on public relations or advertising, consider the importance of credibility, intrusiveness, cost-effectiveness and a positive business image. Experience shows that in the eyes and minds of your target market, what they see and read in the media is more impactful and credible than what they see and read in advertisements.

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