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Marketing and PR: The Hare and the Tortoise

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A classic metaphor of how winning a race isn’t necessarily about speed: The Hare and the Tortoise. This story taught us, even as children, that fastest isn’t always the way to win. Besides being a great life lesson, it is also a great metaphor for explaining the difference between marketing and public relations (PR).

Both marketing and PR fall under the communications banner however they each serve a different purpose and can deliver a different impact and result. By understanding these differences and engaging the best approach to meet your objectives, you will have a better chance of achieving your goals, maximising your overall communication efforts.

Short-term vs long-term

The hare, or in this case, marketing, can be implemented quickly and produce fast results; while the tortoise, PR, works best with a slow and steady approach.

The quick fire: Marketing takes place on channels owned by a business e.g. website, enewsletters and social media platforms; or paid for by a business e.g. advertising and search engine marketing. Marketing allows a business to have control over the messaging and timing and the results can be more easily measured with hard numbers such as products sold, profits made, website visits, and social media engagement able to be tracked.

The slow burn: PR moves more slowly and is most successful when it is part of a long-term strategy to raise awareness of your company, cause or product, or build profiles of key personnel within an organisation. PR is earned media and it can be more challenging to gain organic coverage. PR can be measured by clippings and coverage views however the better way to measure the results is by key message inclusion and the audience who reads that publication to determine if it is being seen by the right people, not the most people.

Selling vs Persuading

Marketing’s purpose is to sell your products and services to new and existing audiences. This is why marketing can be weighted with greater value as it delivers clear results, however, PR can help marketing efforts go further.

PR is not about selling your products and services, it’s about building your brand and creating and maintaining a positive reputation. This is done through third parties (customers, media) saying how good your brand is rather than you saying it, which carries a lot more weight and ultimately has greater value.

Both marketing and PR perform best when they are working cohesively side-by-side, one is not better than the other. Both deliver great benefits to your business and support long-term growth when key messages, objectives and strategy are aligned.

Use your marketing channels to sell your products and services; while focusing your PR efforts on raising brand awareness and building loyalty to establish a stronger foundation for the future.

Want to know how you can align your marketing and PR to get results now and into the future? Get in touch we’d be happy to help you integrate your communications strategy.