AdLab: Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations: What’s the difference?

AdLab: Advertising, PR & Marketing

At last night’s AdLab “Advertising, PR and Marketing – what the heck is the difference?” attendees got to reflect upon these areas and listen to the star panel listed below.

Virginia Bates (Partner & Director of Promotion Planning, Eric Mower + Associates), Lisa Hackett (Vice President/Senior Marketing Communications Manager, First Niagara), Katie McKenna (Communications/Public Relations Manager, Tops Markets) and moderating Carolyn Human (Public Relations & Media Relations at Carolyn Human Communications)

The panel discussed the nitty gritty differences between Advertising, PR and Marketing and how to employ each to your benefit. One of our members, Liam O’MaHony, recapped the event perfectly on his blog.

Buffalo Ad Club ~ MarComm Interdisciplinary Panel Summary
By Member Liam O’MaHony @LiamTOMahony

I attended my first Buffalo Ad Club event last night at Templeton Landing near the Naval Park in downtown. It was great to see the waterfront before sunset after seeing brown terrain and whirling dust storms in the desert of the Southeast Valley of Phoenix Metro for the last several years. There were about 52 attendees to observe a three-member panel (Lisa Hackett from First NiagaraKatie McKenna from Tops and Virginia Batesfrom Eric Mower + Associates) discussion moderated by Carolyn Human, who was sharp and maintained an efficient flow for the 90-minute program.

Incoming Ad Club president Charlie Fashana kicked off the event by announcing the upcoming Ad Weekfestivities, including the Aaron Draplin address on October 11 and a presentation on copyright by Jim Cavanaugh on October 12. I served on the Phoenix Ad Club board for two years, so I was curious to learn more about my hometown chapter.

Per my M.O. of recapping professional development programs I attend, a synthesized summary of my takeaway notes from the panel follows:

  1. The primary guiding topic for the panel was “Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations: What’s the difference?” It is apparent that most of us in these ultimately inter-related industries are fairly clear on the accepted definitions and normal functions of each of the these three core areas of practice. Yet, the digital demands of online communications continue to alter the de jure definitions, as illustrated by PRSA’s recent effort to streamline the elevator answer to the commonplace layman query of “What is PR?”
  2. Another fact that many of us have faced is that the pre-digital era of working within strictly silo-enforced roles and functions is mostly an antiquated notion in many sectors. The days of the various in-house disciplines operating on an island or in a regimented assembly line process to producing company collateral, promotions and messaging to stakeholders evaporated with interoffice memos, dial-up and faxing. Many people need to not only be aware of how the other side of the house operate, but also mustdevelop a working knowledge of different services to be versatile and transferable for the benefits of bringing greater value to their organizations and augment their own career progression.
  3. Last summer I attempted to breakdown the alphabet soup of the disciplinary spectrum that I called the MarComm Matrix when speaking with the Arizona State University PRSSA Chapter. Here is that recap.
  4. It is not an excuse to say that you don’t know or aren’t really aware what the other service groups are doing. Find out. Collaborate a little more. Contribute to plans and campaigns earlier where feasible.
  5. With the overlapping and convergence of these disciplines, comes the ongoing territorial battle over which department should manage social media application. Bates noted that the platform space can and must be shared in a fashion that the varied messages and content can occupy different areas of applications. Just as in the editorial and advertising balance that you see in print, a wall, blog, feed, board or channel can effectively accommodate a contest, earned media link and ad message. It comes down to efficient project management and assessing priorities to ensure the strategy, aesthetics and objectives are aligned with the potentially overwhelming content queue.

Check out the rest of the recap on Liam’s blog.