Disadvantages of Public Relations
While public relations holds many advantages for marketers, there are also concerns when using this promotional technique. First, while public relations uses many of the same channels as advertising, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and Internet, it differs significantly from advertising in that marketers do not have direct control over whether a message is delivered and where it is placed for delivery. For instance, a marketer may spend many hours talking with a magazine writer, who is preparing an industry story, only to find that their company is never mentioned in the article.
Second, while other promotional messages are carefully crafted and distributed as written through a pre-determined placement in a media vehicle, public relations generally conveys information to a member of the news media (e.g., reporter) who then recrafts the information as part of a news story or feature. Thus, the final message may not be precisely what the marketer planned.
Third, while a PR campaign has the potential to yield a high return on promotional expense, it also has the potential to produce the opposite if the news media feels there is little value in running a story pitched (i.e., suggested via communication with the news outlet) by the marketer.
Fourth, with PR there is always a chance that a well devised news event or release will get “bumped” from planned media coverage because of a more critical breaking news story, such as wars, severe weather or serious crime.
Finally, in some areas of the world the impact of traditional news outlets is fading forcing public relations professionals to scramble to find new ways to reach their target markets.