Public Relations Tutorial

public relations tutorial

Of the four promotional mix options available to marketers, public relations (PR) is probably the least understood and, consequently, often receives the least amount of attention. Many marketers see public relations as only handling rudimentary communication activities, such as issuing press releases and responding to questions from the news media. But in reality, in a time when customers are inundated with thousands of promotional messages everyday, public relations offers powerful methods for cutting through the clutter.

In this part our highly detailed Principles of Marketing Tutorials, we see how public relations is growing in importance as a marketing tool and is now a critical component in helping marketers reach their objectives. We will see that PR uses a variety of methods to enhance the relationship between an organization and its target audience. And we will show how, when handled correctly, PR can allow a marketer’s message to stand out compared to other promotional methods.

Promotion Mix

Marketers have at their disposal four major methods of promotion, which taken together comprise the promotion mix. On this page, a basic definition of each method is offered while in the next page a comparison of each method based on the characteristics of promotion is presented.

Advertising

This form of promotion involves non-personal paid promotions often using mass media outlets to deliver the marketer’s message. While historically advertising has been a one-way form of communication with little feedback opportunity for the customer experiencing the advertisement, rapid developments in computer technology and digital networks are presenting customers with more options to provide their opinions on the ads they experience.

Sales Promotion

The promotional method involves the use of special short-term techniques, often in the form of incentives, to encourage customers to respond or undertake some activity. For instance, the use of retail coupons with expiration dates requires customers to act while the incentive is still valid.

Public Relations

Also referred to as publicity, this type of promotion uses third-party sources, and particularly the news media and those with a strong online presence, to offer a favorable mention of the marketer’s organization or products without direct payment to the third-party sources.

Personal Selling

As the name implies, this form of promotion involves personal contact between company representatives and those who have a role in purchase decisions (e.g., make the decision, such as consumers, or have an influence on a decision, such as members of a company buying center). Often the contact occurs face-to-face, over the telephone, or via online video conferencing.

Each of these methods will be covered in much greater detail in later tutorials.