Does Marketing Public Relations differ from Public Relations?
What is Marketing Public Relations?
Marketing public relations (MPR) combines both marketing and public relations techniques to create an awareness about a product or service. The focus is thus more on products and services than on creating a favorable image for the business. Some scholars perceive MPR to be part of the promotional mix.
The use of public relations techniques to create an awareness of a product or service adds credibility and trust to the message thereby complementing marketing techniques. The reality is that is increasingly more difficult to reach the right target audience because of media fragmentation and the rise of social media. Especially on the Internet MPR has become a powerful field since online communication is integrated and there is no clear distinction between advertising, public relations and marketing techniques. But social media has become more about relationship building than sales, and MPR techniques are therefore not the most suitable in this context.
MPR is now acknowledged as a new Discipline
After many years of criticism, MPR is finally increasingly acknowledged as a separate discipline which adds value to marketing and public relations activities. The pioneer of MPR, Tom Harris, has played a major role in making MPR more prominent. Not only do MPR techniques add credibility to messages, but the business's brand is enhanced and repositioned which lead to increased sales. Credibility increases trust and trust creates loyal customers. MPR is now also considered as a full element of the promotional mix which during an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) campaign can add value to creating an awareness about a product or service when used with direct marketing, advertising, sales promotion, the Internet, to name but a few.
Some examples of where MPR techniques can add more credibility to sales messages:
- Product demonstrations
- Media tours
- Surveys and speeches
- Celebrity product endorsements
- Online communication
- Press conferences about new products or services
- Social responsibility.
MPR has a role to play when it comes to products and services as also acknowledged by numerous scholars. However, since the focus is more sales driven, its techniques might not be suitable for an environment where businesses should rather foster relationships with customers such as in social media.
Harris, TL. 1991. The marketer's guide to PR: how today's companies are using the new public relations to gain a competitive edge: New York: Wiley.
Harris, TL. 1998. Value-Added Public Relations: The Secret Weapon of Integrated Marketing: Chicago: McGraw-Hill.
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