Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is it Marketing, Promotion or Advertising?

In the years I've been in business I realize that people are using words without understanding what they mean. In some instances, it's not understanding what they need. Case in point is what are marketing, promotion and advertising? If you're a business, it's different ways to communicate that you have something to sell. If you're a nonprofit, it's the means to let people know you offer a social service.

Advertising is a message placed in the media that you paid for. You know that people listen, read or watch a particular TV show, blog, radio station or website. So you pay to air an infomercial or buy the front inside page of a magazine. You say eveyone knows that but not true. Some people confuse advertsing with marketing. This may happen because there are elements of marketing in the bought space. Marketing is anything used to induce a sale or reward a sale.

Marketing is keeping your office clean; it's offering refreshments to your customer while she decides on a hairstyle and it's giving a rebate for buying a big-ticket item now rather than later. Marketing communication is the skillful use of words to conjure images and bring out emotions. Some marketing communication is worn from overuse. For example, "I'm not trying to rush you; it's just that I'm walking to the closet now and can bring the shoes back with me." I tried this trick at a bazaar. I kept asking this woman, "Put the dress in the bag?" She was pleased that the dresses were only twenty dollars. I had placed three dresses in the bag after the chief vendor had bagged the first dress.

Promotion, or public relations, is visibility and brand recognition through FREE message placement in the media. The key to placement is news worthiness or notoriety. Nonprofits have an easier time with placement than businesses because they are offering a free or low cost needed service. The trouble is many nonprofits don't submit press releases. Businesses are sweating for PR; it's free advertising. I was approached by a diamond jeweler to get a story in a newspaper about his beautiful rings. After some questioning to find a plausible news angle, I had to tell him that the newspaper in question would want the jeweler to buy advertising space. The jeweler was frustrated by this because he knew of another business that had a story in the newspaper. I pointed out that the other business did community service and held a free business class. These activities were seen as newsworthy. After all, the media stays in existence through advertising. Advertising is bought because many people like a type of story.

The ideal situation is finding the right balance between advertising, marketing and promotion to keep the sales coming. Advertising is necessary. There's no getting around it. If you can develop good will from marketing--offering a discount, doing free delivery--do it.

There are people who still say that what I've written is stale. I say that there are too many people who don't know or haven't got the terms straight in their minds.

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At February 18, 2010 at 10:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, just want to say hi. I'm new here.


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