A Quick Refresher Course in Marketing

My niece hit me up on Facebook last night with a most excellent request:

Uncle Jimmy-
Was hoping I could pick your brain for a moment? What would you say are the major differences between PR & marketing/advertising? Not in a technical sense, but rather, your opinion, as someone in PR. Nothing fancy or time consuming needed, just looking for your thoughts on the basic concept?

Here is my reply…

Hey Erin! Excellent question. Marketing is really the big umbrella under which PR and advertising (among a hundred other tactics) reside. So from a marketing perspective, we are addressing the market and business conditions that affect an organization. We are looking at the economy, competition, prospects, customers, influentials (such as the media or bloggers or associations) and other things to determine the climate for marketing a product, service or cause. At this level we are identifying challenges and opportunities and setting the measurable goals we want to achieve, as well as the timetables and budgets for achieving these goals.

Advertising and PR are two of the many strategized tactics that might be applied to help achieve those goals. Today, we tend to look at these tactics in terms of traditional and digital media, so on the one hand we consider options like print and broadcast advertising, publicity and media relations, direct mail and literature development (sometimes referred to as outbound marketing) and on the digital side we consider things like email marketing and social media and search engine optimization and online advertising (sometimes referred to as inbound marketing).

Of course, I am oversimplifying all of this for the purpose of general discussion, so please feel free to ask me specific questions. I am happy to talk about any and all of this in as much detail as you would like! Marketing is not rocket science; unfortunately many practitioners treat it as though there is no science involved whatsoever and that is not the case.


Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.