Stop, Collaborate, and LISTEN
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Stop, Collaborate, and LISTEN

  • April 29, 2013

PR pros are often asked “what’s the difference between PR, marketing and advertising?”

In school this is exactly what we were taught:

MARKETING = makes money
ADVERTISING = spends money
PR = saves money

I’ve often seen this graphic used as well:


There are so many other ways to differentiate these fields, of course, but these are pretty simple differentiators that most people seem to understand easily.

When I first learned about the differences between PR/marketing/advertising, these things did NOT exist:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Podcasts

When I learned this, we were still faxing PSAs and press releases, circulating hard copy newsletters, and learning about blogs and YouTube.

I’m going to drop a total cliche, but yes – TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

This means that the things I learned about PR have also changed. Sure – the fundamentals are there (researching, action planning, communicating and evaluating), but the channels in how to disseminate messages to your audiences have changed the game entirely.

The constant is this – two way communication and building meaningful relationships with your brand.

As PR and other communications professions evolve, there are three things that should always remain constant. In the words of Vanilla Ice:


Quit developing your strategic plans and activities without any research or insights.


Find out who you need to be talking to in order to get the insights you need to properly develop your messages and promotional campaigns. Get deeper, richer and more meaningful information to enhance your value proposition and build relationships. If you have to partner with someone who can help you gather those insights – DO IT.


So many people make the mistake of pushing messages out to audiences instead of conversing with them and pulling valuable insights. The majority of people want to be engaged and involved in the brands they support, so it’s important to develop a listening strategy and learn more about the audiences you’re targeting with your marketing messages.

Listening means a variety of things – it can be observing comments and feedback on social media, it can be deploying marketing research in the form of a survey, poll or focus group, or it can be creating an advisory council to help steer your marketing messages, and identify the best channels to communicate them.

So, maybe I’ll take it one step further…


For your listening enjoyment: