There is a fine line between public relations, advertising, and marketing. The lines are indistinct because all three entities sell something are related in some ways. The goals are the same - to influence the perceptions, actions, or behaviours of a group of people. The difference, according to Seitel (2001), is the use of different tactics for achieving their pre-determined goal. .
Raleigh Pinsky, author of The Zen of Hype: An Insider's Guide to the Publicity Game, offers these easy to understand distinctions:.
• If you display a sign announcing that the circus is in town, that's advertising. .
• If you display the sign on an elephant and parade the animal through town, that's promotion. .
• If you planned the elephant's walk, that's marketing.
• If the elephant carrying the sign tramples through the ornamental garden of the mayor and the newspaper reports it, that's publicity. .
• If you are able to get the mayor to laugh about the incident and ride in the circus parade with no hard feelings, that's public relations. .
Raleigh Pinsky, The Zen of Hype: An Insider's Guide To The Publicity Game, Inc., New York, NY, 1998.
Marketing involves coming up with strategies to influence customers to buy. Its primary objective is selling an organization's products, whereas public relations attempts to sell the organization itself. Advertising also generally aims to sell products through paid means. .
Indeed, this example makes evident the interrelationship between these three entities. Advertising and promotion obviously play a strong role in support of marketing. Because marketing covers promotion, and because public relations and advertising are promotional in nature, they are often linked together as "marketing communications". In other words, advertising and public relations are the tools and techniques used to support the marketing and sales objective of a business (Wilcox et al, 1992).