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Advertising vs. PR
in Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
J D Moore
|Copyright 2005 J
A great small business marketing strategy
includes a mix of tactics. Advertising and PR are two very
important tools that all small business owners need to be using
regularly. Many small businesses I talk to do one of the other,
but don't commit to doing both. Each has its strengths and
weaknesses and are complimentary to each other.
Business Advertising Strengths:
-The biggest advantage with
small business advertising is your complete control over the
message. You get to focus on whatever you want, write the text,
and choose the visuals. You ensure that your marketing message
-You control placement. You choose the
exact timing and media in which your advertising is placed. This
is a huge advantage because naturally you are going to choose to
place your ads where your target market is most likely to see
-You can repeat your messages over and over again.
Effective small business marketing incorporates a high degree of
repetition and consistency. Advertising can and should be run on
-With advertising, you (and your
budget) control your marketing saturation. You can run the same
ad across different publications serving the same market, run
matching Internet advertising, put an ad on the radio, do cable
TV, do outdoor advertising, etc. Ideally you need to be reaching
your target market at least 4 different ways for them to
costs money. Most small businesses don't have a huge budget for
marketing. Sometimes being creative can help defray costs.
Sometimes you can trade for advertising space. You may be able
to do co-op advertising.
-Small business advertising
needs to be very targeted to be effective. Sometimes the only
choices you have in your community are mass-market like
newspapers. You still need to advertise, but some of your
marketing dollars will be spent to advertise to people who don't
want or need what you're selling.
-Most small business
advertising stinks. I hate to say it, but it's true. Many
do-it-yourself advertisers don't understand that there are
advertising fundamentals that work. A good ad will always
out-pull a bad one. Here's my plug: If you can't invest the time
and money to learn how advertising REALLY works, get yourself a
small business marketing coach to help you build more effective
campaigns. It will be money well invested.
-It's FREE! OK, you might incur a very small charge if you hire
someone to write and distribute a press release for you, but
this is minimal. I think the reason why most small businesses
don't do PR is that they don't know how it's done. Again, get
some coaching, or pay someone to do it for you.
trusted more than advertising. If you read a review that says
that a new restaurant is the best thing in town, there's some
credibility there. We tend to assume that a person who is
writing an article is an expert, and that they are an
uninterested third party.
-You can distribute PR
globally. As long as what you are doing is actually interesting
globally, you can distribute your press releases globally. This
isn't necessarily as targeted as your advertising needs to be,
but you're not paying for editorial. By the way, never pay for
editorial, and don't advertise with media that promises to give
you editorial as long as you advertise. This is unethical and
transparent - and the credibility of the media will always be in
-You have no control over
what the press is actually going to write or say about you. They
may spell your name wrong, they may get some details wrong, they
may choose to focus on something you don't want to highlight. In
general this isn't a big issue, as long as they are saying good
things about you.
-PR tends to be single exposure. Unless
circumstances are really unusual, the press is not going to run
the same story over and over again. I have been involved with an
exception to that. I was doing something that corresponded with
a current event and the press came to me again and again over 4
weeks for TV interviews. This was pure timing. It's difficult to
engineer press like that without seeming mercenary.
-There is no guarantee that you're even going to get coverage. I
was called to do a TV interview once and rushed into the city to
meet the reporter and photographer. On my way in ,the reporter
called me on my cell phone to tell me they were pulling the
story because there was breaking news that they had to go cover.
Depending on what's going on you may get tons of press or none
You see that small business advertising and PR
are different things. You need them both, and you need to work
at both of them consistently. They are two important tools in
your small business marketing toolbox.
About the author:
J D Moore - Marketing Comet Does your small business marketing
stink? Let's fix it! http://marketingcomet.typepad.com