When you appraise your marketing plan, what do you see? Do you have a clear plan in place that enables you to fully reach your target audience? Are you giving your consumers information that is relevant?

All of these questions can be addressed when brands have a clear plan for advertising, public relations and marketing. Therein lies the million dollar question though: What’s the difference between the three?

Public relations are a good place to start. As a business owner, you should be able to use networking opportunities to create successful public relations with your consumers before they even know anything about your product. Public relations stand apart from all other elements of your brand strategy because it is the most direct way you can communicate with your target audience.

This is where the face of your company takes advantage of the local Chamber of Commerce events and community engagements in order to spread news the old fashion way. Your public relations plan encompasses all of the ways you plan to have personal communication with your consumers and direct conversations through which you are able to give out information about your brand.

Marketing is when you take your public relations plan a step further. In order to have a successful marketing plan, you must do research. Find out who your target audience is and where they are most likely to receive and interact with information. It is also important to learn how they want to give you feedback and how you are going to give them reasons why they should continue being a loyal customer.

Marketing is promotion for your brand that is made effective by researching demographics, habits and customer preferences, which all help to create a tailor-made plan that will reach your desired consumers. Your marketing plan is going to be worth the work you put into it when you take advantage of all the avenues available to you. Take your powerful brand message and then flush it out through ways that are proven to work, including social media, a content-rich website and creative blog.

Finally, how do you differentiate the final tool in your marketing arsenal? After you have introduced yourself to your target audience and learned about your consumers and how to best communicate with them using public relations and marketing, you get to flex your creative muscles to give your consumers something to remember. Think of advertising as the vehicle through which your marketing plan and public relations efforts are driven to your customers. Whether through television ads, newspapers or online, advertising is the age old way to get noticed.

These tools are in fact all different, but they are all universal ways that you can communicate your brand message to the people who need to hear it. Understand how they are different but use them all to create a cohesive plan to market your brand effectively.

Jen Herron
Director of Client Acquisition

Jen Herron is the Director of Client Acquisition at SJC Marketing, where she works closely with clients to implement effective marketing strategies and create original content.