PR vs. Marketing vs. Publicity vs. Advertising. War of the Words

Words matter. But does it matter in the public relations (PR) and marketing business?

If it matters anywhere, it matters in marketing. We have had many meetings when clients say something like, “we need some publicity for this new initiative.” To us, “publicity” means media relations — working with reporters to get articles and TV segments for the client. To the client, it could mean taking out an ad. In one case, the client was referring to billboards.

So it is important to define terms and everybody be on the same page. That’s why organizations hire PR / marketing firms to create strategies. But when talking with one another, defining what terms mean, and what makes the most effective marketing sense, can make all the difference in the world.