Marcom v. PR — Handy list to help you avoid too much of one when you need the other

By Lauren Edwards

PR is sometimes misunderstood even by the executive who oversees it.

If a marketing VP has come from the sales, advertising or marcom side of house, he or she might be blocking positive PR results without realizing it. Marketing communications and PR are related, but their goals and success factors are quite different.

PR is like an interpreter who stands astride two subcultures, helping marketing teams get more of what they want from journalists. For more about the subculture of journalism, see last week’s post.

Below is an old handout from my days at A&R Partners (Thank you, Ron Kalb and Karen Molinari!), but it’s just as relevant today.

People used to find this very clarifying. I hope you will, too!

Goal Marcom’s goal is to capture marketshare

•   Sell products

•   Increase brand recognition

•   Capitalize on short‐term 

PR’s goal is to capture mindshare

·      Influence perceptions

·      Increase credibility

·      Create a buzz

·      Build long‐term relationships

Audience Customers, prospects Key influencers, opinion leaders, stakeholders, partners, investors, shareholders, general public
Tactics Ads – broadcast, print, online, billboards.

Collateral – brochures, datasheets, direct mail.

Events – Trade shows, conferences, seminars, webinars.

Channel marketing – sales and marketing tools aimed at resellers moving product.

Sponsorships – leveraging high‐ visibility events and/or venues with target audiences.

Corporate identity – corporate image, logo, branding, market recognition. Focus on technology and product.

Public Engagement – ubiquitous, mutually beneficial participation in ongoing conversations wherever they are, including but not necessarily many‐to‐many new media models

News media & blogger relations – editorial placement, interviews, features, trend articles, corporate profiles, perception audits, slide shows, b‐roll, video, fan pages, Tweets.

Other third‐party influencers – analyst validation, customer testimonials, legislator outreach, industry outreach, opinion makers

Collateral – case studies, backgrounders, fact sheets, white papers, press releases.

Speaker opportunities – executive summits, business roundtables, industry forums.

Awards – recognition, visibility, prestige, credibility.

Strategic positioning – key messages, competitive differentiation, company culture. Focus on executives and management structure.


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Lauren Edwards is a former reporter for the Associated Press. She has been creating, customizing and delivering workshops for science and technology teams since 2000.

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