This blog is part one of an award-winning three part-series written for Handshake 2.0, an enterprise of Handshake Media, Incorporated, to help business executives understand the differences between marketing, public relations & advertising.

 A repeated question business owners ask is what is the difference between marketing, public relations (PR), and advertising? Even in the industry, there seem to be on-going discussions, one recently with members of the International Association of Business Communicators.

In simple terms, marketing belongs to the company. Marketing develops external messages and maintains ownership (it’s the company’s story). Marketing identifies and communicates with past, current and future customers/prospects to generate leads and drive sales. By definition, marketing  is the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market; the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service; an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer. The fundamental elements of marketing include the four P’s: product, price, positioning and promotion.

Examples of traditional and social media, as well as on and offline marketing include activities that promote a company’s product and services to specific market segments. A variety of different communication channels might be used, including advertising, newsletters, direct mail, websites, industry-specific trade shows, Point-of-Sale, Twitter and Facebook.

A strategic mix and comprehensive marketing plan that includes both marketing and PR will deliver the most successful results. This concept is known as Integrated Marketing Communications, a term used to describe a holistic approach to ensure message and brand consistency to all stakeholders (both internal and external audiences). VisionPoint Marketing believes in the integration of many tactics guided by a comprehensive strategy focused on client goals and objectives. As a result, VisionPoint Marketing's integrated marketing plans often include online and traditional advertising, as well as public relations, but VisionPoint's focus is on strategic marketing.