Public relations establishes marketing credibility. It validates the claims being made for a product or service. When a salesperson or telemarketer calls—on the phone or in person—you can't help being something of a skeptic, can you? Of course, he or she is going to tell you that this particular product works best and he or she knows nobody but satisfied customers. If salespeople didn't talk like that, they would have no chance of earning any commissions.
When you read about that same product — or see it endorsed by one of your favorite television personalities or syndicated columnists — your skepticism is diluted. When you come across an advertisement that interests you, you may well believe its claims enough to respond to it more positively. However, you will respond even quicker if you have just heard by word-of-mouth or in the newspapers how convenient, reasonable, or delicious this product has proved to be for someone else.
Even if the publicity isn't signed, there is an implied endorsement by the editor who, you feel sure, would not allow anything unverified or incomplete to occupy editorial space or time in his or her media. To earn this confidence, publicity must be handled with a professional sense of journalistic integrity, with a concentration on facts and on news-making qualities that meet the requirements of the editor. Recognition of this has made product and service publicity almost as accepted a source of editorial material for publications as a crew of reporters.
The Atlanta Journal carries some good examples of marketing public relations. The marketing of oysters profited from a full-page picture feature on oyster fishing. There was a three-column picture marketing new unisex trousers called baggies. Wine marketing was the real purpose for running a feature story on an auction. There was a two-page feature marketing pork—how to buy and serve it. And all these other marketing subjects drew one or more citations: from cars to food to technology.
If someone read an advisory column of the financial page about how insurance best fits into a retirement program and said to their partner, "This is the kind of policy we ought to have," they may then be more willing to send in their information for complimentary services that they know will bring an insurance marketer or salesperson along with it.
Public relations supplies welcome mats for the marketer. One is more willing to open the door when the marketer brings a product or service that is somewhat familiar and, suddenly, more interesting because of reliability or popularity.
See the following articles for more information:
- How the World of Public Relations Functions
- Importance of Effective PR
- Public Relations Tools of the Trade
- What Is Public Relations?