sábado, janeiro 12, 2008

Advertising vs. PR: Kotler on Kotler

Question: There is a great deal of hype about integrated marketing communications. What is the status of this subject today?

Kotler: In the past, we taught separate courses on advertising, sales promotion, public relations and other communication tools. Each student became a specialist in one of these areas, remaining ignorant of the other tools and having a tendency to defend the primacy of her tool. Within companies, the advertising person always received the biggest budget for marketing communication (leaving out the sales force), and the others would fight for the crumbs.

Clearly, this is not a good situation, especially considering that the effectiveness of different communication tools changes over time. The decision on how much to allocate to the different promotional tools cannot be left to turf battles. Someone must be put in charge. Let's call that person the chief communication office (CCO). That person should be responsible for everything that communicates anything about the company—not only the standard communication tools but also corporate dress, office decor and even the look of the company's trucks.

Today, an increasing number of business schools are teaching marketing communications using an IMC-oriented textbook. First, this prepares the student to understand the role of different communication vehicles. Second, it makes the point that the company's brand and customer message must be communicated consistently through all media. Thus, if a company wants to be known for its high quality, it has to produce high quality and communicate high quality in all of its messages.

Question: Some media analysts call for more spending on public relations. Do you agree?

Kotler: I agree. Advertising has been overdone in the past, especially mass advertising with its "hit or miss" quality. PR has been underdone. PR consists of many tools, which I call the PENCILS of PR: publications, events, news, community involvement, identity tools, lobbying, and social investments.

When a customer sees an ad, she knows it is an ad, and an increasing number of customers are tuning ads out. PR has a better chance of getting a message through.

Furthermore the message can be fresher and more believable. PR is better equipped to create "buzz" about a new product or service. Interest in PR is increasing—witness the title of the recent book by Al and Laura Ries, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR.

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