It is very common for people to confuse marketing with public relations. The term marketing is used broadly to define all the activities involved with reaching your target audience and converting them into sales. Public Relations is a form of marketing used to get exposure from various media outlets and/or events that cater to your target audience. Have you ever wondered how a local business got featured on the morning news show? Well, most likely they, or their publicist, sent a press release to the TV station and pitched a great story around that business. With PR, you typically do not pay to get the exposure unlike another form of marketing called advertising. Typical public relations activities include, getting articles written about you or your product in a publication or website, being asked to be an expert guest on a show, hosting an event, or sponsoring a non-profit organization.
As I mentioned, marketing involves various activities; for example, paying for advertising to promote your products, developing a website to increase sales and traffic to your store, establishing a customer loyalty program to retain existing customers, sales promotion on items, and sending surveys to get feedback on how your product is performing to name a few. To determine which activity is best for you think about the goal you want to achieve. Do you want people to be aware that your store exists, prompt people to take action and buy, or generate revenue? List your top three marketing goals for the holiday season and then review some of the marketing activities I mentioned. Determine which activities will help you achieve these goals. For example, if your goal is to generate revenue during the holiday season you might consider some advertising and sales promotion. If you want to get some free media attention you could set up an Angel Tree in your store and offer a discount to those who purchase an item from your store for the Angel Tree.