Listen to a conversation between a student and her public relations professor.
Hi, Professor Gordon. I really learned a lot from your lecture, the one about analyzing all those different segments of the population.
Oh, the official term's "audience," right?
I never imagined that one company could have over 30 audiences to communicate with.
Yeah, a lot of students are taken aback by this.
And some public-relations consultants don't figure it out till they've worked in the field a while.
Everyone thinks public relations, er, PR's easy, but there's a lot to it.
You really got to know what you're doing.
Absolutely! [switching gears] Uh, so, Stacy, your e-mail implied that you needed my advice about graduate school?
No, since my undergraduate degree will be in public relations, I've already decided to get a master's degree in marketing. Sorry I wasn't clear.
My issue is, I've got two required courses and two electives. I'm trying to figure out which elective courses to take.
[very unenthusiastic]My advisor suggested economics and accounting, but I'm not really sure...
[really hated these courses, found them insufferably boring] Well, I endured accounting and economics in high school. I barely stayed awake, they were so...
[Laughingly interrupts just as she’s about to say the word,“ boring.” Clearly gets that she’s bored to tears by these subjects]OK, OK, I hear ya. [going back to subject at hand]Ah, you say you wanted a master's in marketing. You've got one more semester till graduation.
Have you taken any marketing courses yet?
[matter-of-factly]No. I-I figured I've got the marketing basics already since I've taken every PR and communications course offered here.
Well, there's some overlap between PR and marketing, but there're important differences, too.
Marketing focuses on selling your product or service... uh, y'know, attracting customers through advertising, and also building relationships with customers. That's what a marketing department does.
PR's all about... it involves relationships, too. That's why I'm saying the two fields overlap.
But in PR, you're developing relationships with a wider range of audiences.
Right, like employees, suppliers, the media.
I do understand this in theory, but aren't you still selling your product, just in a different way?
Not necessarily. [Gets a thought to help reinforce this]OK, do you remember that PR strategy I alluded to the other day, the one our university uses, a strategy that doesn't overlap with its marketing strategy?
You mean how the university invites local residents to attend certain lectures and classes for free?
Yeah. This cultivates a sense of goodwill and helps the university avoid becoming isolated from the larger community.
Bringing neighbors into our classrooms is good PR, but it's not marketing, since our neighbors aren't our "customers," for the most part.
That's why I wanna focus on marketing in graduate school.
Wouldn't having expertise in PR and marketing give me more career options?
Yeah, but you'll also want to enjoy your work.
So, for your electives, why don't you take advertising principles and intro to marketing, which I teach.
This way, you'd find out if marketing's something you really wanna pursue.
Graduate school tuition's expensive, and these courses will give you a good overview of the field before committing yourself.
[lamenting]I wish my advisor had suggested those courses!
Well, I'm somone who's worked in both marketing and PR, so I can offer a different perspective than someone who only teaches.