Marketing vs PR - infographic

Marketing vs PR in Property: Which Holds the Key to Success?

As a full-service property communications agency, there is one question that we’re continually asked by current and prospective clients; is marketing or PR more important for property businesses? And there’s no straightforward answer to this because, well, they’re both imperative to drive success.

There has been strong debate around the marketing vs PR topic, with companies left wondering which tactic is more successful. This largely derives from the fact that people aren’t sure how to differentiate the two disciplines. This leads to further questions about which tactics should be implored and when, and which is correct to best meet existing goals.

With this in mind, we’ve rounded up the biggest differences between the marketing and PR functions within the property sector, including how they can both be best approached to maximise results.

The difference between marketing and PR

In its simplest form, real estate marketing is an extension of your sales function, concerned with how best to promote services, products, and business offerings. PR however is more concerned with a brand’s public image and reputation.

Marketing tactics are varied, ranging from photography and videography, social media, websites, paid-for advertising, brochures, events and more, all to sell the products or services of a business to end-users. For example, estate agents will use a lot of marketing tactics to position a new residential development as the best place to live and to try and improve lettings/sales figures.

Property PR, on the other hand, is more concerned with reputation and brand awareness, aimed at building a positive image of a company with third-party audiences. Rather than working to support sales, PR is an entirely separate discipline that works to position a company as a reliable, market-leading business that is trusted and respected externally.

PR plays a longer game

Where a company often has the final say and sight of all elements of its marketing strategy, PR can be much trickier to control. It is a marathon, not a sprint; a long-term business process that drives the credibility of a company and the visibility of its leaders.

This helps to position companies and individuals among the very best in their field, a company people strive to do business with because they’re considered the best by unbiased industry figures, including stakeholders and journalists.

A strong and busy press office will plan ahead, looking to position businesses as leaders in the industry, comparable with their peers and competitors. For example, the built environment has a strong and active trade press, widely read by stakeholders, contractors, and the supply chain. Businesses that engage with these publications are much more likely to be front of mind for their vast audiences.

Essentially, PR is a hugely important function that affects every aspect of a business, not just marketing. Because there is so much reliance on third-party viewpoints, such as journalists, media publications and stakeholders, having a comprehensive PR plan in place is imperative to steer positive conversations and build much-needed brand trust.

Does my business need marketing or PR?

Ultimately, a business requires both. Marketing and PR strategies are more efficient when working in tandem because they complement one another, particularly when working towards a common goal such as building brand awareness with key audiences.

There will inevitably be times when a business may need to prioritise one function more than the other. For example, if there is negative chatter in the industry where a developer falls behind or fails to deliver on promises set out in planning documents for a new scheme. If this is the case, PR should take a leading role to mitigate these conversations and drive a more positive narrative forward.

On the other hand, if the same developer has a robust external reputation of being a reliable and trusted expert who has recently delivered a pioneering scheme, yet they can’t seem to sell or let the units, a strong marketing push would be much more beneficial than PR at that stage. This would be the best tactic to generate leads and encourage more sales.

Ultimately, many businesses mistake these distinctive disciplines as two different names for the same thing, with the same goals and outcomes. However, this can prove detrimental in the long run. Instead, property businesses should seek to invest in integrated communications strategies, led by experts who can deliver marketing and PR that work simultaneously.

For more information on our integrated communications strategies, please drop our Associate, Phill Etchells a note on phill@realestatemarketingmedia.co.uk