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Advertising vs. PR: Kotler on Kotler

by Phil Kotler  |  
July 12, 2005

The following article deals with the relative merits of advertising and public relations in the marketing mix—with some conclusions that are sure to rattle your cage.

Philip Kotler is Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. He is the author of Marketing Management, one of the most widely used marketing books in graduate business schools worldwide, and numerous other books and articles. Kotler is renowned for pioneering "social marketing," campaigns for nonprofits or causes as "an alternative to coercion or legal action in solving social problems."

His new book, According to Kotler (AMACOM), is a summary of the key principles of marketing and how they relate to current events such as corporate accounting scandals, outsourcing, globalization, warehouse shopping and online marketing. It includes controversial new topics such as "demarketing," "reverse marketing," "body advertising," and other tactics.

What follows is an excerpt of the book, based on the thousands of questions Kotler has been asked over the years by clients, students, business audiences, and journalists.

Question: Can you please say something regarding "the need for a new marketing mix"?

Kotler: The original marketing mix was not 4Ps but about 14. Neil Borden many years ago used a large list of marketing tools. We can always add to the list. So the question isn't "what tools constitute the marketing mix" but, rather, "what tools are becoming more important in the marketing mix."

For example, I feel that advertising is overdone and public relations is underdone. This is seconded in Al Ries's book, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. And direct-marketing tools are also rising in importance in the marketing mix.

Question: TV advertising seems to be losing its effectiveness. What are alternative ways to get attention?

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Philip Kotler is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

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  • by Alexander Tue Aug 25, 2009 via web

    Extremely formalistic, simplistic, and naïve. IMC – everything communicates, what a company does and what it doesn’t; it’s what the customer sees, hears, feels, touches, etc., in connection with the organization and its products. Many successful companies do perfectly alright without any paid communications.

    Marketing deals with billions of unique situations, and so any idea and precept is not universal; it only makes sense when its validity range is carefully delineated. For instance, Sponsorships, Mentions on talk shows, Product placement, Street-level promotions, Celebrity endorsements, Body advertising have only infinitesimal applications.

    Pitching advertising vs. PR is not professional, since the picture pretty much depends on the kind of business.

  • by Puneet Mon Oct 26, 2009 via web

    Effective PR can certainly beat the competition out. With more chances of getting 'believed', PR also becomes effective when it comes to retaining a brand position.

    Advertising Vs PR will remain a point of obvious marketing discussions but the difference is surely narrowing, slowly but steadily.

  • by Linda Tue Nov 16, 2010 via web


    can you please tell me who questioned mr. kotler?

    thank you, linda

  • by Dilhani Thu Jan 15, 2015 via iphone

    so important artical.i thankfull for Mr.Kotler to update our knowledge day to day.

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