Merging Advertising and Public Relations

New Digital Media, Slashed Budgets Helping Bring Functions Together

When the Cannes Advertising Festival added public relations to its contest categories in 2009, it was acknowledging the growing acceptance of the advertising-PR partnership in the 21st Century. It’s a partnership which purists on both sides looked down on for years, but which some agencies have recognized and profited from for decades.

The 2008-09 recession brought the shotgun relationship into the open. With both advertising and PR budgets being cut drastically, some ad and PR strategists decided to combine their efforts rather than fight each other.

Such partnerships reflect an industry trend toward integrated marketing, a strategy in which the message or idea is more important than the media. Futurist Matt Dickman has said that content will be king in advertising and it should create value for the customer.

Spread Message Over Diverse Media

When possible, the message is spread over diverse media, paid or sponsored. The costs just come out of different budgets.

Traditional differences between advertising and public relations can often be traced to simple differences in definition and/or categorizing. Advertising is traditionally defined as a paid media message, but the explosion in new media and new uses of even old media have blurred that definition. Is paid mention of products on TV drama shows, or paid placement of editorial matter in newspapers, advertising or public relations?

Public relations is often defined as free advertising, but that definition is seldom accurate. Successful placement of unpaid editorial matter in publications almost always requires someone researching the concept, developing basic background material, selling media people on the idea, working with the publication staff and then monitoring the coverage and results, all of which can add up to more than the cost of an ad.

Are Websites Ads or PR

Are websites, blogs and window displays advertising or PR? If a window is displaying a new line of clothing it might be considered advertising. If it is a Santa Claus display designed to excite children, it might be considered public relations.

Such differences become relevant only when it comes time to assign budgets, responsibilities, credit and/or blame for the project.

“Mad Men” Multi-Media Promotion

Just how closely PR and advertising can work together was demonstrated recently in a multi-media promotion of the television show “Mad Men.”

  • AMC and Lionsgate Home Entertainment ran pure advertising for the show’s third season and for the second season DVD.
  • Banana Republic and AMC cosponsored a photo contest for people who might be chosen to participate in the show. Pure PR.
  • Banana Republic produced window displays to promote “Mad Men” styled clothes and accessories. PR or advertising?
  • Vanity Fair and Variety produced “Mad Men” media features, accompanied by Clorox ads, a PR/advertising combo.
  • Someone convinced Advertising Age to produce a feature on the total promotion. More PR.

Was anyone counting PR vs advertising points? Probably not, but someone will measure the bottom line of the total promotion.

Advertising and PR Can Help Each Other

The truth is that public relations projects usually need the help of advertising. And a good PR project can strengthen almost any advertising campaign.

The growth of social media will only blur the advertising and public relations lines even more. Facebook, Twitter and media such as YouTube and Google will require the integration of diverse media in new and innovative ways with little concern about whether they are called PR, advertising, promotion or marketing.

Advertising as a Crisis Public Relations Tool

Toyota Defending its Image with TV Spots, Print Ads and Its Website

Early in 2010, Toyota demonstrated how much crisis management has evolved in recent years. Decades ago, airlines cancelled all advertising after a plane crash. Some even had standing agreements with stations to pull ads off immediately after a crash. The purpose was to avoid associating the airline with a disaster as much as possible.

Running a “friendly skies” or similar airline commercial in the midst of crash coverage was considered self destructive. Besides, it’s difficult for an airline to sell tickets right after one of its planes go down.

Following a series of massive vehicle recalls, Toyota faced:

  • Potential damage to its proud image
  • The possibility of losing thousands of vehicle sales
  • The decline of its heralded used car values, which is a major sales point for its new vehcles.

Unanswered questions

Of course, a sticking accelerator or brake pedal is not as dramatic as an airline crash. But the auto defects can affect more people than a plane crash. And while the crash is a single event, faulty vehicles remain a fear and conversation piece until the car manufacturer gets the parts and technical expertise together to correct the problem in every community,

Crisis management experts now urge companies to address such problems immediately, honestly and clearly. They caution against allowing the problem to turn into a long media event feeding on unanswered questions. They warn, most of all, against allowing the problem to become a coverup story.

In 1982 Johnson & Johnson demonstrated the wisdom of that forthright approach when someone messed with its Tylenol packaging.

Slow Response

Toyota heeded the advice, but some experts say it was too slow in responding. By the time the company committed to a message, it could no longer be handled through normal news and editorial channels. By then, there were too many questions to be addressed only in a news release.

Toyota began running commercials, print ads and website notices to apologize for the vehicle problems and to assure motorists—and members of Congress—that it was correcting the problems.

Advertising is often neglected as a public relations tool because it lacks the third person credibility that a news story carries. If not done correctly, ads can give the impression the company is trying to buy its way out of the problem. Put simply, a reporter and the news media carry more believability than a paid ad does.

But with today’s technology, ads and commercials can carry full messages rapidly. They give the advertiser an opportunity to tell its story in its own words and a good chance to get proper visibility in the media.

Websites Now Major Tool

Websites have also become major advertising tools in a crisis. Toyota used its ads to refer people to There it provided useful information to Toyola owners – and the news media – on how to handle recalled vehicles. It ran its TV commercial on the website, acknowledging that it had recently failed to live up to standards expected by its customers and itself. It vowed to correct the problems.

It also used the website to promote its fifth generation 4 Runner, trying to protect the value of used Toyotas by emphasizing how durable the SUV is. It offered savings of up to $2,000 on some Toyota models.

In early 2010, before Toyota launched its media blitz, industry observers said the company image had been tarnished badly. The length and depth of its fall would depend heavily on the effectiveness of its advertising and public relations campaigns and its success in correcting the vehicle problems.

How to Finance a Small Business

Methods of Securing Business Loans and Increasing Working Capital

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail is due to lack of capital. But what many small business owners may not realize is that financing a small business often becomes a juggling act. It means having several viable options and then knowing what source of financing to use in any given situation.

Though there are numerous finance options available to small business owners, one needs to know where to look and how and when to use them. The following is a brief rundown of the most popular finance options:

Tapping into Personal Assets to Finance a Business

For those business owners who have the means, they can tap into their personal assets to finance their small business. Aside from cash savings, popular options include taking out home equity loans, cashing in on a life insurance policy (called a life-settlement), or using other assets as collateral for a loan. Though this may be a quick and easy source of financing, it goes without saying that business owners may be taking a considerable risk if the venture is unsuccessful.

Asking Family and Friends for a Loan

There are several advantages to approaching friends and family for financing. First, these people may be more willing to offer money then would a professional lender, and one may also be able to negotiate favorable conditions for repaying the loan.

Peer-to-Peer Business Lending

Peer-to-peer, or P2P lending is a form of financing that occurs directly between individuals or “peers” without the involvement of a traditional financial institution, such as a bank. Many sites, such as have set up an “online marketplace” where borrowers post their loan requests and are connected with various lenders who “bid” on the chance to finance the loan.

There are several advantages to choosing this financing option: lenders bid on each loan request keeping interest rates low, there are fewer loan requirements, and business owners get a chance to tell their story. But these loans are usually limited to no more than $25,000, and defaulting on P2P payments will still affect credit history.

Small Business Loans From Banks and Commercial Lenders

Small business loans provided by banks and commercial lenders can either be secured or non secured. A secured small business loan is backed up with collateral. Because the collateral reduces the risk of granting these loans, lenders tend to offer better interest rates, longer repayment periods, and they can be taken out for greater amounts of money. An unsecured loan is one in which no collateral is offered as security against loan. Due to the greater risk involved, banks and commercial lenders will more closely consider a business’ credit rating and financial history when deciding whether or not to approve an application. These loans tend to have higher interest rates, short repayment periods, and are given out in smaller amounts.

Sub-prime Business Loans

This sub-group in the financing industry includes bad credit loans and payday loans. These products tend to have high interest rates and strict repayment schedules, and financing is given out in relatively small amounts. Since borrowers seeking this form of financing tend to be desperate for financing, yet limited in options, this market is rife with predatory lenders. The bottom line here is that such forms of financing should be used with caution in limited situations.

Government-Based Loans and Grants

There are several government-based financing programs available for start-ups and growing small businesses. The first place to look is the Small Business Association. They offer numerous loan programs to help small businesses. Business owners should also contact out their local Small Business Development Center to see which financial assistance programs they offer, and where applicable, the local Minority Business Development Agency.

When it comes to government grants, however, business owners should be aware that most of this money is directed at non-profit organizations or are limited to very specific industries. Even where a small business can technically qualify for a grant, this money comes with many restrictions. Those interested in government grants, should check out the list of sites provided by the SBA.

Business Credit Cards and Lines of Credit

Business credit cards and the small business lines of credit available at many banks, can when used properly help small businesses smooth out their cash flow. This revolving line of credit is meant to cover short-term operating expenses, pay for equipment or expand inventory, smooth out seasonal cash flow, or to take advantage of unexpected growth opportunities. Though having access to business credit is an important factor in maintaining a good cash flow, it should be used it with caution. With high interest rates and hefty fees, debts can easily spiral out of control.

How to Run a Small Business

Four Ways to Manage Work and Achieve Goals

Everyone dreams of being the boss at some point in their lives. Controlling all the shots and setting the work schedule are just some of the benefits of running one’s own business. At the other side of the spectrum, however, is the stress of keeping work and finances flowing.

The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy reports that there were 29.6 million small businesses in the United States in 2009. More than half of this country’s private workforce sector works for small businesses. About 7 in 10 new businesses survive for the first two years, and only about half make it to the five-year mark.

Being passionate about the business helps, but having a concrete plan is also crucial.

Create A Business Plan

A business plan is a document, or set of documents, that outlines the goals of the business, how they will be reached, and why the goals are thought to be attainable. It also provides the backgrounds and qualification of the people involved in the business. A business plan is useful as a set of self-checks on progress, and are an absolute necessity if the project will need outside financing. People thinking about starting up a business can get guidance from organizations such as SCORE, the Counselors of America’s Small Businesses.

Identify the Market

Once the business plan is in place, the next step is to conduct market research. Where can the product or service be sold? It’s critical to research the current competition and learn how business is being done in the industry sector. Is the market price-driven, or is the main issue quality? Another factor is determining the location of the business. For example, if the business is selling hot dogs from a cart, where does the cart get placed for business? If there are carts on every corner, price will be a heavy factor in success. If there’s not another cart for miles, high quality will prevail, and prices can be set at a premium. This is of course a very simple illustration, but the main points hold true.

Prepare for Lean Times

Small business owners eventually learn, often the hard way, to conserve money and prepare for slow times. For the hot dog vendor, there are less people in the street in winter, and so less money will be coming in. Some days there may be no business at all. Creating an annual budget will help. Having six to eight months of living expenses on hand at all times will get a small business over the rough spots. Driven entrepreneurs often live very frugally in the early years of their business.

Trust Gut Instinct

Gut instincts can hit small business owners at any time. It can happen in a sales meeting or during a call with a prospective customer. Something just doesn’t feel right. Most small business people pride themselves on integrity and fairness. Most, but not all. There will be a time when the gut says to walk away. And no matter how the numbers look, or how huge the potential is, the gut instinct almost always signals real danger. If possible, delay making a commitment if there’s unrealistic pressure, but pay attention to gut instincts as well.

If the dream and the drive are there, and a plan is in place, self-employment can be an extremely liberating way to live.

Cut Spending in Tiny Ways that Add up

By Cutting Out the Little Things Consumers Can Save Big

Is that second latte from a gourmet coffee shop really necessary? Does that one candy bar really satisfy a hunger craving that a healthy (cheaper) snack couldn’t? All of those seemingly small expenses really add up. If consumers cut out the small “extra” expenses, they could save some serious dough…enough to invest or save for a really big dream.

How to Cut back on Little Things and Save Big:

Cut out candy completely, or at least buy it in bulk at warehouse clubs. Face it, candy is cheap sugar and bodies don’t need it….and neither do pocket books. Save the calories and the bucks by eliminating these snacks completely. Can’t go cold turkey? At least curb the craving by buying a big bag only every two months from Sam’s or Costco and rationing candy intake. Feel like going for it and giving up the sugar for good? Then buy fruit and veggies in season from a warehouse club or a local farmers’ market. Fruits and vegetables may seem more expensive at the beginning, but once the habit begins, consumers notice their waistlines shrinking and they begin to eat less food altogether which saves in every way.

Buy whole coffee beans in bulk and invest in a grinder:

Again, warehouse clubs are the place to buy beans, or look for sales and coupons at the supermarket. Then find an inexpensive coffee grinder. The coffee savings alone will pay for itself in a matter of months. Ground coffee is more expensive and it doesn’t taste nearly as fresh as whole beans ground at home. And stay away from coffee shops! That’s where the real money is wasted. It’s ok to treat oneself to a latte once a month, but no more!

Save Spare Change in a Jar at Home:

That may sound childish, but if it is, kids actually have a good idea. They know the real meaning of saving before they get their hands on credit cards! So, stash that cash in an old coffee tin, a cookie jar or an old bowl somewhere and watch the pennies grow. At the end of the year invest and use that money to fulfill a dream. Every goal starts small. Just be patient. And that saving bug might just extend past the cookie jar. Saving can get addictive. The more one does it, they better he/she feels. Spending is a temporary high, and the let down is huge in terms of excess debt.

Remember, the little things matter the most in life. So find what small things are easy to cut out, and watch that money grow!

How to Advertise a New Local Small Business

Advertising Ideas and Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

An important key to opening a successful small business is advertising. This is one of the most important investments a small business can make because without proper advertising, consumers may be unaware of the new business. There are several forms of advertising to consider.

Internet Advertising for a New Small Business

The Internet can be a great way to advertise a new or ongoing business. By creating a web page, consumers can have access to information 24/7. In making a web page, be sure it is easy to navigate, keep it updated, and include quality photographs that will make potential customers want to purchase the products or services offered.

E-mail Advertising List for a Business

Developing an E-mail list is a way to build customer relationships and help turn first time customers into long time customers. Compared to direct-mail, there are no printing or postage fees. Merely keep an E-mail sign-up sheet at the checkout counter and invite customers to sign up to learn about future promotional events.

Advertising a New Small Business in the Yellow Pages

Even in the world of the Internet, people still turn to the Yellow Pages. If finances allow, consider placing an ad. If not, at least have a listing that includes the company’s name, address, and phone number. There are times when a small business can fit in more than one category.

For example, a florist that also sells gift baskets could be listed under both florists and gift baskets. For an additional fee, the business can be listed under both.

Advertising in a Local Newspaper

It is quite common for people to want to keep up with the local news and a local newspaper is a way to achieve this. Local newspapers generally concentrate on the community. Due to the fact that the paper is local, advertising costs are usually quite reasonable.

In addition, a local newspaper can be a way to get free advertising when opening a new business. Is there is any type of human interest story that can be associated with the new business? If so, consider the possibility of writing a human interest story and submitting it to the local newspaper.

Additionally, is there a way the business can offer a “how to” column? An example of this would be if an individual was opening a garden store. A column could include How to Plant a Water Garden or The Best Weed Killer. The concept is to offer a free column in return for having the owner’s name and business name included in the column.

Television and Radio Advertising for a Local Small Business

More costly than some of the other ways to advertise, radio and television stations usually have time slots for local advertising. This form of advertising allows business owners to target a specific demographic. A good television or radio ad normally evokes a quick response.

Just like with a local newspaper, if there is a human interest story attached to the new small business, see if it’s possible to be interviewed by a local radio or television station. This is another way to get free advertising while creating public interest for the new business.

The above are some of the most common ways that new businesses advertise. Additional ideas include flyers, posters, and billboards. Before committing to any form of advertising, consider talking to owners of other local businesses to see what kind of advertising works best for them. Having the right kind of advertising can have a huge impact on how successful a new, local business will be.


The Society for Marketing Advances (SMA), a premier marketing association that hosts an annual conference that brings together marketing educators and professionals from throughout the United States and abroad.

SMA is founded to foster service, research, and education in all phases of marketing and to encourage the exchange of ideas among members with similar interest.  SMA endeavors to promote the growth of intellectual leadership in the field of marketing on the part of teachers, researchers, and students in universities and interest executive business and government.



Membership is open to:

  • Persons actively engaged in teaching marketing or a related area in academe at a university, college, junior college, community college, technical institute, extension school,, or management training center,
  • Graduate students with a major or minor in marketing, and
  • Business or government executives who are supportive of the objectives of SMA.

Membership Term

  • Annual membership year end November 
  • Membership dues are not prorated

Annual Membership Dues

  • Regular = $110.00
  • Student = $100.00


Now in its 54th year, the SMA Annual Conference brings together marketing educators and professionals from throughout the United States and abroad.  The 2016 Annual SMA Conference will be held at J. W. Marriott Buckhead in beautiful Atlanta, GA from November 2-5, 2016

Conference Registration Includes FREE membership!

2016 conference registration fee includes complimentary SMA membership and special rates for hard copies of the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice and Marketing Education Review.    

Conference Registration Fees (includes conference and complimentary SMA membership)

  • Regular = $325.00*
  • Student = $200.00*
  • Doctoral Consortium Student = $250.00*
  • Winner of Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Competition = Complimentary 

 *Subject to $50.00 late fee if paid after October 1, 2016

Organizational Structure

Executive Committee

  • President
  • President-Elect
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Director of Electronic Communications
  • Director of Academic Placement Services
  • Executive Director

Board of Governors

  • Three immediate past Presidents
  • Three SMA Fellows
  • Three SMA Members-at-Large
  • SMA Executive Director
  • SMA President
  • SMA Program Chair (President-Elect)