I recently encountered a situation typical among performing arts organizations: a PR and advertising department billing itself as a marketing department, obtaining
great press coverage for noteworthy events, but missing the larger picture of developing loyal, long-term fans. Understanding the differences between PR and Marketing and the importance of ‘branding’ are critical to performing arts organizations’ success, especially in the not-for-profit realm. Certainly, advertising helps build brand awareness but it is consistent brand experience – developed by institutional marketing as expressed by the mission that helps sustain the organization, which in turns, aids fund-raising along with audience and organizational development. As Philip Kotler, the marketing guru and author of Marketing Management among dozens of other textbooks and books, said, “Brands are not built by advertising but by the brand experience.” Performing Arts organizations that focus all ‘marketing’ efforts on selling tickets to specific performances are ignoring brand building and missing important opportunities.
Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA) as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Advertising, however, is “The paid, public, non-personal [my italics] presentation, promotion or announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor to its existing and potential customers.
While similar, the difference between the two lies in the emphasis: marketing is about providing something of value to the customer; whereas advertising is impersonal and focused on advancing the generic value as defined by the promoter. As David Meerman Scott writes in his excellent book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” “Marketing must shift their thinking from the mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the web.”
This is why understanding and incorporating social media into the marketing mix has become so important, especially to cultural organizations seeking to engage younger demographics. Social media promotes the brand, which in turn, encourages interaction.
Alex Fleming, marketing director at the Lyric Hammersmith in London points out, “…it’s hard to say that contact via social media has got us ‘x’ more ticket sales, but our audiences are definitely talking about us and through these conversations there’s more awareness of our work.” This awareness is branding. And branding is marketing.
 Philip Kotler, Marketing Insights from A to Z: 80 Concepts Every Manager Needs to Know, 2003
 “AMA Definition of Marketing.” American Marketing Association.
http://www.marketingpower.com/AboutAMA/Pages/DefinitionofMarketing.aspx. Retrieved 2012-4-7
 Elizabeth Davis, Embracing social media, The Stage, November 19, 2010 ,