What Is Marketing?

Marketing is the process of influencing the behavior of one or several people so they will make a purchase, cast a vote, offer a contribution, or join an organization. Some activities that fall under marketing include advertising, public relations, and market research. The Boy Scouts of America's key marketing objectives, as outlined in the 2002-2005 Strategic Plan, include

  • Emphasizing to our target audiences the outcomes of the BSA's values-based program rather than its methods and reinforcing among customers the good decision they make when they become part of the BSA family.
  • Strengthening relationships and building new relationships with organizations that have values and attitudes similar to those of the BSA.
  • Maximizing BSA awareness and exposure to our target audiences, including the African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American markets.
  • Coordinating national and local marketing programs.

The Boy Scouts of America's national "umbrella" marketing programs are designed to increase national awareness about Scouting, while encouraging local participation and donor contributions. To understand the philosophy behind these marketing efforts, it is important to understand how they impact the organization's target audiences and the product-adoption process—the psychological steps consumers, or target audiences, go through from the time they learn about Scouting to the time they actually buy into the program.

Moving a target audience along the product-adoption continuum requires extensive, focused marketing efforts. The National Council's efforts create awareness and interest, but local councils must complete the sale by convincing community members to become involved in Scouting in some way.

What Is Public Relations?

Public relations is communicating with various sectors of the public to influence their attitudes and opinions in the interest of promoting a person, product, organization, or idea.

What Is the Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations?

  • Public relations is one element of marketing.
  • Public relations is primarily a communications tool, whereas marketing also includes needs assessment, program development, and promotion.
  • Public relations seeks to influence attitudes, whereas marketing tries to influence specific behaviors, such as purchasing, joining, voting, etc.
  • Public relations does not define the goals of the organization, whereas marketing is involved in defining aspects like mission, strategy, potential members, and services.

Developing a Local Council Marketing Plan