As founder of, a small start-up based in California, I find it interesting that we have a strong customer base from Minnesota. I am curious about whether a small company should have public relations and marketing performed by the same individual? Plus, is marketing better done in house or outsourced?

Jerry Lee


In many businesses, public relations efforts associated with "selling" are managed from within marketing. The same functions associated with corporate reputation, both for internal and external audiences, end up being managed by corporate communications people.

Many business leaders maintain that marketing ­public relations efforts belong as part of the strategic promotional communication efforts of the business, just like advertising.

However, in the integrated marketing communication environment of today, the lines between public relations and other promotional communication have blurred. This means that the focus of the marketing leadership shouldn't be on defining whether something is advertising, public relations or something else. The focus should center on how the multitude of communication channels can create synergy in reaching your audiences.

Often, great integration of marketing communication is done by one person — either in a small organization that relies on external resources for development and implementation, or a large firm with a variety of internal and external people focused on the tactics.

In a very small firm, without a dedicated marketing person, you could likely find a consultant or small agency with the savvy to guide your marketing and develop an integrated communication plan.

About the author

Mike Porter is director of the Master of Business Communication Program at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.