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PR vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever mixed up Public Relations (PR) and Marketing, you’re not alone. They both play big roles in building a brand and connecting with people, but they do it in different ways. Let’s break down what sets PR and Marketing apart and why both are crucial for any business.

What’s Their Main Job?

Public Relations: PR is all about keeping a good image and building relationships between a company and its audience—think customers, employees, investors, media, and the local community. The main goal is to manage the company’s reputation and create goodwill.

Marketing: Marketing is focused on promoting and selling products or services. Its goal is to understand what people want and drive sales using various strategies like advertising and market research. Basically, it’s about making money and growing the business.

What Do They Actually Do?

Public Relations:

  1. Media Relations: Writing press releases, talking to journalists, and gaining media coverage to shape a positive image.

  2. Crisis Management: Handling bad press or events that could damage the company’s reputation.

  3. Event Planning: Organizing events that boost the company’s image and connect with the community.

  4. Internal Communications: Keeping employees in the loop and aligned with company goals.


  1. Market Research: Studying market trends and consumer behavior to guide product development and marketing strategies.

  2. Advertising: Creating ads for TV, radio, online, and print to attract customers.

  3. Sales Promotion: Offering discounts and special deals to boost sales.

  4. Brand Management: Building and maintaining a strong brand identity and message across all marketing channels.

How They Communicate

Public Relations: PR focuses on earned media, like convincing journalists and influencers to share good stories about the company. This involves press releases, media pitches, and building relationships with the media. It’s more about getting others to talk positively about the company.

Marketing: Marketing relies on paid media, such as ads on TV, radio, online platforms, and in print. It’s a direct approach aimed at convincing the audience to buy something. Marketing also uses owned media, like company websites and social media channels, where the company controls the message.

Measuring Success

Public Relations: PR success is measured by media coverage, the sentiment of that coverage, and relationships with key stakeholders. Other metrics include social media engagement, website traffic from PR efforts, and improvements in brand reputation.

Marketing: Marketing success is tracked by sales numbers, market share, customer acquisition and retention rates, ROI of marketing campaigns, and customer satisfaction. These metrics are directly tied to the company’s financial health.

Working Together

Even though PR and Marketing have different roles, they need to work together for a seamless brand strategy. For example, a marketing campaign can gain more traction with PR’s help in generating positive media buzz, while PR can use marketing insights to better engage the audience. Both functions should align their efforts to ensure consistent and effective messaging.

In a Nutshell

Public Relations and Marketing are different but complementary. PR is about building and maintaining a positive reputation through strategic communication and relationships, while Marketing is all about promoting products and driving sales. Knowing the difference and how they can work together helps businesses make the most of both to succeed in the long run.

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