Top 7 Differences between PR and Marketing

As PR professional one often comes across the question – What’s the difference between PR and Marketing? The confusion prevails. Though social media has already made a dent in the fence and the boundary between two has diminished a lot yet not eliminated completely. For the sake of those who have the question in mind and find it unanswered as yet and those who have to face it more often, we tried putting up the distinction and set the record straight.

1- Marketing entails advertising, promotion, direct marketing, etc. and it’s all aimed at selling; whereas PR is all about reputation management by way of getting positive media coverage.

2- Focus of marketing remains customer – both existing and potential; whereas PR focuses on the company’s image. Having a wider perspective, PR is concerned with the views of the general public and stakeholders like media, investors and authority.

3- While PR does not immediately and directly contribute to the revenue or profit of the organisation, it helps the company grow by developing and maintaining good relationships and creating a positive business environment. Marketing is directly responsible for the bottom line growth of the organisation.

4- Goals for marketing department are action oriented. They are supposed to reach out to their customers or potential customers and make motivate them enough to act. The action is mostly and generally buying their products or services. PR is aimed at bringing the spotlight to the brand, highlighting the quality or sustainability of the product or service and making a brand of repute.

5- Marketing is a relatively short term activity; whereas benefits of Public Relations can only be reaped over a longer period of sustained campaigning. Results or PR are mostly not as instant as that of marketing.

6- An important pillar of marketing is advertising. That’s essentially paid media while PR works with earned media. Advertising is definitive and you have full control over its messaging, spread and frequency, earned media is considered to be more impactful and important. Earned space is not definitive at all.

7- Message delivered through earned media by way of PR channels like reviews, coverage, interviews, etc. by media or bloggers are way more effective as compared to advertisements. People consider such content as more reliable and trustworthy as compared to that disseminated through advertisements. Consumer understands that advertising is being done by the organisation to promote its business while third party endorsements like reputed journalists and bloggers is considered credible.

All said and done, fact remains, PR and Marketing rely on each other. None can succeed in isolation and no organisation can progress without both of them working efficiently hand-in-hand. Key to the success of any communications campaign is in identifying and employing the most effective tools to achieve its objectives.

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Reputation Today is India’s only print magazine for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals. It is the official magazine of PRAXIS - India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

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