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3 Main Ways that Marketing is Different from PR

Marketing and PR work very closely together in the communication field. Simply put, you can’t have marketing without a little PR and vice versa, but what if I told you that there are three major differences between PR and marketing that differentiate the two disciplines from each other? Here are three ways to distinguish between the two fields:

  1. Goals: Marketing aims to sell a product or service. It is more concerned with direct revenue than anything else. Generally, marketing strategies are short-term and include market research and advertising. Whereas PR is more long-term and focuses mainly on positively managing key publics for a brand. Key publics could include anyone that has any sort of interaction with the company, not just current and potential customers. In other words, PR uses different communication mediums to create a positive reputation.

  2. Tactics: Marketing is focused around a term called paid media, which is essentially paid advertisements. Marketing tactics could include market and client research, creating advertisements, and buying advertisement slots on different communication channels to display their advertisement. On the other hand, PR is focused mainly on earned media, which is essentially getting media coverage without having to pay for it. PR tactics could include writing and pitching positive news announcements to the media. Another tactic could be seeking out speaking opportunities for executives at events. PR is also sometimes centered around internal communications and managing relationships with media and influencers.

  3. Ways to evaluate: Measurement for marketing is very different from measurement for PR. Brands evaluate marketing based on their return of investment (ROI) and the overall success of whether their product or service is sold. Whereas PR measures its campaigns by many different metrics. Some of these metrics include measuring the active coverage that their brand received, the potential reach of that coverage, the social engagement on that coverage, and the sentiment and quality of that coverage.

These are the three biggest differences between marketing and PR, but what is important to understand is that although there are differences between the two disciplines, they have a lot of overlap as well. In the communication field, a lot of campaigns will involve an integrated approach requiring you to have knowledge of both fields, which is why you must know how each discipline differs in order to use both effectively.

This blog post was written by Constantine Van Sickle, Director of Public Relations.

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