Marketing and PR – The Difference

Whether you’re a marketer or a Public Relations professional, you have probably been asked the same question many times throughout your career. What’s the difference between PR and marketing?

It may be easy to answer the difference between the two from a tactical point of view but when it comes to describing the role of both contributing to business success, it really becomes difficult to articulate their individual roles.

Before we proceed to look at the differences between the two, we will study them individually and then as a combination..


Marketing is an activity that aims at promoting, advertising, and distributing company’s products or services. Marketing is a complex term that is not limited to certain activities but consists of many activities like product designing, warehousing, packaging, transportation, delivering, advertising, branding, selling, pricing, etc. It can literally be anything which raises awareness of a business in any shape or form.

Marketing is completely focused on selling and promoting a company’s certain product or service.

PR, Public Relations

Public Relations, PR, is a process that manages the communication or sharing of information between the public and the organisation or an individual. It can also be referred to as a shared or planned efforts to maintain and establish benevolence  and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.

Also, PR is known to maintain or establish the organisation’s reputation through setting up an understanding between an organisation or individual and the public.

Difference Between Public Relations (PR) and Marketing

Since both of them contributes to business success, we must know their contribution how they do so. The working process of both the teams is completely different. Everything across target, goals, function, tactics to kind of media and communication, they differ at every aspect of their work process. Here are few differences between the two.

  1. Target Audience

Since marketing mainly works toward the distribution and promotion of company’s products or services, it aims at outstretching current and potential customers whereas public relations target is to maintain positive relationships with anyone who has an interest in either the brand or the organization or the both. Due to this reason a broad audience is covered by public relations across customers and media, to employees and shareholders.

  1. Separate Goals

As discussed, public relations importantly focus on maintaining the image of an organisation therefore, the prior goal of public relations is to sale the company or brand through positively managing the transmission channels between a company and its stakeholders while marketing aims at reaching consumers and change their mind to like their company’s product or service and then convert their likings into sales actions. Essentially, marketing is all about getting the products or services sold anyway and to achieve direct revenue.

  1. Focus

The ultimate focus of marketing is to drive sales anyway and anyhow. Marketing focuses on whether the product or service created by the company fulfills the needs of the customer and satisfies them. Whereas public relations focus on building trust between the business or organisation and its world. Gaining trust of audience is must because trust is the only thing that can even lead to driving sales indirectly and getting an outreach to more audience. Hence, public relations work toward creating a favourable image among current and potential customers, the media, employees, and the supplier.

  1. Tactics

Marketing tactics are the strategic efforts that direct the promotion, advertising, and selling of a product or service to influence specific marketing goals such as increasing sales and maintaining a competitive product, however, public relation tactic include maintaining the company’s reputation through generating positive media coverage.

  1. Function

Although both marketing and public relations are a part of management function, public relations is staff function which indirectly aid organisation achieving its goals and objectives. Whereas marketing is a line function that directly contributes to company’s bottom line.

  1. Media

Marketing, as we know, requires a heavy amount because of the activities it includes, therefore marketing is considered as a paid-media while on the other hands public relations is earned media which means it is absolutely free or can be also called a free media. Under public relations, company gains publicity through third-party endorsements such as word-of-mouth, press conferences, news releases, speeches, etc.

  1. Communication

Marketing is a one-way communication whereas public relations is a two way communication channel.