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Marketing vs Public Relations (PR)

Marketing vs public relations. This is a topic, where I believe, most of us agree: Public relations fall under a big marketing umbrella. 

Although we may know one fact, there is still a lot of confusion as to what does a PR or a marketer do. And even though PR does fall under the marketing umbrella, they do differ quite a bit.

In this blog post, I’m writing down the differences between marketing vs public relations. When the line gets blurred and why. So if you are interested in the differences between marketing vs public relations, keep on reading.

What is Marketing?

marketing - marketing vs public relations - Mirijana Cota marketing consultant

Marketing is (simply put) a process that covers all the elements of 7P. It is responsible for creating, executing and analysing marketing strategies and plans. Using different tactics to achieve and retain the right audience. Subsequently creating brand awareness – loyalty and revenue.

I’ve touched the marketing description a little bit in my last blog post, where I’ve written about marketing vs branding.

*Are you interested in marketing field, but don’t know yet how to start? I’ve written a blog post about working in marketing. 

What is Public relations (PR)?

Public relations is a process in which PR professionals are responsible for curating, promoting (not paid) and defending positive public image of a public personality, company, organisation and even government or other important public body. PR is also a strategic communication body that builds and nurtures good relationships with all publics (internal and external).

Hubspot defines PR professionals as : “Public Relations professionals help a business or individual cultivate a positive reputation with the public through various unpaid or earned communications, including traditional media, social media, and in-person engagements. They also help clients defend their reputation during a crisis that threatens their credibility.”

Marketing vs Public relations (PR)

marketing vs public relations - Mirijana Cota marketing consultant

To sum it all up:

  • The focus of marketing is the consumer and products or services. Focus of the PR is building good relationships and positive public image.
  • Biggest tasks in marketing cover all the elements of 7P. The marketing strategy and plans, which includes PR as well. It is responsible for delivering value to the consumers, whilst building good brand image and a positive reputation of the company. PR’s main tasks are narrower as they are evolving around good public reputation, building positive image with building good relationships with relevant audiences, organising PR events etc.
  • Marketing is very much focused on the design aspect of the company and good content, while PR is focused more or content and good PR pitch. 
  • Marketing is consumer oriented, while the PR‘s biggest responsibility and focus is the client/employer.
  • PR focuses on earned publicity, meaning free promotion. That is achievable with good relationships with the media, reporters and good storylines. Marketing focuses on paid promotion with advertising, digital marketing etc. Free promotion (content marketing, SEO) is also very important and is gaining bigger importance day by day. 
  • Published promotions that are done by marketing are completely controlled. What we put out there is out there and we have the power to change it up, if we want to. PR press releases for example or public events are uncontrolled by the PR, as they are at the mercy of the media.

When the line gets blurred?

Lines get blurred differently, depending of the size of the organization.

Let me be more specific.

Smaller the company, the more the line is blurred as one person a lot of the times does marketing and PR. 

Bigger the company, that line gets less blurred as most of the times teams work separately. You would have a marketing department that is then divided to sub departments and one of those is PR department ( if it doesn’t get bigger privileges and get its own independent department).

marketing vs public relations

Content Marketing vs Public Relations

Another thing to mention is content marketing vs PR. While comparing marketing vs public relations online, as I’ve already mentioned above, people tend to state that marketing uses only paid promotion while PR does free or earned promotion. That is not the case with marketing. There is SEO for example and content marketing.

Do you think, people tend to include content marketing under PR or have they completely forgotten about it? Even I wouldn’t know.

Anyway my point is that content marketing doesn’t fall under PR as it has marketing approach and not PR. Meaning it is consumer oriented, bringing value to consumer, building brand trust and loyalty. Content marketing’s long term goal is for the consumer to purchase companies goods or services while creating brand loyalty and trust. 

My thoughts

The more I read about the marketing vs PR debate on the internet, I ( so as in marketing vs branding debate) understood that the comparison falls between the tactical marketing and PR. But I won’t go in detail in this post again about my thoughts. If you read my last post, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. 

What I would like to mention as well (because I’ve experienced this in my professional career as well), is that there are a lot PR companies that by buying media space (not earning it) create and publish PR articles. But is that really PR or is it marketing? What do you think?

Let me know down in the comments bellow, as I would love to know your opinion. What I believe is that isn’t PR, that is advertising – marketing. So if you claim to be a PR company, do PR and achieve that your customers press release gets published for free and not by paid.

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