Marketing VS Public Relations – Do You Know the Difference?

Written By Maddy Whitting

A common misconception people often have is that Public relations and Marketing are the same things in different packaging; both tools to help a company. Though when you look a little deeper, these two fields certainly have a lot of key differences. These departments work best when used collaboratively, but they ultimately serve different functions. It is crucial for aspiring industry professionals to learn how to distinguish between the two, so here are seven key differences between the roles.

1. Daily Tasks

In an average work day, the roles and responsibilities of PR practitioner and Marketing guru differ significantly. Marketing professionals often spend their days researching areas of new marketing campaigns, buying advertising slots on media platforms and creating advertising campaigns for new products.  PR professionals are more likely to be seen pitching stories to the media, building relationships with influencers in the industry and writing press releases for a new company initiative. 

2. Goals

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Fundamentally, the goals and aims of PR and marketing departments are different. Marketing teams are generally more short term oriented, aiming to generate sales through their daily tasks, essentially seeking for their work to translate into revenue. 

Rather than selling a product or service, PR departments are more focused on building positive brand relationships. Their general aim is long term oriented, developing and maintaining a positive reputation for their company through effective campaigning and feedback seeking.  

3. Target Audience

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Marketers are all about the here and the now- about targeting current and potential customers for their brand. On the other hand, PR believes in creating and maintaining long lasting positive relationships with various stakeholders ranging from employees to media as well as customers. 

4. Tactics

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The different target audience for their messages requires different tactics to reach them. The focus of marketers is to create effective advertising and direct marketing that can, in turn, gain customer attention. Whereas, PR practitioners are dedicated to communicating with stakeholders and generating positive media coverage. This is a key point,  marketing uses paid media but PR is earned media

5. Metrics of Success

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What a successful campaign looks like is very different for each of the positions. Marketers will measure their achievement by comparing sales targets to achieved sales and the overall return on investment.  But for PR professionals, success looks quite different.

The metrics of success for PR are interpersonal rather than statistical, focused more on positive customer perception and brand loyalty indexes rather than dollar signs. A PR campaign will be considered successful if it facilitates the company to receive industry awards or appeals to stakeholder investment.

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