The difference between PR and Marketing and where I fit in

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me ‘but, what is it you do again… you’re in marketing right?’ well, lets just say my HECS debt would be obliterated.

As a budding PR professional I am often asked what is the difference between myself and marketing students…


Well its about time I did a post on this:

PR vs. Marketing

Who I am, who they are and how we work together to achieve the organisations goals.

Activities / tactics: Marketing generally covers promotional, direct marketing and advertising which seeks to return direct sales. Marketing pros sell products. They are direct in this avenue.

Whereas PR is focused on reputation management through generating positive media coverage and stakeholder communication. For example marketing company has a product, but who will get the word out? – a PR pro! Media coverage is a key function for this.

Target audiences: Marketing aims to reach current and potential customers, whereas public relations is all about maintaining positive relationships with anyone who has an interest in the organisation or brand. This covers a broader audience across customers and media, to employees and shareholders.

Two separate goals: The goals for marketing teams are to reach consumers and make them think, believe or do some kind of sales focused action. Essentially it is about selling the product or service. Whereas public relations is about selling the company or brand through positively managing the communication channels between a company and its stakeholders. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while PR is trying to drive a positive reputation through an effective PR strategy.

In any effective PR plan we have a Goal > Objective > Strategy > Tactic.. read about effective PR writing skills here

Legitimacy of messages: Messages delivered through PR channels such as articles, conference speakers or reputable bloggers are subconsciously regarded by consumers as more legitimate than those presented through marketing tactics. Generally, people can clearly recognise that advertising and marketing are driven by a company’s desire to increase sales. However articles that have a well-known journalist’s name on them, or presentations by someone classified as an industry expert are more likely to be received by the consumer as a credible source. This is how we work together!

Business ROI: Marketing is generally defined as a business investment – paid branding and promotional activities with new customers being the ROI. Whereas PR is classified as free exposure for increasing credibility around a company’s image. It is usually more difficult to measure ROI for PR consulting than it is for marketing, because it’s harder to demonstrate a change in perception or beliefs, as opposed to direct sales. Read about my 4 models of PR here

Longevity: Marketing is a relatively short term activity, whereas PR reaps its benefits over a longer period of time. While marketing seeks to drive instant, tangible sales success, the benefits of a PR program can be viewed as a long term investment that a company would recognise for future achievements. Crisis Managemnt is one of these longer function for PR professionals. Read about my Rio Olympics Crisis article or how Trump handles Crisis Management in the US election here.

Any marketing students have different opinions? Let me know here

Credit: Read more at:

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