Many people, including industry professionals, can find it hard to separate PR from marketing. In recent years, social media has only added to the confusion by further blurring the lines between the two.
Most of the confusion arises from many overlapping objectives and frequent collaboration. But while end goals may be closely related, there is a distinct difference in their tactics to achieve those goals. As a creative agency that often provides PR and marketing services to the same client, it is essential to foster a clear understanding of each activity.
The definitions: PR vs marketing
It’s easy to get confused about the differences between PR and marketing. No wonder, as both of them aim to improve company performance, they take different paths to get there.
The first step toward understanding the gap between PR and marketing communication is learning their definitions.
What is Public Relations?
Public relations, known as PR, is a long-term process of building and maintaining positive relations between the company and its closest environments, i.e., customers, employees, investors, and media. PR is focused on image-oriented, strategic activities that are planned for the long term. Keeping these activities aligned with the company’s goals is extremely important, so they must be reconsidered and reworked constantly.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is a much broader concept than public relations. It focuses directly on the market, demand, and product. Its main goal is to promote the company, and as a result, increase sales. Marketing refers to actions targeted at potential and existing customers for a specific purpose, usually actions that lead to a purchase.
In what ways are PR & marketing different?
1. Public relation is two-way communication. Against this, marketing is a monologue activity, which involves only one way of communication.
2. PR and marketing strategies tend to target different audiences. A marketer’s primary focus is the customer, most often the person who will make the purchasing decision. Establishing the right target group (those most likely to become interested in the product) is vital to achieving the company’s economic goals.
PR focuses on a broader audience – customers, the media, influencers, and all other potential stakeholders. It depends on the company’s current needs, but sometimes marketing and PR strategies (in a matter of target audience) overlap.
3. Marketers strive to satisfy the needs of their customers. By creating a need within a potential customer, marketers can encourage them to purchase the product. The main goal of a marketing campaign is to generate sales and increase revenue and profits (as soon as possible). PR is not intended to create needs but serves primarily to build a positive image and shape a positive perception of the organization’s activities. It does not always directly impact sales. You shouldn’t expect immediate results. They won’t come right away; it takes time.
4. Marketing aims at converting shoppers into buyers, i.e. to create sales. On the contrary, public relation aims at building trust and maintaining a company’s reputation.
5. Public relations is earned media, i.e. free media whereby the organization gains publicity through third-party endorsements such as word-of-mouth, press conferences, news releases, speeches, etc. As opposed to marketing, whose foundation is paid media, which includes radio, television, and print advertising.
6. In marketing, your focus is on the here and now. You want to improve your performance and attain your goals quickly. That is why marketing goals tend to be short-term, and marketers don’t look too far ahead. Once, have taken into account the current outcomes, they can decide what to do. In contrast, PR requires patience. Unlike marketing, which aims at immediate sales, PR can be treated as a long-term investment, which pays off after some time.
7. The process of maintaining a positive relationship and managing the flow of information between the company and society at large is called Public Relations (PR). The range of activities that includes the creation, communication, and delivering products and services of value to the customers, is called marketing.