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Are Public Relations And Marketing The Same?

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You might have heard of the terms “public relations” and “marketing” associated with one another. Maybe you know someone who works in one sector. Maybe you work in one and yet you still might find yourself asking, quietly, and ashamed: are marketing and public relations actually the same thing? Don’t fret, you’re not alone! While it might be too easy to mix them up, they actually have some key differences. 

The Differences


Let’s start with the definitions of the two terms. What, exactly, is marketing? According to, it’s the “activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Simply put: marketing is all about getting the target audience to buy a company’s product or service. Public relations, on the other hand, is centered on the public’s perception of the company or business, hence the name “public relations.” 

Daily Job Objectives

The daily activities of professionals in both sectors are different, in that the goals that they need to achieve are different. For example, a marketing manager might brainstorm ideas for an ad campaign that will really generate sales for a new service or product launch. They might utilize their design skills or hire a graphic designer to create collateral for the company that would aid its sales, such as a website or product packaging. Most of the day-to-day activities of a marketing manager will focus on ways to advertise the brand and its specific services. Meanwhile, a publicist will focus on curating press releases. They will also focus on keeping the central message and identity of the company up-to-date. Lastly, they will build relationships with other professionals or influencers in the industry. All of the goals of a public relations professional will be centered on making sure that the media paints the company’s image in a positive light. Publicists make sure that the company’s target audience is receptive to it. 

Measurement Of Success

How do you know you’ve done your job well as a marketing manager? You’ve met the sales goals of the company. Your target audience is receptive to the ads, campaigns and product launches you’ve initiated for the company. As a publicist, you will know you’re good at your job if the perceived image of your business by the media is positive. Is your target audience reacting positively? If there are no negative articles written or television appearances that paint your business in a less-than-savory light, then you know you’re a successful publicist. 

How Marketing And Public Relations Work Together

So, they have their key differences. Marketing is a more sales-focused discipline with deals with the short-term successes of a product or service launch for the company. Public relations is more centered on the longevity of the brand. Publicists care how a brand is viewed by their target audience. They also focus on how a brand portrayed in the media. However, it’s important to note that there’s a valid reason so many people get the two professions confused. They are so intertwined with each other that if a business were to be lacking in one of these departments, it would be very hard for it to be successful in the other department. Essentially, you can’t really have marketing without public relations. If you’re a publicist, you’ll need to do some marketing to succeed, as well.

Social Media

The best example of this would be in the rise of social media in recent years. You might have heard of social media marketing, or digital media marketing. It is one of the fastest growing forms of marketing there is. It’s also arguable the most important type of marketing you’ll need to do in order to get your business out there and received by the public. It blurs the line between marketing and public relations. Social media provides a way for businesses to be more personal and connected with their audiences more than ever before. Have you seen companies on social media that have great engagement with their customers? These are the companies that are able to market their products and have the greatest return on investment. Why is that? Simply put, customers will buy from companies that they feel they can connect with. They need to really trust the company. Public relations is super important when it comes to marketing your business because no one will support a business that they do not feel has a morally correct ethos. 

In Conclusion

So, marketing and public relations have their differences, and it’s good to understand what makes each profession unique and important. However, when it comes to successfully managing your business, they are two sides of the same coin. They are harmoniously intertwined with one another and work off of each other. You can’t have one without the other and still own a successful business.

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