Marketing and Public Relations: Why Knowing the Difference Matters

Planning effective marketing and public relations (PR) campaigns requires familiarity with the core functions of both practices. How can you effectively implement both marketing and PR? How can you maximize synergies between the two?

As you launch what could be “the next big thing”, you must pay attention to the relationship between your communications and marketing offices. Understanding how they differ is essential for properly integrating PR and marketing and ensuring you effectively promote your brand.

Differences Between Marketing and Public Relations

marketing vs public relations infographics

One focuses on brand awareness, one on market trends

The role of PR is to create awareness about your brand and cultivate relationships with target groups – the public, the media and influential people who will help you promote and maintain brand awareness. Your PR ensures that your brand is conveyed through the proper channels and that your communications will positively influence public perception of your company’s products.

That said, your PR should create the story of your brand through press releases and pitch it to the appropriate communications channels – traditional and online media. Your PR takes care of building relationships with journalists, bloggers and social media commentators in your community. PR also involves hosting activities and events that will appeal to your target customers. These activities should not be limited to lifestyle gatherings and meetups. Engaging activities can be held through your social media channels, too, in the form of fun contests, trivia, and other events.

Marketing, meanwhile, involves constantly monitoring market trends through research, analyzing the preferences and behavior of target consumers, and ensuring the advertising collaterals are in place. It also promotes consumption of your product or service and expansion of your consumer base.

Marketing comes in to make sure you have the necessary materials, like flyers and posters, for your brand’s promotions. Your marketing should produce good visuals, like photos or videos, for your direct or online marketing needs and should work closely with your graphics and advertising partners.

One is immediate, one takes time

Most of the time, the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaign is immediate and apparent. On the contrary, the impact of your PR campaign will be felt after a longer period of time. Influencing public opinion and cultivating relationships naturally requires patience. Understanding this reality will help you set appropriate expectations and more effectively gauge the success of your integrated marketing and PR campaigns.

When you want to convey a message or attract attention, don’t forget to ask “Who do I want to appeal to?” PR organizes activities that will get the attention of the media, which could lead to broader coverage and publicity. Marketing, meanwhile, involves implementing campaigns based on factors like consumer behavior, age, gender and income, to name a few.

Best when both are used together

Understanding the differences between marketing and PR is a step towards converting these differences into opportunities. In fact, the coordinated implementation of both strategies has propelled many businesses to success. Your business could be next.

Take note that like in any relationship or collaboration, reconciling differences is not always easy. Eventually you’ll get the hang of things as your knowledge and experience matures.

If you cannot afford to hire a PR or marketing agency in the early stage of your startup, don’t worry because you can always create your own team. You’ll be surprised to know there are successful businesses who are run by one-man PR and marketing staff who draft budgets, writes press releases, handles the layout and promotes campaigns.

At the end of the day, marketing and PR’s goal is mutual–to spread the news about a good brand, which will benefit both the public and the company. The two work best when used together. Know what each discipline’s priorities are, what each role entails and how you can combine their strengths to achieve your goals.

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Multimedia storyteller and a former assistant content editor for an online news site. When she runs out of words and pauses from writing, she runs ultra- marathon races for a cause, dances her heart out, and buries herself in books and becomes invisible. She loves Doctor Who and she believes she’s a daughter of Time and Space.