What is the Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations?

What is the Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations

When colleges began offering two different programs for marketing and public relations students, a lot of people were both surprised and confused by the move. This is due to an underlying misconception that many people have when it comes to these two fields. Namely, the number of individuals who think that public relations and marketing are the same thing is incredibly high. In reality, however, they could not be more different.

The Objective of Marketing

To better understand how the two differ, first consider what the bottom-line objective of marketing is. In simple terms, marketers are in the business of promoting products and placing them in front of people who are most likely to purchase. That means that marketing aims to push forward some company’s offering in a manner that will maximize their conversion rates and increase profits. Some common sub-areas here include digital advertising, newsletters, paper-based campaigns, and so on.

The Objective of Public Relations

Public relations (PR) have been around for about as long as advertising. They also target the external market and have a lot to do with the potential audience of some company. The difference, however, is that public relations aim to improve the relationship between the company and its users, associates, partners, and everyone else. According to Forbes, agents who work in public-relation-based campaigns simply want to ensure that the organization’s reputation remains intact and favorable.

A Brand New Product – From the Marketing Perspective

To showcase an actual scenario, consider a company that has just developed a brand new product that will soon be available to their buyers. From an advertising standpoint, that product will now need to undergo promotion campaigns, social media reviews, and other ventures that will raise people’s awareness about it. In translation, marketers will have to figure out a way to make sure that as many people as possible learn about this new development. Doing so will allow them to increase initial sales and make enough money to make that product worthwhile. Hence why one of the main considerations when it comes to advertising revolves around costs.

A Brand New Product – From the Public Relations Perspective

When looking at the new product from the PR side, however, the company will try to showcase why their development is important and useful. They will not be worried about selling it here. Instead, their goal is to help people understand how the product is going to make the community better. This will allow them to maintain a positive image in the media and continue to enjoy a favorable status that leads to future sales. Of course, it is important to note that most new products will seldom have anything to do with the PR department. The scenario here is just a hypothetical comparison based on some true generalizations.


Ultimately, both marketing and public relations are going to rely on advanced technology and creativity to reach their end-results. A great example would be all the companies who have used their social media to both promote new products as well as interact with their buyers and fans. It is also possible to have a campaign that possesses qualities that would make it eligible for either of these two sectors. Nonetheless, there are numerous differences between traditional marketing and public relations.

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