Difference between Marketing and Public Relations

November 12, 2016 by Editorial Team

Have you been confusing these two economic concepts? Of course you have! And no wonder. How many times has a person applying for a job in PR ended up in an interview for a marketing position that was wrongly advertised? Or how many people with a head for marketing campaigns alone have been forced to do their own PR? Confused about what we are talking about? Then keep reading.


Marketing vs Public Relations

Marketing is the activity of getting a product or service ready for the market. This means it must meet real consumer needs, there must be a demand for it and there must be a market for it; if the product doesn’t meet these criteria, the marketing department must change it until it does. Depending on the type of company, its experience on the market and its budget, the marketing department may already exists and be involved in the product development process, or it may be created later on and handed the product as it has been thought of by developers.

Marketing tasks can sometimes be difficult, especially when dealing with past communication problems with consumers or when the product does not meet any consumer needs. This means creating a market is only possible by completely repositioning it and targeting different consumer segments.

Public relations are in charge of keeping a two-way relationship between clients and producers. This department’s activity must cover everything under the broad definition of keeping a good image for the public. This can mean answering clients and solving problems and past dissatisfaction with the producing company. The tone and the message conveyed by a company are decided in this department.

PR manages the reputation of a product and the company’s relationship with the press, and they must often get public attention without necessarily paying for everything. Enough well-constructed events and some well-written press releases can get a company the coverage it needs without having to buy media space.

Marketing vs Public Relations

So what is the difference between marketing and public relations?

In the big economic order of things, marketing is the department that establishes the entire business strategy in matters of product, market and consumers. Public relations are in charge of dealing with the consumer segment and managing the reputation of the brand.

Marketing can set a communication goal, and PR must reach it. They have their own strategies and tactics. Also, marketing usually needs very quantifiable results for its processes, whereas PR strategies can work, fail or have results after a very long run.

In matters of timing, marketing is short-lived. It is involved in the beginning with making strategies. PR is a constant and long-term endeavor by comparison.

Comparison Chart

MarketingPublic Relations
Handles product development, market placement and communicationsManages the reputation of the brand
Decides on matters of public relations by setting goalsMust achieve said goals
Is quantifiableIs less quantifiable
Is short-lived: a well-drafted business plan can simply be left to be executedNeeds constant attention
Works only one way: from brand to consumer, even though consumer reactions are taken into accountWorks two ways: brand to consumer and consumer to brand