How Public Relations Differs From Marketing

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the two, PR (public relations) and marketing, as they share the same objectives and can be used together. However, each has its distinct characteristics that you should be aware of to best utilize. Below are the five main ways PR is different from marketing.


The most significant difference between marketing and PR is the goal of both. The primary objective of marketing is to determine what customers want and provide this to them. For instance, one of the goals in marketing could be to create leads. The first step is to determine the market they want to target and decide what media and message will most draw them in. It could be posted on social media, web landing pages, emails, or even promotions.

On the other hand, public relations is aimed at placing your brand’s image in the right light and increasing its awareness. One example of PR is to boost brand awareness. Like marketing, you can determine the target market and decide on the medium and message that will appeal to the people. This could be accomplished through media coverage, product placements, or endorsements.

While the process of implementing each may overlap, the most significant distinctions are in the objectives and the motives.

Target Market

The primary market for marketing is typically the current and potential customers. The emphasis is on the factors that will motivate people to purchase the product or service of the company or what makes current customers buy. For instance the sit-down restaurant franchise could be looking to attract a specific group of people who would enjoy their atmosphere and food, and who can afford to go there for a meal. You could also look into who is eating at the restaurant and observe the commonalities among the people. It could be that your single customer is young couples and families.

On the other hand, public relations can help you identify new markets by having ads on a range of media channels. It allows you to approach a broader market than is necessary and therefore connect with current customers and new ones. For instance, if you want to conduct PR for a restaurant franchise, the target audience will not just be couples or families; however, there could be people who go out for dinner.

Measuring the Success

The effectiveness or success is assessed differently in both the realms of PR and marketing. The significance of a marketing campaign can be evaluated using conventional metrics. This is the number of sales, profits levels, and investment return (ROI).

The effectiveness in public relations can be more unpredictable. The significance of PR can be assessed and evaluated by analyzing many diverse factors. Things like traffic to websites and analytics for social media sites and social media engagement sales or leads can be used to assess the effectiveness of PR. This is because PR is all about the branding of a company that can create an effect that flows positively across various channels.


Marketing encompasses a variety of subjects and covers many media and channels. It is a fast-growing expense because it could include TV commercials, mailing campaigns for direct mail, newspapers advertisements, magazines and radio ads, online advertisements, social media ads, video advertisements, and outdoor advertising, to mention just a few. Because a typical marketing campaign utilizes a mix of these media and techniques, it can quickly add up and turn extremely expensive.

PR can prove cost-effective when you are aware of what you’re doing. If you do it right, news stories such as product placement, blogs and even news stories are just as compelling for only a fraction of the cost. This is due to PR’s focus on quality, not quantities. It is based on the method and the efficacy that the media has. The most vital aspects of a PR campaign are its lasting recall and spread of the word following the event.


In most instances, marketing is a form of promotional communication in its best form. For example, in television commercials, flyers, or billboards, companies are usually trying to reach a quick purpose, such as selling the latest product or launching a new product. You’re trying to sell something, whether it’s an item, service, or a company.

Public relations are a more difficult sell since it is a method of communication. Through mediums like product placements, endorsements, or news articles, you might not notice that you’re trying to promote your business or product. Instead of trying to market something, PR is working to achieve a long-term goal of improving the company’s standing. This makes the PR efforts appear more credible and could be more efficient than marketing.

Although public relations and marketing share a lot in common, their goals and strategies differ, and it is crucial to be aware of both to make the most effective use of them. The most effective method is to efficiently combine both techniques to maximize your efforts and budget. Public relations’ benefit generally isn’t just a lower return on investment. The ripple impacts range from boosting your SEO and web traffic to aiding you in gaining the status of verification (receiving the blue tick) through social media.

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Krishna Chaitanya
Krishna is a digital media strategist with experience in the media and publishing industries, He is also the lead marketing strategist for Hustle Chronicle. He is currently employed at Intentify Media & resides in India.

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