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4 Min. Read

Understanding The Difference Between PR and Marketing

Understanding The Difference Between PR and Marketing

It’s an easy and common mistake to get confused about the differences between marketing and PR. After all, they are both there to promote an organisation and its products.

But the terms marketing and public relations aren’t in fact interchangeable. So if you’re looking to go into one of these fields, or you’re looking to promote your own business - it’s vital that you know the difference.

Defining the difference between marketing and PR is a vital element to running a successful business. It can help you to create better, more focused marketing and PR campaigns with better objectives, goals and overall outcomes.

So what exactly is the difference between PR and marketing? Let’s take a closer look.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is Marketing?

What Is PR?

How Do You Measure Success?

Does PR and Marketing Have the Same Target Audience?

Key Takeaways

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is the overall process of boosting the public awareness of your product, service or business.

A company's marketing team is responsible for planning and executing the company’s marketing strategy. This is from pinpointing a target audience, researching the market and setting a budget all the way through to product launches.

What Is PR?

As we've seen, marketing focuses more towards public awareness. But PR focuses on maintaining the reputation of the company within the media.

The goal of a PR team is to get their employers or clients noticed, and build and maintain a positive relationship with the media.

Marketing professionals concentrate on advertising through normal means. Whilst the PR team will concentrate on positive press coverage. This is still a form of advertising, but in a more subtle manner.

A successful public relations strategy includes press releases and contacting media professionals. They also do things such as organising public forums. Essentially everything is media based.

A PR team will also act as a representative in public when their organisation needs to give a public statement or comment.

How Do You Measure Success?

When a PR team is looking to measure the impact of their actions, they will tend to assess metrics such as the following:

  • Positive Reputation: They will take a look at the amount of positive press that has been generated. Whether that’s online or on other platforms such as broadcast or trade publications.
  • Awards Won: A PR team will be responsible for applying for any awards at industry events.
  • Buzz: PR teams will focus on creating a buzz about their product or service to the overall public. This could be through social media advertising, influencers, bloggers etc.

However, a marketing team gauges their success in different ways. Some of these ways may include:

  • Sales Goals: Every business will have goals that they set for themselves. Part of a business's marketing efforts will be to either meet or exceed these goals.
  • Overall ROI: ROI, or return on investment, is an important metric when it comes to marketing success. If you have a positive return on your initial investment then your marketing can be considered successful.
  • Buzz Conversion: This is an area where the two are linked. Marketers will look to capitalise on the buzz created by a PR campaign. If the increase in buzz directly links to an increase in sales, then you can safely say that both aspects are working well.

Does PR and Marketing Have the Same Target Audience?

Even though PR and Marketing are working towards similar goals, they have a different way of targeting audiences.

A Public Relations team's audience is essentially limitless. They will be casting a wide net and seeing what they manage to pick up. They can also focus on personalised or campaign-based outreach to a wide range of audiences. This could be consumers, stakeholders and the media.

However, a marketing team will be more focused on a specific set of people. Most businesses have a precise target audience that they are marketing their products or services to. For example you wouldn’t create an advertising campaign for anti-wrinkle cream and aim it towards teenagers.

Key Takeaways

Both PR and Marketing play a vital role in achieving a businesses long and short-term goals. They both require considerable time, development and research to achieve their objectives and increase the fortunes of their businesses.

Are you looking for more business advice on everything from starting a new business to new business practices?

Then check out the FreshBooks Resource Hub.


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