As PR professionals we are often asked how public PR and Marketing differ from one another. Both PR and Marketing contribute a great deal to brand success, but often the role of PR can be misjudged with many people thinking that PR works in the same way or is able to provide the same results as marketing and advertising.
So, what’s the difference? Here is our comparison below;
Reputation vs Direct Sales
PR is focused more on managing a brand’s reputation. PR professionals seek to do this by generating positive media coverage and facilitating effective stakeholder communication. An aim of PR is to work hard at building and strengthening positive attitudes towards a company, brand or project. In contrast, Marketing largely entails promotional and direct marketing, it also involves advertising which is aimed at attracting direct sales.
According to CP Communications, ‘Marketing is generally defined as a business investment – paid branding and promotional activities with new customers being the ROI. Whereas PR is classified as free exposure for increasing credibility around a company’s image.’ It is difficult to measure return on investment from PR activity and coverage, this is because it’s difficult to measure change in perception or beliefs – it is more straightforward to measure marketing because of direct sales.
People can easily recognise that advertising and marketing are driven by a company’s desire to increase sales. When you see an advert it’s obvious to spot the marketing tactics, but with PR the communication channels comprise of several forms – articles, conference speakers, product placement, bloggers or social media influencers – messages from these channels are regarded subconsciously by consumers. There’s a level of trust that is formed when a consumer reads an article with a mention of your brand or product or a whole feature written by a credible a journalist or a review from an influencer.
Audience and goals
PR is maintaining positive relationships with anyone who has an interest in the organisation, brand or project, this can potentially cover a wider audience. In comparison, Marketing aims to reach current and potential customers in order make them think, believe or do some kind of sales focused action. Marketing aims to achieve direct revenue, while PR is trying to drive a positive reputation through effective PR strategies.