The Difference Between Marketing, Public Relations & Advertising

I’m often asked what I do for a living, and I always reply “I work in public relations.” Usually the response is, “So that’s like advertising? Or marketing?” Well, kind of. Not really. No, not really at all.

As Dr. Lisa Fall at the University of Tennessee used to tell me, marketing, advertising and PR are all first-cousins. They’re closely related, but they’re very different in their functions, objectives and tactics, though they may all lead to the same goal.

I typically end up explaining the difference (even my parents still don’t understand!). And many companies we do business with at Dittoe PR have trouble distinguishing between the three. I recently came across this perfect visual description of the notion from Ads of the World, an advertising archive showcasing campaigns from around the world.

So here it is: the difference between marketing, PR and advertising.

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