There are a lot of blurred lines when it comes to public relations and marketing. They intertwine so seamlessly that it can be easy to mistake one for the other. Often times when I tell others I work in PR, they’ll usually respond with something along the lines of “oh, so like, you do marketing?” This is usually when I take a deep breath and go into a “well…” explanation.
When I was first deciding on what career path I wanted to take in college, all I knew was that I would have to end up taking business classes if I wanted to major in marketing. Which meant math. *Gulps.* I ultimately chose the public relations route, which I quickly realized was actually pretty similar to marketing. So, what exactly is the difference between PR and marketing? While both industries use similar methods and tactics to achieve results, they ultimately have separate end goals. Let’s take a look.
- Public Relations: PRSA defines public relations as a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. PRSA goes further on to say that PR is about influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across countless platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organization. At Dittoe PR, we pride ourselves on our proven successes with media relations (i.e. Columbus, Aardvark Straws, Western Golf Association, Stericycle Environmental Solutions and more). Not only do we focus on building relationships with media, but we help build the reputation of our clients’ brands, too.
- Marketing: On the flip side, marketing is the action of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. It’s the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors.
- Public Relations: The goal of PR is to help create awareness and trust for a business or brand. As PR professionals, it’s our job to communicate with various audiences to help generate overall awareness and make others believe in the brand. Building this foundation can help a business build brand recognition within audiences and stand out against its competitors. Our goal is to create a trusted relationship with all of our audiences.
- Marketing: The goal of marketing to create a demand for products or services. Marketers help generate demand in audiences by triggering a response and then directing individuals to a product (or service). A marketer’s goal is to eventually create an interested buyer.
- Public Relations: This is often where the lines get blurred. PR and marketing use very similar tactics and methods for different end results. PR professionals rely on media relations efforts to create relationships with media members. Building these relationships can help to create awareness of a business, brand and/or product. We often used earned media efforts, meaning we don’t pay for a mentions or spotlight features; instead, media members will write a story or mention you in a roundup piece, often times solely because a relationship has already been built.
- Marketing: Marketers often used paid media efforts to achieve their goals. Again, this is where things can start to intertwine, because many marketers will end up using tactics PR professionals use with media. It’s just as important to create meaningful relationships with media members. However, marketers will spend advertising dollars to generate overall demand in a product or service.
Bottom line: PR uses media to create awareness; marketing uses media to generate demand.
Ultimately, when used together, PR and marketing are a force to be reckoned with. When used properly, PR and marketing can encourage people to tell each other about a new restaurant, trust that the restaurant has good food, visit the restaurant and finally buy a meal.