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  • Jerome Cleary

What is the difference between PR and marketing?

The main difference between the two terms is that marketing focuses on selling products, while PR focuses on maintaining the company’s positive reputation. Here are some of the biggest differences between PR and marketing:

  • Daily activities: For the most part, marketing and PR professionals spend their time in very different ways. You can often find PR professionals writing press releases, pitching positive stories about the company and building media relationships. Marketing professionals spend their time planning for product launches, creating marketing campaigns and conducting client research.

  • Audience: Another difference between the two departments is the audience they reach. The PR department speaks to different audiences depending on the company's needs. For instance, they may create a positive outreach with the media, company stakeholders or even employees. In comparison, the marketing department is focused mainly on reaching customers and prospects.

  • Goals: When the PR and marketing departments approach their jobs, they have very different goals in mind. PR is focused on creating a positive image for the company and building a positive relationship with the company’s various stakeholders, whereas marketing focuses on reaching customers and prospects and increasing sales for the company.

  • Metrics of success: Another key distinction between marketing and PR is how both departments measure success. PR professionals consider whether or not they effectively created a positive buzz for the company. In comparison, marketing might look at whether a product met its sales goals or the ROI from a recent campaign.

Where do the two overlap?

PR and marketing have different objectives, but there are some inevitable overlaps between the two departments. That’s because the success of one department really hinges on the success of the other.

For instance, the marketing team will have a hard time increasing sales if the company has poor brand awareness. Or, if the company receives a lot of negative press, sales may decline in response.

Social media marketing is an activity that both departments often utilize. That’s because social media can be used to build brand awareness and to carry out targeted marketing campaigns.

The point is that these two departments cannot exist in silos — the best thing your company can do is to align both strategies. This will allow you to maximize your efforts at both and build positive relationships with your target audience.


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