The Mix Up: Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising

It’s safe to say that for our generation public relations, marketing and advertising are all in one professional melting pot. This wasn’t always the case, but in recent years it has shown that the best campaigns and strategic plans involve a portion of each. Many public relations internship descriptions will be linked to these two other fields. Although they can go hand in hand with one another, let’s take a look at the difference.


PR vs Advertising

Public relations is earned media where advertising and paid media, plain and simple. When it comes down to drawing the line between the two, advertising is focused on immediate effects for promotion of the product. This difference falls under the telling vs. selling factor.Advertising’s main goal is the sell the product. PR is more concerned with specialized communication with media and building a relationship with them. Another difference is the control factor. Advertising has complete control of what they are portraying to the media. Public relations cannot beassured that their story will be covered and hands over themajority of control to the media. Lastly, the cost difference is another way to separate the two. Advertising often costs significantly more.


PR vs Marketing

Both of these fields are concerned with achieving business goals, but public relations focuses on numerous audiences, where marketing focuses on the customer audiencePublic relations has to keep in mind they are under the watch of many, internally and externally. Marketing wants the sale, bottom line. It puts its efforts in coming up with tactics to drive an immediate purchase. Public relations keeps itsfocus on driving awareness about the story. One quote thatseems to clear things us perfectly is “PR lights the fire, Marketing fans the flames.”


The lines can still be blurry when trying to figure out what falls under each category. Despite their differences, the fields often lend each other a helping hand. Public relations professionals most likely will find themselves working on a project that can be considered advertising or marketing work. When it’s all said and done, you want your brands to be promoted in the best, most effective way which often times means combining a little bit of everything.


This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Gabrielle Lacherza. 

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