Most professionals also find it difficult to distinguish marketing from public relations. Despite the confusion, there are important differences between marketing and public relations.

  1. FOCUS

At base, marketing focuses on products and services while public relations focus on relationships.



Marketing and PR are management functions. However, the two serve different purposes. Marketing directly contributes to an organization’s bottom line. Public relations indirectly support an organization’s goals and objectives.



Marketing’s target is the customer. Marketers strive to meet customer demands in order to move goods and services from producer to consumer. PR targets a range of publics and goals that collectively support an organization’s objectives. Examples of these publics (or stakeholders) include customers, the media, employees, suppliers, the community, investors, political leaders, financial and trade analysts, and more.



Public relations contribute to organizational success by building and maintaining a positive social, business and political environment. Positive and well-placed news coverage likely generated by PR benefits and lifts an organization’s marketing and price promotion strategy.



Paid media – This category includes print, radio and television advertising. Paid media plays a major role in the marketer’s campaign strategy and consumes the bulk of most marketing budgets.


Owned media – Examples include websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter profiles. It hasn’t been established which function marketing or PR holds the key to social media’s kingdom.

Earned media – Earned or “free” media is part of the PR. Earned media is published through third parties such as bloggers, journalists and other influencers. It also includes word-of-mouth transmission via social media. Earned media is perceived as more credible than paid media because of third party-endorsements.


Both marketing and PR play important roles in accomplishing corporate goals and objectives.



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