The comparison between marketing and public relations

When I took the job as a content writer in the marketing space, I openly admit that I assumed it would be easy to adjust from a PR background to marketing. Yes, PR has similar tasks to marketing, however, both elements are very much different. The transition from pitching to the media and getting earned media coverage to focusing on writing content encouraging customers to make a purchase on a full-time basis has been hard. With that being said, I am motivated to revisit understanding the difference between PR and marketing in order to adjust and thrive in my current job. This article discusses the differences between PR and marketing.

Brief difference

PR focuses on building and maintaining a positive reputation between a brand and its stakeholders. Whereas marketing is all about promotions and increasing sales. The marketing function also includes advertising and market research. In my opinion, marketing has the superpower to sell, and PR’s superpower is the ability to change people’s minds as well as sway perceptions.

Both elements work towards improving the standing of the company and are both focused on the measurement of success. Here is a breakdown of the differences below:


PR professionals set their goal towards ensuring that the reputation of a brand is positive in the public eye through various channels of communication such as radio, tv, news articles, etc. Goals in PR are not always all about having an impact on sales. Immediate results in PR should not be expected as results do not come right away. Basically, the goals are long-term.

Marketing on the other hand sets its goals for current and potential customers. A need for a potential customer is created by marketing professionals. They work toward convincing a potential customer that they need a certain product or service to make their life easier. Ultimately, they set goals toward satisfying customers’ needs and driving revenue. The goals in marketing focus on short-term results.


PR’s target audience consists of a range of publics. They focus on a much broader audience. Their PR activities could be targeted at the media, customers, influencers, investors, government, or even employees. It all depends on who supports the brand’s objectives as well as the company’s needs at the time.

Measuring success:

Both marketing and PR professionals measure the success of their strategies. PR professionals measure the success of their campaigns by gaining positive media coverage and brand mentions. However, it does not end there, they also measure social media metrics, content marketing and SEO, website metrics, digital marketing KPIs and so forth depending on a company’s need at the time.

Marketing metrics are expansive as they dive deeper into the analysis. Professionals in the marketing space focus more on quantitative data than on qualitative data.


In practice, PR professionals focus on communication strategies as well as crisis management. When the PR teams are not busy saving the world through crisis communication their responsibilities include planning events, putting together a press release, and dealing with the media.

On the other hand, digital marketing professionals find themselves being responsible for a huge portion of a brand’s online presence. They could be focused on developing a web app or on social media. These professionals manage social media profiles, conduct market research, or manage ad campaigns. Their activities could be coordinated with sales.



Both PR and marketing professionals use social media as a tool to fulfil their strategies. The only difference is that in PR social media is used to create and maintain a positive image of a brand whereas in marketing it is used to keep and attract potential customers. Another similarity both functions have is they both use communication tools to present their ideas or message to the public.


A lot of people still confuse PR and marketing, even people within the industry themselves. As much as the two functions may have similarities such as social media, their activities, goals, and campaigns are different. Brands that have PR and marketing teams that work together have the power to give a massive boost to a company’s sales and profitability. The two have features that complement each other so it will be effective for brands to use the two elements in conjunction to reach the ultimate objective of increasing sales, creating brand awareness, and creating a positive brand image in the public eye.


Pearlmar Chauke