PR and Marketing: What’s the Difference?

When discussing public relations and marketing, the two terms are often used interchangeably. There are, however, real differences between the two, and each has its own unique role in getting the word out about your brand!  

The first step toward improving your PR and marketing skills is to fully understand each of these important components to your business’s strategy. This blog dives in to discuss their similarities, differences, and how you can leverage them to boost your business! 


What is Marketing? 

While related, PR and marketing are separate terms that describe different business functions. Marketing is defined as the activities and strategies involved in selling a product or service to customers. This is, however, a very broad definition that encompasses a lot of different components. Marketing includes all of the advertising a company does, as well as all of the other processes that establish brands and identify key benefits that customers are looking for. 

There are numerous facets that make up a broad marketing strategy. Some include: 

  • Market Research
  • Brand Promotions
  • Paid Ads
  • Pricing Strategies
  • Customer Support
  • And – Public Relations!


What is PR? 

Interestingly enough, PR (public relations) is one of the many components of marketing! In this way, it’s a more honed-in and specific tactic and serves a distinct purpose. 

PR deals with the communication strategy of a business and how that strategy can change the perception of brands and businesses in the public eye. In short, PR is about making sure that customers appreciate a business and its brands – not just about pushing products and services to generate sales. 

There are many other subsets of public relations, including: 

  • Press Releases
  • Social Media Posts
  • Community Relations
  • Crisis Management
  • Public or Private Events


What are their similarities and differences? 

After comparing the two definitions we just covered, it’s clear that marketing and PR aren’t the same thing – but they are undoubtedly linked! Public relations is a critical component to an overall marketing strategy, and it’s important that these two concepts are used in tandem. 

Businesses must find a balance between the hard “sell, sell, sell” mentality that characterizes some marketing efforts and the conceptual storytelling that is more associated with PR tactics. They each have their own goals – many marketing tactics are designed to directly influence sales by putting products and services in front of consumers, while public relations is geared toward creating positive feelings around a brand in the hopes that it will make selling easier.   


How can I use them to build my brand and business? 

Though they each achieve a different goal, your business needs to use a mix of both of these concepts to successfully get the word out! A business that comes up short in their PR can be perceived as pushy and unrelatable, leading to lower sales. But public relations can’t stand alone; PR is meant to supplement a more overarching marketing strategy whose goal is to directly move products and services.  


There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to creating these interlocking strategies, and your business needs to find the right mix. If it seems daunting, don’t worry – just call on the expert team at Baer Performance Marketing! We’ve been helping businesses develop and execute marketing and PR strategies for more than 15 years, and we’d love to help guide your business toward real, measurable results. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.