What is the Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations?

What is the Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations?

5 June, 2015

The disciplines blur when you get to owned media…

Marketing and public relations are definitely different, but the distinction is blurring in the current environment-especially when you discuss blogs and other owned media.

The easiest way to differentiate marketing from public relations is by asking whether or not it was paid for. Another way to differentiate is knowing that marketing is product-based, while public relations is relationship-based. Likewise, marketing’s aim is the bottom line, while public relations looks to create positive perceptions.

That said, both marketing and public relations concern communicating a story. The sticky area is when we get to the burgeoning world of content marketing.

Most people know the four p’s or marketing- product, price, place and promotion. These days marketing and public relations can become blurred, especially when you get to the fourth p. Marketing here has traditionally concerned itself with advertising. But with the advent of social media, search engine optimization- and we might as well just say the Internet, a larger portion of efforts now are focused on content marketing.

Another way to say this is inbound marketing, which is marketing using owned media, i.e. a website or even social media accounts. In a way, you can think of this as public relations without a media intermediary, but it can just as easily be thought of as marketing. One function of public relations has been to create “content” in the form of press releases and other tools, and using relationships with media outlets to tell a story about a business or product.

Content marketing is using the creation of content and publishing it on owned media to allow customers to find a business (pull), rather than a business pushing a message onto customers (push).

While public relations is no less important, marketing has increasingly concerned itself with creating content and using it to increase awareness, secure new leads and nurture customers. One way this is done is through blogging on topics ideally that are at an intersection between the expertise of a business and the needs of a customer.

It’s this idea of owned media that have blurred the lines between public relations and marketing. Here they are distinct disciplines working at common goals.