Whether you choose to admit it or not, you are heavily defined by your profession. It’s what you do every day, how you earn a living, and – most of all – it provides real insight into your personality. It’s not uncommon to be asked “What do you do for a living?”, but what is surprising is what happens after I answer this question. I work in public relations, but when I tell people that, they start talking to me about marketing. While they often get lumped together in industry-types or job descriptions, marketing, branding, PR, and advertising are not all one and the same.
I’ve compiled some key differences, and what you need to know to distinguish the two.
Marketing is the umbrella under which the branding, PR and advertising industries live. The two subjects are heavily intertwined, and both marketing and PR play substantive roles in accomplishing client goals and objectives. At its core, however, marketing focuses on the sale of products and services while public relations focuses on relationships. The ultimate focus of a PR strategy is the reputation management of a brand through generating positive media coverage, whereas the ultimate focus of a marketing strategy is monetary profit.
Besides the focus of the two subjects, the goal of marketing differs from the overarching vision of public relations. The general goal of marketing is to achieve direct revenue. And while marketing is mainly concerned with the promotion and sales of a product, public relations is intended to create and manage a favorable image of the company to the public.
Another distinction between public relations and marketing is the type of media they use. While modern-day media practices make it difficult to get a company’s message heard organically, there are marketing techniques to promote it. Paid media serves as a method for promoting content and driving exposure; A tactic used by both industries, but mainly a component of marketing. And there are variety of paid techniques you can use to amplify your owned media and help you win more earned media.
For PR professionals, the main source of media is referred to as earned media. Quite simply, earned media refers to media exposure you’ve received through word-of-mouth. From the content you've created to the influence of your SEO efforts, earned media is the recognition you incur as a result.
Both sources of media are needed within a successful company, and both options can be leveraged to boost your exposure. It all depends on where your target audience is the most active and engaged with your brand.
Engaging with your audience is imperative for both marketing and public relations efforts. With so many brands simultaneously competing for attention, marketing and public relations professionals need to have a strategy in place to help a company stand out amongst the crowd. In order to do so, one needs to know the difference between a company’s target market and target audience.
The target market is a group of people that a business decides to aim its marketing efforts towards. These potential customers are the ones that are most likely to purchase the product or service by their demographics, including age, location, ethnicity, etc. On the other hand, a target audience is a group of people that a company wants to influence through their brand’s messages and products. Rather than the ultimate goal of selling a product, a public relations professional aims for the target audience to engage with a company’s brand.
One quality marketing and public relations difference is the length of the strategies used. As where a marketing strategy can be short lived, PR reaps its benefits over a longer period of time. While marketing seeks to drive instant, tangible sales and success, the benefits of a PR strategy can be viewed as a long term investment a company would recognize for future achievements. Public relations promotes positive communication between the company and consumer. Good public relations allows for a company to build relationships with its customers for years to come.
In conclusion, we would like to point out that though marketing and public relations can be contrasting, it is NOT a love/hate relationship. Public relations should always be a component of your marketing strategy, and savvy business leaders should learn to integrate marketing and PR into their business strategies in order to better achieve success.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about the public relations and marketing services offered by The Burnette Agency, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 404-850-2081.