Questions Sales and Marketing

What is the difference between marketing and public relations?


Randolph Dwyer

Form ever follows function

Many people are often confused if there exists a difference between Marketing and Public Relations. Very often, some people turn to use the two terms interchangeably and use one to refer the other. Although Marketing and Public Relations are often grouped, they both have their purpose, goals, and measure of success that are unique to them. If you have always found it difficult to distinguish the differences between the two clearly, then read on because your doubts will be cleared. The paragraphs that follow will try to sort this existing confusion on Marketing and Public relations by clearly outlining the differences that exist between the two. 

Activities Carried out
Different functions and activities are carried out for Marketing and Public Relations. In Marketing, the events involved are advertising, sales, promotional activities, and direct marketing. It focuses on activities geared towards selling and promoting the goods and services of a company. Public relations, on the other hand, focuses on managing the reputation of the company through good communication with the key publics of the company and the generation of positive media coverage. 
Audiences targeted

Marketing and Public Relations target different audiences.  Marketing activities are aimed at reaching out to the potential and current clients of a company while public relations activities aimed at maintaining and building mutually beneficial relationships with all the different publics of the company.

Measures of success

Marketing and Public Relations use different metrics to measure the success of their campaigns. While marketing campaigns are estimated based on the sales realized, public relations campaigns are measured based on the number of mutually beneficial relationships that have been built and maintained.

Legitimacy of messages

People very often will consider public relations messages delivered through press conferences and articles to be more legitimate than words that are sent out during marketing campaigns. Generally, people trust PR messages than Marketing messages because they believe marketing messages are aimed at persuading people to buy a good or service while PR messages are more likely to be true.


The results of Marketing strategies and campaigns are very often short and instant. Public Relations campaigns on the other hand always offer long term benefits to companies. Marketing seeks to achieve immediate success with sales while Public Relations is a long term investment. 

Although there exist these differences between Marketing and Public Relations, it is important to note that they are both essential for the success of a company or organization. They are reliant on each other for each of them to be successful.

Read more: What is the difference between direct and indirect marketing?

Item added successfully. Go to cart for checkout.
Accept Reject