Is PR the same as Marketing?

To be clear from the start of this blog, the answer is NO!

For years there has been great confusion between the two and for a PR practitioner it can be quite frustrating because people just assume PR is just a different term for marketing. They are different yet have similarities.

The confusion is mainly based around the fact that they share the same methods and tactics; however, having a different goal. There are many differences that will forever change people’s perception on what PR actually is and I will be highlighting the crucial aspects in this blog.

What everyone needs to understand is the fact that the confusion is to do with the fact that marketing uses public relations as a part of their strategy which then makes people believe that public relations is just another word of marketing whereas its just a function of marketing in a way.

Lets start with the definition of Public Relations: ‘Public relations is communication between an organization and its various stakeholders—both internal and external.’ Barbara KowalskiModern Health Communications, Inc. Although there isn’t a proper definition of PR, there are countless ones found on many different platforms. My personal definition would be: Public relations is a management function used to create awareness and a relationship between the organisation and the public; primarily focusing on the reputation.

Marketing is defined as: “Marketing is the process of exposing target customers to a product through appropriate tactics and channels, gauging their reaction and feedback, and ultimately facilitating their path to purchase. Dr. Augustine Fou, Founder, Marketing Science Consulting Group, Inc.

Although they have great similarities, why are they NOT the same thing? This is because they use platforms for different reasons. PR practitioners use the media to create awareness, to provide information and to maintain a relationship with their audiences whereas Marketers use media to create demand for their organisations products and services.

Here are the TOP 3 differences:

  1. Targets

Marketing focuses on reaching current and potential customers whereas PR aims to reach the public as a whole to create positive relationships with anyone who has an interest in the organisation.


When comparing goals of the two, PR’s goal is to create awareness and trusted relationships with the public. Whereas, marketing’s goal is to create demand for the organisations’ products and services.


Marketing uses branded materials to get their messages out eg: websites, flyers, banners, promo products, newsletters, online platforms. Public relations use specific tools like: special events, press conferences, news releases, feature stories, social media etc.

After reading countless blogs on this topic and researching, it is clear to say that there is a still ongoing research as everybody has their own personal opinions on the two roles. (see source list below for more)

I conducted a short questionnaire to get an idea of out of the 12 people I sent it to, what they know about PR and if they believe it is the same as marketing. The results clearly show that 66% of the participants thought that PR fit the best into the Marketing category rather than the other category’s of:  advertisement, business or communications. While 16% chose advertisement. Although the similarities do a great job or showing how intact they are with each other, the participants that completed the survey still don’t really know what PR actually is. One of the first questions in the survey is “Give a short definition of PR” Many answers again related back to marketing or influencer marketing. This also could be due to social media influencers always referring back to their promotion packages as “PR” which have given society a different approach to what PR is. I have come to realize since doing my degree that people who are not working within an organisation have little to no knowledge on the PR industry and how actually important it is to many people.


After reading this blog I hope you all have understood the differences and that the two roles are reliant on each other in some way. However due to new technologies and digital marketing taking over bigger roles in organisations. The two roles have worked to become more separate as things get more complex due to more platforms coming into place to control. The most successful organisations have their communication strategies into place with a good relationship with their consumers when both PR and marketing are used in order to reach the correct audiences.

It is important that everyone knows the differences between the two as they are both crucial in any industry and their success.

#marketing #PR #whatisPR #MarketingvsPR

Blogs I found interesting to read about this topic:

My Survey:

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