Public relations and marketing are often confused. Even though these two concepts intertwine, they function separately. Nevertheless, their synergy is essential for the company’s success. There is no doubt that both PR and marketing are the basis for the functioning of any business. 

It is worth noting the differences between those concepts. This allows for more efficient promotional and marketing activities.

Public relations explained

Public relations deals with the company’s image and strategic issues that are long-term. It also focuses on current topics, e.g., the preservation of the natural environment. Public relations target shaping the brand’s image, its relation with the environment and, additionally, analyzes the company’s problems and try to eliminate them. Building a positive image is the basis for the company’s functioning. For this reason, linking PR with marketing is very important, because a good image, and at the same time customer’s trust in the brand, drive profit, which is the overriding goal of marketing efforts. As a result, the concepts are often combined with each other. The line between PR and marketing is very thin. Currently, it is frequently even required to coordinate the actions of both areas.

What is marketing?

Marketing covers a much larger area than PR. It deals with social processes that are aimed at recognizing, stimulating, as well as shaping and satisfying customer requirements. Marketing is designed to provide the clients of a given company with the necessary goods and services. The main task of the employees responsible for marketing is the sale of products intended for specific recipients, taking into account the place, time and price, as well as the promotion optimal for a given sales channel.

Companies with the best marketing strategy can evoke a desire among potential customers to buy the advertised product. This also applies to situations where they did not feel such a need beforehand because they did not know the brand. Marketing aims to achieve the best possible sales results of the company and strengthen its position on the market.

Differences between PR and marketing

Public relations can be considered as one of the elements of marketing, which is focused on presenting the brand and its products on the market. PR is responsible for maintaining the best image of the company, limiting its direct impact on the goods it offers. The activities illustrate how a given company wants to be perceived and in which direction it wants to go in the outside world. The created image sometimes differs from the actual condition of the enterprise, showing it in a much better light. Marketing is about identifying actual solutions that are not always the most desirable but bring real results. They are reflected in the reduction of losses and the achievement of the expected level of profitability.


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PR and marketing — classification of differences

Once we know what PR and marketing are, we can classify the differences between them. Below are the criteria that should be considered.

  • Goal – in the case of PR, the goal is to gain a positive opinion and trust among its environment, taking into account the values and the form of the company’s operation. Marketing, on the other hand, focuses mainly on creating demand, which influences the maximization of sales revenues.
  • The area of activity – public relations relates to the company’s activities towards the surrounding (both outside and inside the organization). PR can be targeted at customers, company employees, or investors. Marketing activities focus on current and future customers.
  • The needs of recipients – PR informs what is currently happening in the company. It is different in the case of marketing, which focuses on meeting the needs of customers for a given good.

Why is PR confused with marketing?

Many people, even experts from the industry, have difficulty distinguishing between PR and marketing. The prevalence and activity of social media considerably blur the line between these two concepts. Overlapping goals and joint undertaking of activities result in the frequent joining of the two separate areas. Although there are many similarities between their goals, the techniques for achieving them are different.

However, PR and marketing cannot be separated. To be effective, they must cooperate with each other. Such operation brings many benefits to enterprises, reflected in the market success and increasing demand for the offered products or services among target groups.

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