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The Difference Between PR & Marketing Explained

The Difference Between PR & Marketing Explained

Weslie Oeftering
Weslie Oeftering
The Difference Between PR & Marketing...

As I discussed in my predictions of 2019’s biggest PR trends, PR and marketing are becoming increasingly integrated. “Integrated,” however, does not mean that PR and marketing are merging into one new super-discipline. It simply means that as we progress further into this new space where everything digital reigns supreme, it is increasingly the case that PR and marketing must work together for a campaign to be successful.

In other words, no marketing campaign is complete without PR, and no PR campaign is complete without marketing. Therefore, it is actually more important than ever to clearly distinguish the difference between PR and marketing so that they can most effectively be implemented into a campaign.

Public Relations:

PR is the professional management of a company’s, organization’s, or person’s favorability amongst the general public. It is making sure that everyone likes a brand by using earned and owned media channels. Although PR is important for many reasons, the main reason is that when people like something, they are more likely to trust it and therefore are more likely to buy it. The same goes for PR professionals who are working for people instead of businesses. The more the public likes someone, like an actor, politician, or another public figure, the more likely it is that people will hire/vote for them.

A PR professional’s day-to-day usually looks something like this:

  • Pitching stories to and building relationships with the media
  • Press releases
  • Scheduling press conferences, appearances on the news or other events
  • Preventing and managing crises by trying to control (i.e. “spin”) the messaging around an issue as much as possible
  • Event planning for product launches
  • Curating content for social media pages and blogs (while this used to be a primary function of marketing, it is increasingly controlled by PR)


On the other hand, the American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Simply put, marketing is trying to sell a company’s products or services by promoting said products or services. Marketers (whether in-house or agency) usually decide the best way to promote a product after doing market research. The data they collect from this will give them a better idea of who their target audience is and how best to reach them.

A marketing professional’s day-to-day usually looks something like this:

  • Writing an email newsletter
  • Conducting and analyzing market research
  • Studying website traffic data
  • Following up on prospects and leads
  • Designing ads and other materials for product launches

The Main Difference:

If you take away anything from this blog post let it be this: the most crucial difference between PR and marketing is that while marketing is explicitly about investing money to make more money, PR is about using communication channels that you have complete control over (social media pages, company websites, etc.) to earn and maintain trust, which in turn usually earns a company more money. A PR campaign usually lasts longer than a marketing campaign. This is because marketing is more about piquing the public’s interest, whereas PR is maintaining that interest in the long-run so they stick around as you create and improve your products and services.


About Weslie Oeftering: Weslie is a student at The University of Texas at Austin and Swyft’s resident PR and marketing intern. She supports clients with social media, blogging, and tech PR activities. Swyft is a top PR agency in Houston with offices in Denver, Houston and Antwerp that provides PR global PR services and trade show PR support for tech companies around the world. Some of their services include media relations, content and inbound marketing, CPC campaigns, and marketing automation consulting.


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