The thin line between Marketing & Public Relations

According to many experts, there’s a thin line between public relations and marketing and that some of the tasks or objectives of the two could overlap. But that’s really not so. These two sales tools are quite different. Marketing has a narrower definition and is restricted to specific jobs while public relations is much more broad-based and is a far newer concept than pure marketing. It is also an ever-changing one. However, with the exponential growth of social media the two have to share information and also get to know company policies which were not revealed to both in the past. Still, many differences remain, and we’ll examine them here in detail.

Marketing: Marketing is the job of selling or promoting products and services. Marketing encompasses everything to do with sales – knowing the product’s cost, taking all advertising decisions and handling all marketing material like websites, pamphlets and brochures.

Public Relations: A PR man has to encourage the understanding and goodwill that the public has towards the service/product of a company. He has to deepen the passion an individual, organisation, or company has with the persons who matter to the business’s success. These people could be your customers or clients, industry influencers like bloggers, journalists or analysts — or a local council, government authority or industry body — if they have a say in the working of your business.

Major Differences

Let’s take a look at the major differences between marketing and public relations.

The aim of marketing is to sell the services and products of the company, while PR works to maintain and give a boost to the company’s reputation and its many relationships.

Marketing is all about sales; its focus is on potential and existing customers. Marketing people have to meet the demands of the customer and move goods from manufacturers to producers and buyers.

The focus of PR is the image of the company. In a broader sense, PR deals with the general public’s views, as well as those of the important stakeholders like the investors, legislators and the media.

Marketing contributes directly to the company’s bottom line; PR is a function of staff that supports its objectives and goals indirectly. PR, however, has an impact on the success of the company by maintaining and developing good relationships and creating a business environment that’s positive.

Earned vs Paid Media

Marketing makes use of paid media as a major element of its schemes. Advertising that’s paid for is fixed: It appears as per schedule.

PR does not make use of earned media like press releases which appear as part of the news. Basically free, unearned media is out of the company’s control. It cannot insist when or how it is to be published. But it’s an effective tool for third-party support can greatly impact sales.

Some organizations employ a small PR group which functions in the bigger marketing department. But this does not mean that the PR people are doing the job that the marketing staff does. Nor do they possess identical skills.

Examples of PR Techniques:

  • Developing a multi-media strategy so that many activities get promoted at one place.
  • Holding a public act, a social experiment or a stunt- based brand show.
  • Staging an outreach social influencer campaign.
  • Influencing a brand’s sponsorship deal.
  • Initiating and holding social partnership initiatives.
  • Creating and popularising content that aims to ease conversation about a specific issue or topic.
  • Publicity and media activity like contacting a journalist to get a story published.

Examples of Marketing Techniques:

  • Gain market insights to inform about new opportunities to earn more revenue.
  • Develop and price a new product/service.
  • Launch and promote these products/services — including handling support tasks and advertising, PR activities, digital and deal with retailers.
  • Grow and develop product and company’s brands.

Where the Twain Meet

  • Because of the social media, the barriers between marketing and PR have been reduced. Companies post both marketing and PR press releases and marketing campaign plans on Facebook, Twitter, and other media networks. Large companies have a special social media department but small/midsized organizations normally cannot afford it. A small firm may assign these roles to a few, select staff.
  • PR marketing and social team heads are informed about the various campaigns and projects in progress and those that have been prepared. Regular meetings, conference calls and email correspondence among department leaders have become the norm.
  • If there is a brand-damaging post, PR will be alerted immediately.

Summing Up

PR and marketing functions vary and are distinct. But thanks to social media, the difference between the two has become hazy. Due to this, the two departments sometimes have to co-operate and communicate with each other. This has become necessary for both to succeed.