Marketing Vs. Public Relations

23 Sep Marketing Vs. Public Relations: Which Should I Pick?

Marketing: communication with your customers in order to sell a product or service

Public Relations: professional maintenance of a favorable public image // communication that builds mutually beneficial relationships between a company and the public

Marketing Vs. Public Relations

Many people use the terms marketing and public relations interchangeably, but while complementary, the two are different. Clients often ask us which is best to focus on, and the truth is that both are important! Understanding the basic differences between marketing versus public relations can help drive your marketing strategies.

In a nutshell, marketing focuses on sales and involves the four Ps: placement, price, product and promotion. Public relations, on the other hand, focus on relationships and reputation. It encompasses media relations, reputation and crisis management, brand awareness and building trust.

Your marketing plan should include communication tactics that include advertising AND public relations. But, for the time being, here are the differences between marketing versus public relations.


There is an old say that advertising is what you pay for, while publicity is what you pray for. Generally speaking, marketing is paid advertising that promotes your business, while public relations is free media coverage. Note that free doesn’t mean easy – spend some money and hire an experienced firm. Contact us if you need one!


One of the biggest differences between marketing and public relations is the amount of control you have. With marketing, you have complete control over all of your promotional efforts – placement, branding, content and platform. You pay, you have control. Public relations, on the other hand, offer no control over what is published.

Also known as earned media, public relations involve pitching a story to the media and then letting it explode in ways you cannot plan.  You cannot buy public relations — you have to earn it. You also cannot control whether or not the media covers your story, how it is written, how or when it is placed, etc. This is where the praying comes in!

Relinquishing control, however, offers great value. In general, PR placements give you much more credibility than traditional advertising. In fact, a 2014 Nielsen study concluded that public relations is 90 percent more effective than advertising. Why? Someone else – a journalist, a blogger, maybe even a celebrity, is promoting your product or service for you.


Content for marketing differs from that of public relations, perhaps most notably in writing style. Marketing copy is geared at generating leads, making sales and influencing the audience. Public relations, however is written in journalistic style.

Pitching the media means writing like a journalist, which entails things like using AP style, using an inverted pyramid (the most important stuff goes at the top) and having a strong, clear and short lede (first sentence). If you don’t know how to do these things, your pitch will land in the trash. Plus, flashy and poorly written press releases really tick off journalists. And when you want free coverage, that’s not a good start. Reporter relationships are so important, we’ve written about this before.

At Kadie Solutions, we know how to get you noticed, how to work with reporters and how to handle all of your public relations needs. Ready to get started? Contact us today!