PR? Marketing? Advertising?

If I had a pound for every time I have been asked “so what even is PR?” I’d probably have paid off my student loan by now. After giving them a quick definition, nine times out of ten, the question is followed by “oh so that’s just like marketing/advertising/journalism/*insert other different discipline here*”. 

Admittedly, yes, there are on occasions some overlaps between the disciplines, but it only seemed sensible to clear it up for those of you that still aren’t sure and think that the three are the same.

Let’s start with definitions. PR is:

“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.” – CIPR

Whereas marketing is:

“The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place, and promotional strategy.” – Business Directory

But then if you look at advertising, it is defined as:

“The act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service,need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.” – Dictionary.com

marketing-advertising-pr

So those are the definitions, but what do they really mean? Where are the differences?

PR is “earned understanding” which is very different to the “paid announcements” in advertising. PR practitioners work to write newsworthy press releases and generate coverage without paying the publication or media outlet to run the story. The story gets in on it’s worth. Whereas in advertising, you get exactly what you pay for.

Marketing is different again. It’s how the product or service is positioned in the market – the “management process”Marketing professionals look at pricing, what products to sell, where to sell them and how to encourage more buys from promotions (which could be coupons, competitions, free gifts etc.)

One of the other key differences is that advertising and marketing are one-way communication – they just tell you what they want you to know. PR is two-way, encouraging feedback and conversation. The table below, from the University of Michigan, outlines some other differences.

prchart_0

Do you know any other ways in which PR, marketing and advertising differ? And what are your thoughts when people say they are the same thing? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time…

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6 thoughts on “PR? Marketing? Advertising?

  1. ashleychapman410 says:

    Nice post! When my friends ask me what PR is I tell them “its like marketing, just better!”. I usually follow up with, “Everything you’ve ever heard about a business is PR – and PR people are needed to manage what is said.”

    Where do you stand on the whole PR / Marketing debate? Is PR a part of marketing or is marketing a part of PR?

    Like

    • ariannewills says:

      It’s one of the hardest parts about studying PR – explaining what it is! I like that quote, may start using it myself 🙂
      I still think that PR and marketing are two entirely different things, although I’m going to have to pick a side of the fence on that question eventually, as the two are becoming more and more merged.

      Like

      • ashleychapman410 says:

        Yes, I used to get it all the time while at Uni – hence why I came up with that explanation! I’d have to say that I think marketing, advertising and social media all fall under the PR umbrella because each of these communicating with your audience and you need to make sure your message doesn’t damage your reputation and ultimately meets your goals.

        Like

  2. ashleychapman410 says:

    Nice post! When my friends ask me what PR is I tell them “its like marketing, just better!”. I usually follow up with, “Everything you’ve ever heard about a business is PR – and PR people are needed to manage what is said.”

    Where do you stand on the whole PR / Marketing debate? Is PR apart of marketing or is marketing apart of PR?

    Like

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