Public Relations vs Marketing – what’s the difference?


Which is better, Public Relations (PR) or Marketing? For a business owner unfamiliar with the Communications industry, it can be easy to confuse the functions of PR and Marketing.

Whilst Marketing and PR both play a vital role in increasing brand awareness and company recognition, the PR team at Adoni Media has put together a guide to help navigate the key differences between the two tools.


Marketing aims to reach current and potential customers and clients or “target markets”.PR focuses on maintaining a positive relationship with a wider audience who has an interest inthe organisation, including media and employees, not just customers.


Marketing activities typically involvepurchasing paid advertisements, often in collaboration with an advertising agency,to promote products or services to achievea sales related goal.

This differs to PR, which manages media relations to achieve free exposure in order to promote a company and their brand, increase their credibility and manage their reputation.


A significant difference between Marketing and PR is the tactics used to achieve the above goals. Marketing tactics includethe purchase of broadcast media spots, billboards, out of home advertisements, tradeshow participation and direct mail to name a few.There are large costs involved with the production and media buy for such advertisements.

Alternatively, PR activities generate earned media coverage by journalists and other third-party sources, which is free. Examples include media relations, community relations, corporate communications, crisis communications, content writing and event management.


For a Marketing campaign to be successful, ads aim to garner enough reach and frequency so that the brand is recognised by potential consumers.

For PR activity to be successful, the story or brand will be picked up by external media and published, for example, news coverage on television or radio.

Marketing and PR complement eachother extremely well. After all, any results from a marketing campaign could improve exponentiallywith the backing of a solid PR strategy, and any PR campaign would thrive supported by Marketing activities.Both have the goal of increasing brand awareness to drive customer enquiries to a company.