The public relations vs. marketing debate

The age old question of public relations vs. marketing may become irrelevant as our industry evolves. Traditionally, public relations is managing how the public sees and feels about a brand or company. Simply put, PR focuses on maintaining a positive reputation through press releases, media interviews and other pitches.

On the other hand, marketing is the promotion of products or service, backed by market research and industry trends. Basically, it focuses on the promotion and selling of a specific product or service, along with a specific target audience.

PR and marketing strategies

Although PR and marketing strategies vary, when the two tactics run side-by-side, it leads to an effective and successful campaign. By integrating things like media relations, digital ads or newsletters into your marketing strategy, you are able to generate more consumer engagement and increase ad performance.

Although PR and marketing strategies are distinct, they are still related. The two work hand-in-hand to help you reach your business goals and marketing objectives. Here are three key differences between the two:

  1. Purpose and focus. Typically, PR focuses on building and managing an organization’s reputation and relationships. Marketing strategy is based in research, with an end goal to promote and sell products or services.
  2. Audience and communication. PR often targets a broad audience, such as the general public, media and stakeholders. From handling crises to event promotion, PR communication helps a company maintain a positive image. However, marketing strategies typically have a niche target audience or customer segment with a goal of lead generation or sales.
  3. Measurement. PR success is often measured through metrics like media mentions and sentiment analysis. KPIs include media coverage, public perception and increase in brand awareness. On the flip side, marketing is typically measured with numbers and data points. The success of a marketing campaign is usually measured by profitability or other sign ups.

While these differences exist, PR and marketing are not mutually exclusive as they often overlap. As a full-service marketing agency, we have team members dedicated to staying on top of all these trends. We do the heavy lifting and research so you don’t have to.

Public relations AND marketing – Not PR vs. marketing

Some try to separate out public relations and marketing. The reality is, in today’s world, they are similar and easily integrated. Planning for both public relations and marketing tactics is important for an integrated strategy. Think about it this way:

  • You get a story in the Tulsa World, or another area publication (public relations or media relations)
  • That story runs on a news website with a link to your website (inbound marketing)
  • You share the story on your Facebook page (social media marketing)
  • People start checking out your website and end up getting a strong sense of who you are and what you provide. this leads them to fill out a contact form for more information (branding and lead generation)
  • You run a retargeting campaign and promote your website to visitors through digital ads (marketing and advertising)

Implementing an integrated marketing campaign ensures a consistent brand message across various channels, maximizing impact and resonating with your target audience. By utilizing both public relations and marketing, businesses reinforce their presence and increase engagement, ultimately leading to more sales, brand awareness and memorable customer experience.

An investment in marketing strategy

Many of our clients are the main decision makers. They want to know the campaign status, if it’s working, and that we’re ready to pivot our strategy if needed. Typically, we see the most success when we know the full picture. The result is we’re able to take the project management off our client’s hands.

As a full-service marketing agency, we handle everything from picking the right creative designs to ensuring the end product speaks to the overall messaging of the organization. Especially during what could be an economic downturn, we make sure our clients don’t waste dollars on something that won’t yield results.

From tailored trainings to workforce campaigns backed by our own proprietary research, we’re here to help you figure out the right PR and marketing mix to take things to the next level.