Part 2: The Differences Between Marketing, PR & Advertising: A Peak Into PR

Posted: May 10, 2011

Diane Kuehn Founder & Chairman


This blog is part two of an award-winning three part-series written for Handshake 2.0, an enterprise of Handshake Media, Incorporated, to help business executives understand the differences between marketing, public relations & advertising. Following a post on marketing, this will address public relations (PR).

Members of the International Association of Business Communicators discussed the question. Here is a summary of their responses.

PR belongs to the media outlet/audience. PR develops communications that become “owned” by the people and media to whom communication is distributed (it’s their story). PR communicates with the public at large to raise brand awareness. By definition, PR  is the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution. PR builds relationships with targeted communities.

PR can stand-alone as an independent function, as well as support a variety of purposes. For example, PR can complement marketing objectives. PR can influence business goals. PR can strengthen political aspirations.

PR creates and enhances marketing messages, determining the best strategies to deliver them to the intended target audiences. Similar to marketing, PR professionals create strategy; develop, build and maintain relationships with targeted constituencies; plan events and campaigns to communicate effectively with the public at large, including potential customers, to raise awareness, and to enhance a company’s overall brand presence.

PR examples include, pitching a story idea to a media outlet to earn editorial coverage about a company, its products or services; holding a press conference, providing public speaking engagements, sponsoring a special event; changing the perception of a specific audience about a specific topic. Like marketing, PR encompasses both traditional and social media, as well as on and offline communication channels.

Again, a combination and well thought out strategic communications mix, or Integrated Marketing Communications plan, will deliver the most successful results. VisionPoint Marketing develops comprehensive strategic marketing plans. These often include elements of PR, as well as advertising, in order to provide the client the highest impact on their return of investment if these strategies are aligned wiht their goals and objectives. However, VisionPoint Marketing focuses on marketing, and often leads the strategic efforts of advertising and PR, but relies on experts specific to those industries to implement the supporting tactics in these areas.