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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Reed

PR vs Marketing: What’s the difference and why you need both!

When we think of PR we often think of celebrities, politicians, major companies who have a moment of crisis and BAM!, in swoops PR to clean up the mess. While crisis management may fall in the lap of a PR specialist it’s just one small part of the job that takes years to develop. On the other hand, marketers are viewed as artistic creative people who come up with cute campaigns, and often overlooked are the intense data digs and analysis that goes into executing that campaign. All businesses need both, but you may be struggling to clearly the define the roles of each.

So, let’s look at some common situations that businesses find themselves and compare the role of each.

Situation #1: Identifying a Target Audience

You’ve done some market research and think you know who wants to buy your products or services so you can check this one off the list of to-dos right? Not quite….

A great marketing agency or marketing strategy should support your sales team. While a PR strategy would focus on your larger brand image from stakeholders, community, potential investors. Think about it this way marketing tends to have 12 month or less campaign specific deadlines with one underlying goal: increase sales. Whereas PR focuses on the 3,5,10+ year timeline thinking more about your brand image, than one specific product at any given time.

Situation #2: Measuring Success

Measuring the success of a marketing campaign is traditionally clear cut. Did you meet the sales goal/grow the membership/sell out an event the way you intended to? PR success can live comfortably in the gray area. Are people talking about your company more? Have you noticed more newbies reaching out? Has the press reached out, or have you been nominated for an award?

The truth when it comes to measuring success is that you can’t properly market without a little PR, and you can’t do a little PR without marketing. Selling a product and making people love a company go hand in hand. If people don’t love your product, then they probably won’t look favorably on your brand but if your brand isn’t connecting with people then you won’t get the opportunity to sell them a product at all.

Situation #3: Superpowers!

PR and marketing each come with their own unique superpowers. A great marketing strategy has the power to create the shortest route to increased sales, giving your bottom line a boost the fastest way possible. A great PR strategy has the power to change minds, win influence, and create loyalty meaning your brand will be around for the long haul.

As you go through your strategic plans and processes you'll want to be sure to allow both these departments plenty of time to collaborate so that your business can really see the full power they can bring when they work in tandem with each other.

We may be based in Seattle, WA and Greenville, SC but we work with clients in every state. Please reach out to us if you need help with your Marketing and/or PR strategy!

You can reach our team at

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