It doesn’t take a communications major to tell the difference between public relations and marketing, mostly because the communications majors aren’t any better at differentiating the two fields than anyone else.
There is a lot of confusion about the industry delineations, and advertising throws yet another curve into the mix. The social media revolution has also impacted the industry and made it harder to tell the difference between marketing and information technology.
The key way to differentiate public relations is its focus on the relationships.
Relationships between people are at the core of the public relations field. They can be relationships internal to the organization, or external relationships that drive the business’s growth.
There are no boundaries on the upper or lower size limits of public relations – there are valid PR investments that only involve three people. Marketing, in contrast, focuses on products and services, which are tied to, but different from, relationships.
The function of the PR movement is to support the organization’s goals and aims. This is not directed at one product line, as a marketing campaign would be, but rather at the overall wellbeing and reputation of the company or organization in the community.
Consequentially, a lot of public relations work is focused on what the organization as a whole is up to, with occasional emphasis on the performance and achievements of particular key players.
Marketing efforts target someone who will buy a product or service. Public relations efforts target a variety of stakeholders. These consumers of PR can include customers, the mainstream or alternative media outlets, employees inside the organization and others who work with and have an interest in the company.
Still confused? Here’s Cory K. breaking it down in a 2 minute video.