I have a confession to make.

I’m not a marketer by trade.

I’m a Public Relations guy. And knowing the difference turns out to be pretty important.

We have a saying here at Chiedo Marketing that Marketing and PR are two sides of the same coin. They are related to the same goal and both impact and are rooted in the the brand of your business, but their practice and outcomes are undeniably different.

So what is the difference between public relations and marketing? Let’s start by looking at some definitions.

The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

“The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. “

Did you catch that? I know they sound similar, but the point of public relations is to build a relationship between organizations and the people they communicate, do business, and interact with. Marketing is done to specifically lead to business transactions.

Another way to put it would be that marketing is about your businesses’ sales and performance where public relations is about the way your company is perceived. They’re intertwined and are both ultimately the result of your company’s core values.

So why does knowing the difference between PR and marketing matter? Why not just lump them both together and move on with your business? They’re basically the same thing, right? Isn’t the difference just pedantic? Well, not quite.

A major difference between PR and marketing is that public relations is a news-based communication discipline. In plain English, public relations is related to journalism. As a result, there is a great emphasis on writing, communication, and getting information out to the public. These qualities are very different from marketing, which is a business-based profession that focuses more on finding ways to generate direct income for the business.

Knowing the difference between PR and marketing will save you a headache in the future. These skills are related, but not interchangeable. A solid business plan needs to take both PR and marketing into consideration. Sometimes the business needs to take its perception in the community into account and focus more on that. Other times, there is already a great relationship in place, and the business can focus solely on making sure a new product or service offering launches well. Finally, there are times when a PR/marketing campaign that contains elements of both is appropriate.

Without knowing the differences between marketing and PR, a business can easily make a wrong call that doesn’t seem like too big of a deal at the time, but over the course of a few years, can have far-reaching consequences.

So now that you know the difference between marketing and public relations, it’s time to put this knowledge to use! Take some time to think about your own business and what your customers and potential customers think of you. You could start with something as simple as looking at your social media and checking out the engagement on your posts, or get as involved as creating and sending a PR-focused Survey Monkey poll out to your email list to better understand your business’ perception. After getting an idea of where you stand, or even if you decide you need help figuring it out, feel free to contact us!

Despite our name, Chiedo Marketing has the staff and know-how to handle public relations questions, issues, and campaigns, in addition to the marketing, social and traditional media, and SEO needs you and your small business might have. Interested? Give us a call!

Interested in learning more about public relations? Forbes has an excellent article about the profession that addresses 5 common PR-related questions.