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Thought Leadership

PR vs Marketing: Is there a difference?

By Onyx Health | 26th August 2021

One of the first questions clients ask in the communications industry is, “what’s the difference between PR and marketing?” 

It’s a great question, but not always an easy one to answer. The well-known 7P’s of marketing regard PR as an aspect of “Promotion” and therefore a discrete function of marketing. The confusion arises in part because the terms “PR” and “Marketing” are often used interchangeably. The goals, objectives and tactics may be closely intertwined; while there are important differences.   

The classic distinction between PR and other marketing is that PR builds the reputation of the brand through media coverage and stakeholder engagement. In contrast, marketing drives sales messaging directly to the consumer and is measured in profits and revenue generation. However, the two activities should be considered interrelated aspects of communication rather than entirely distinct.   

Integrated PR and marketing  

PR and marketing have complimentary supporting functions; doing either in isolation will not work. The two must be combined and integrated to be effective. As a full-service communication agency, we offer a suite of integrated communication packages to help accelerate your business, find out how we can help your business thrive here. 

Despite these similarities, it is also important to remember PR and marketing have distinctive communication features.  

Longevity, reliability and credibility  

Comparing a typical day in the life of a PR and a marketer reveals some interesting features about these communication activities.  

Everyday communication tactics  

Communication professionals will often work very closely together on shared accounts and campaigns. However, the everyday life of a PR professional and marketer involves a distinct set of activities.    

PR professionals can often be found:  

Marketers tend to  

One of the crucial differences between PR and marketing is the metrics used to measure its success. 

What does success look like?  

 Measuring success for a marketer will involve considering the following: 

It is important to remember that not all marketing activity is measurable in terms of direct sales. Brand marketing may have sales as an indirect goal. The indirect generation of sales is another area of similarity with certain aspects PR activity.    

For a PR professional, success looks a little bit different: 

PR is more difficult to measure than marketing as it does not directly correlate with sales. Reputation cannot be quantified in dollars and pounds and long gone are the days of press cuttings and measured column inches.    

At Onyx Health, we’re experts in delivering integrated communication campaigns that help our clients stand out from the crowd, delivering measurable results that drive sales. Get in touch and get ahead of the competition. 

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