What's the Difference Between Marketing, Advertising, and PR?

21 May 2018

Published in: Miscellaneous

We've all been there. Working out a promotional strategy that works for you and your business is hard enough but getting your head around the various promotional practices out there can be a confusing prospect.

Those outside of the marketing/press sphere often find themselves pondering - "what exactly is marketing?", "How does PR relate to marketing?", "What's the difference between advertising and marketing?"


It helps if we start thinking of marketing as an umbrella term. It can be broken down into several specific practices which all complement each other in the endeavour to get your company's materials in front of the right audience at the right time by addressing the right needs.

Practices like public relations and advertising sit within the category of marketing. But there are tasks that count solidly as "marketing" - mainly relating to market research; identifying your value proposition; identifying and targeting audiences; and planning advertisements, PR activities, and social media engagement. Marketing also covers the analysis of campaigns during and after their deployment.

Once you've used the analytical side of marketing to establish the "who, what, when, where, how, and why" of what you offer, you can move on to advertising. Advertising is the act of releasing (usually paid) advertisements to the world, using means such as billboards, radio, TV, pay-per-click, postal mail, email marketing, online video and banner ads, etc.

Public Relations (PR) is often perceived as merely getting your business's name in the press, but there's far more to it than that. Sending out press releases to appropriate media contacts is important to many organisations, but it's not the only thing that goes into PR. Put simply, public relations refers to any way you build relationships with the public, and can range from company spokesperson activities, to responding effectively to a crisis, and even how you engage with your audience online!

We've run through these three concepts pretty quickly here but if you're after a more in-depth take, please check out my full length post The Difference Between Marketing, Advertising, and PR. If you have any questions I'd love to help you out! Also, if you're after an experienced copy and content writer to describe your business to the world, why not get in touch?

This blog post was written by Jenii Lowe of Obsidian Content Creation.

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