Written by: Nailah Smith

Public relations and marketing are two fields that deal with managing a person, product, or brand.


A lot of people find it hard to distinguish public relations from marketing. Since people don’t know the differences, they usually hire a publicist or a marketer unnecessarily.

The most important thing to remember is that public relations deals with reputation, while marketing deals with sales.

Here’s how the Public Relations Society of America and the American Marketing Association define the two terms.


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

AMA: “Marketing is 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.”


So we know the traditional definitions, but let’s break this down even more. When we talk about building relationships through PR it’s something that is earned. The main objective is to create a positive reputation through strategies.  It’s extremely important to build relationships with all stakeholders. Public relation specialists/ publicists would also need to make sure your client maintains a positive image in order to get beneficial press coverage. Relationships and images are the key ingredients in public relations.

Now step out of the publicist shoes, and step into the life of a marketer. Your main objective is to receive direct revenue, and your target audience is your current and potential client. Marketers are more concerned with the buying and selling of products and services.

Marketer’s key areas of focus are  the four P’s:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place

The duties of marketers and publicsts vary as well.

A publicist focuses on:

  1. Writing press releases
  2. Scanning the media for any mentions
  3. Putting together interviews for your client
  4. Planning events
  5. Overseeing the client’s image


A marketers job duties focus on:

  1. Overseeing and developing marketing campaigns
  2. Managing campaigns on social media
  3. Presenting ideas and strategies
  4. Tracking sales data
  5. Researching competitive companies

So  the next question is when is the appropriate time to get a publicist or a marketer?


If you want to hire a publicist you first need to make sure you have a new product to launch or re-launch. The responsibilities of a publicist is to effectively tell your story in a captivating way that would interest media outlets. Many people believe they should hire a publicist as soon as their product launches, however the best time to hire a publicist would be when your product is already generating a buzz. Publicists will help you manage current press, seek out new press opportunities and manage the public’s opinion of your business.

On the other hand, a successful marketer will be dedicated to increasing business growth. If you already have a business, but you’re not getting the amount of sales you need then it’s time to look at a marketer. A marketer will create an effective marketing strategy that will be used to successfully market your business.

Even though there is a difference between PR and marketing, both are needed to ensure your business succeeds. Marketing and public relations can’t operate without one or the other. The most successful companies combine the two fields to provide the best results.

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