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Can You Spot the Differences? Advertising vs. Public Relations

Can You Spot the Differences? Advertising vs. Public Relations

Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, they seem pretty similar but, like these two photos below, they’re actually different and you need make sure you focus on each in itself to maximize your company’s success. It’s easy to get confused about the differences between these as they all are essentially there to promote an organization and its products. However, as a business owner, you need to understand what each area involves and how it fits into the bigger picture - your success. Here, we will break down marketing, advertising and public relations, and explain why they’re important.


Marketing is, by definition, “the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer”. This generally encompasses both of the promotional methods of public relations (PR) and advertising. Your marketing team is an important part of your business and is responsible for planning the promotion of your company from start to finish. This includes breaking down your target customers, setting budgets, analyzing and evaluating campaigns and even creating the content you use on your website as well.

There’s a debate as to whether PR and marketing go together or are separate entities and the answer will differ depending on whether you’re discussing it with a marketer or a publicist. It tends to be looked at as, PR is concerned with driving awareness and building a good reputation for your brand, while marketing is more focused on the sale and your bottom line. With the rise in social media it’s getting harder and harder to keep these entities separate, so it’s important that your marketing team is aware of how to differentiate between public relations and advertising and make sure you’re hitting them both correctly in your marketing.


Advertising is definitely a part of the bigger picture of marketing. This is more of the method of persuading your target to buy your products or services. says it’s “the activity or profession of producing information for promoting the sale of commercial products or services”. Advertising is where you want your creativity. These are the people who are going to develop the concepts, words and artwork for your advertisements. Usually, advertisements are distributed through television, radio, print publications, the internet, posters or billboards. It is crucial to make sure that your advertising is in line with the target audience you are trying to reach.

While advertising is essential to your business succeeding, it sometimes carries a negative connotation because it is paid content. You own both where the ad is placed and the content in it, meaning you have total control of the message and the image you’re portraying. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Companies have to advertise in order to get their products sold. Advertising tends to get the job done and is easier to track and measure than a lot of public relations ventures.

Public Relations

PR, on the other hand, is defined as “the profession or practice of creating and maintaining goodwill of an organization's various publics (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, etc.), usually through publicity and other non-paid forms of communication. These efforts may also include support of arts, charitable causes, education, sporting events, and other civic engagements”. Public relations is meant to maintain the good reputation of the company in the media. Your PR team wants to get your business noticed by the media, in a positive light, at little to no cost.

This means your PR efforts should convince reporters or editors to write a positive story about you, your client, your candidate, brand or issue. These stories will appear in the editorial section of magazines, newspapers, TV stations or website, rather than the “paid media” section where advertising messages appear. Here, stories have more credibility because they’re being sought out and independently verified by a trusted source, rather than stories you write that you’re paying them to publish. PR is there to nurture your relationships with other companies, clients, your community, and really, anyone who’s paying attention to the places that you are or wants to know who you are.courtscirclesarethebest

Our suggestion, to get the most out of your marketing, advertising and PR, is that it is best to start with a defined marketing plan. This will help your company to not only set out and visualize your objectives but will also allow you to better achieve and even surpass these goals. Utilize your marketing team’s research to identify your potential customers and how to reach those targets. From here, establish a budget and your plan to expand on your promotional elements, like your advertising and public relations. Figure out what you want to do and what you can afford to do to make sure you’re reaching both of these elements.Fotolia 78124208 S answers


Did you find all 10 differences in the image at the beginning of this article? For anyone still trying to spot the differences above, they’re over to the right. Maybe it was easy for you or maybe you only found 5, either way you had to take a moment and stop and think about it. The same goes for your company’s marketing, advertising and public relations - although they may be similar, there are slight differences that you want to pay attention to. If you’re not sure about where you’re going with all of this or want to bounce some ideas off someone, give us a call or hit us up on livechat. We’d be happy to help!

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Friday, September 18 2020

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