by Team Avista


by Team Avista


marketing & public relations

Marketing and public relations have an intertwined relationship. Often, these departments get mingled. While there are areas where the two do similar things, they are not the same. Businesses need to know the basic definition of public relations and marketing, the differences between the two and where they overlap.

Public Relations and Marketing Definitions

Public Relations

Public relations is the building and maintenance of a company brand and its key stakeholder relationships, which could include customers, employees, or shareholders. The main goal for PR professionals is to help the organization they represent take control of its story by shaping and framing the public perception. 


Marketing is the promotion and sales of a product or service. The focus of these professionals is to use data from advertising, social, website traffic and sales to determine the best way to get a company’s product in front of their target customer and then get them to purchase it.  

Major Differences Between Public Relations and Marketing 

While some tools overlap, the daily activities, audience, goals and success metrics differ between these departments. 

Daily activities

Marketing professionals do a wide range of daily activities that support the sale of the product. While PR professionals perform assignments to help build relationships. 

Public Relations Activities: 

  • Managing the organization’s messaging
  • Pitching press releases, contributed articles and expert commentary 
  • Securing and prepping personnel for public speaking engagements 
  • Building and maintaining a positive reputation in the media
  • Managing media relations

Marketing Activities: 

  • Advertising campaigns
  • Traditional and digital ad placement 
  • Industry research 
  • Creating marketing materials 
  • Managing social media 

Another difference between marketing and public relations is the audience they are trying to reach. Marketers focus on potential customers and the revenue they bring to the company. PR professionals care about everyone involved in the success of the organization where media, in particular, is the communication conduit.  


The goals of marketing and public relations are where there is the most difference. Marketers’ goals revolve around making the most money possible. Public relations goals, however, depend on the public perception of the company and where the organization needs to improve its relationships and credibility across all communities it serves. 

Metrics For Success  

The metrics for success for each are also very different. Marketing professionals care about the ROI of their marketing efforts, hitting sales goals, and increasing traffic to the organization and its product or service. PR professionals, however, care about the quantity, quality, and sentiment of the press coverage, awards, and social media “buzz” the organization has received. 

The Overlap: Marketing in Public Relations 

While different, marketing and public relations departments function best when they collaborate. When you align PR and marketing strategies, they can help each other reach their goals.  

Some areas where these departments overlap include social media management, SEO and content creation. Collaboration between these departments makes the organization’s efforts exponentially more effective.  

Differentiating marketing from PR is a challenge, but with the help of Avista, you can do it seamlessly. We are here to help support your communications and marketing teams and make headway in your efforts to take control of your organization’s story.

If you need support with your media & public relations efforts, branding & messaging, content creation, demand generation or social media, Avista can help.  Get in Touch


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